A still from the film “Wildlike,” starring Ella Purnell and Bruce Greenwood. Film director Frank Hall Green will attend the opening night of the Alexander Valley Film Festival.

Festival runs Oct. 22-25

The inaugural Alexander Valley Film Festival, organized by the Alexander Valley Film Society (AVFS), is set to take place in Cloverdale, Healdsburg and Geyserville from Thursday, Oct. 22 to Sunday, Oct. 25. “Wildlike” will open the festival, and Writer/Director/Producer Frank Hall Green will attend the event.

“It’s a celebration of the world of film because we have so many great international offerings. All of the films stand together with the theme of daring and courage. We wanted the program of the film festival to reflect what the year has been like for us as an organization, which has really been about risk, change and taking chances,” said Kathryn Hecht, executive director of the Alexander Valley Film Society.

The opening night film, “Wildlike,” is about a young girl who is sent to live with her uncle in Alaska. When the relationship turns threatening, she runs away and ends up finding a lot more than she was looking for, including a chance connection with a gruff backpacker.

Green said that he’s honored for his film to be shown, and he’s excited to visit Cloverdale. Green will be traveling from New York and this will be his first time in Sonoma County.

“It’s a great part of the country, so that was an easy decision. I’ve stayed in Napa Valley before and I’ve always wanted to go a little farther north. Film festivals, in my opinion, need to be in locations where people want to come to,” he said.

Green said that film festivals are increasingly becoming one of the only ways to support independent films and see a wide array of smaller movies, which are often passion projects that cover more challenging subject matters and convey poignant messages, as well as display creativity not normally seen in the box office.

Hecht said “Wildlike” is a crowd-pleaser and beautifully done. “And what makes it special is that someone from the film is joining us,” Hecht said. “One of the reasons to go to film festivals is to have a little more access to filmmakers, and to us that was really important.” People involved with various films shown will be in attendance at certain screenings.

Films will be screened at the Clover Theater in Cloverdale, the Raven Film Center in Healdsburg and other venues throughout the north county.

The festival will highlight films such as “Krisha,” winner of the Audience Award at SXSW, “Güeros,” a feature from Mexico City and “On Her Own,” a documentary about a family farm in west Sonoma County. The film festival will offer audiences the chance to watch narrative films and documentaries covering issues of global and local significance. There will also be celebrations at local wineries including Trentadue and Coppola. There will be 24 different events in the festival, with some films shown twice.

AVFS has had a busy first year since its launch last September. In September, the nonprofit hosted a drive-in presentation of “Jaws” to kick off the festival. Through educational programs, local high school students have participated in a Pixar-led animation workshop, served as interns on a feature film shot in Geyserville and had access to film screenings and film festivals across the Bay Area.

The organization has held community film screenings in Cloverdale and Healdsburg, exposing audiences to a selection of classic films, independent cinema, documentaries and Spanish language films.

Sponsors have underwritten student attendance at the festival, and there will be 10 $2 student tickets at every screening. Students just need to show up and show their student ID.

Hecht said that AVFS has been organizing the festival since April, and the hope is to make it an annual event.

Proceeds from the film festival support AVFS’ educational and cultural enrichment programs.

The film schedule and tickets are available online at Film society members get discounts. Film-screening tickets are $12 and the special events (neighbors screening, opening night celebration and the closing night film and awards ceremony) have individual pricing. Organizers suggest purchasing tickets ahead of time to guarantee availability. If available, tickets may be purchased at venue box offices, an hour prior to the first film of the day. There are also pop up box offices at PLANK Coffee in Cloverdale (227 N. Cloverdale Blvd.) and Flying Goat Coffee in Healdsburg (324 Center Street). Check the film society website for dates and times.

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