Petaluma Film Festival Returns

Liz Valls

MAY. 3, 2021

The Petaluma Film Festival is back. The eleven-year streak was broken last year due to the global pandemic.

The Petaluma Film Festival is back. The eleven-year streak was broken last year due to the global pandemic. This year the festival was fully virtual, as in the past it has been held at the Mystic Theatre. Due to the pandemic, all Q&As were also via zoom. The festival began on April twenty third and ended on May second. There were a variety of packages of short films you could pick and choose from which are very different regarding the previous years. Along with the many short films in each package there were a couple feature films to look out for.

The first program is called “Borderlines.” This package will include many films centered around Spanish speaking countries. These films range from five to twenty-one minutes. These short films challenge and show the social and geographic boundaries faced. Next is the “Horror Delights” package. As you can assume these will be mainly horror films. There are eight included and they range from seven to eighteen minutes long. This year these films will be more ironic as they have been described as “more laughs than screams.” Third is the “Global Visions” program. This will include six films ranging from four to twenty seven minutes. These showcase heartwarming films from all over the world. Directors of these films are from Israel, Japan, and France. Lastly is the “Close Encounters” program. Here we will see human connections that lead to the shaping of the lives of the main characters. There are eight shorts running from eight to sixteen minutes.

I watched two of the packages, these were the Horror Delights and Global Visions. The films included in the Horror Delights package were definitely more ironic than scary. A lot of them were very gruesome, but added a humorous effect. My favorite film from this package was definitely 100% Pure Pork. This film was from France and was about a factory worker who was facing a stressful time at work but found a quick solution to put that all behind her. The Global Visions package was very diverse which is why I enjoyed it so much. So many countries and languages were represented in these short films. My favorite from this one was defineitley Homesick, which showcased a man holding onto his son after a disaster. This film also won the audience award for best short, and the director, Koya Kamura received $1,000. I also enjoyed watching both Q&As as it made the films make more sense and I got to hear some of the backstories of the directors.

This year's lineup was very diverse as thirteen countries were represented and ten of the twenty-nine films shown were directed by women. In 2019 there was a call for films for the 2020 film festival. Hundreds of films were submitted and some were finally shown at this year's festival.