Documentaries on King and Mandela highlight SFI slate
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Indie film giant John Sayles’ latest effort, “Go For Sisters,” highlights the spring season for the Sonoma Film Institute (SFI).

The annual series at Sonoma State University kicks off at 7 p.m. on Jan. 17 with “King: A Filmed Record…From Montgomery to Memphis,” which also will be reshown Jan. 19 at 4 p.m.  This documentary, which his a new restoration, was made in 1970 by Sidney Lumet and Joseph Mankiewicz. It chronicles the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Go For Sisters” (Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 26 at 4 p.m.) stars Yolanda Ross and Lisa Gay Hamilton as childhood friends who are now on opposite sides of the law. Sayles, who directed, is also knows for movies such as “The Return of the Secaucus Seven,” “Matewan,” and “Lone Star.”

SFI also will show current international features such as: “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” a romantic comedy from Taiwan (Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 4 p.m.); “Child’s Pose,” the top prize winner at this year’s Berlin Film Festival (April 4 at 7 p.m. and April 6 at 4 p.m.); and “Just A Sigh,” a French romantic movie starring Gabriel Byrne and Emmanuelle Devos (April 11 at 7 p.m. and April 13 at 4 p.m.).

Another highlight of the season is Kerry Candaele’s “Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony” (March 7 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 4 p.m.). It was filmed on five continents and in 12 countries and is the story of people whose lives have been transformed, repaired and healed by the message of Beethoven’s Ninth.

Other documentaries include Bolinas filmmaker Jo Menell’s documentary on the late South African former president “Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation” (April 18 at 7 p.m.) and “Big Joy” (March 28 at 7 p.m. and March 30 at 4 p.m.), Stephen Silha’s documentary on the poet-filmmaker James Broughton.

Two classic films – “Anatomy of a Murder” (Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.) and “The Chess Player” (Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.) – will be screened and introduced by SSU Hutchins School Professor Dr. Ajay Gehlawat. The courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Murder” stars James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick and George C. Scott. “The Chess Players” is Satyajit Ray’s dissection of colonialism.

All screenings will be in Warren Auditorium, Ives Hall on the SSU campus in Rohnert Park. Admission is $7 general, $6 for non-SSU students and senior citizens, $5 for SFI members and children under 12 and free for SSU students. There is a $5 parking fee in all SSU lots.

For more information and a complete schedule of SFI events, call (707) 664-2606 or go to

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