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Sonoma International Film Festival


 

The Sonoma International Film Festival is considerd one of the nation's top ten destination film festivals.  All seven screning venues are withinh walking distance of the historic Sonoma Plaza.  This is one of the most filmmaker-friendly festivals where accommdations are provided thoughout your festival expderience and industry networking leads to distribution.  Enjoy a remarkable five day, stimulating festival in the midst of Sonoma wine country.  We do celebrate the very best in film, food & wine!

Set amidst the unparalleled beauty of the Sonoma Valley wine country, the Annual Sonoma International Film Festival welcomes filmakers and film lovers in April every year to a sun-drenched, luxurious extended weekend, pairing great food, fine wine and more than 100 new independent films from around the world. Film presentations at a variety of venues including the historic Sebastiani Theater on the Sonoma Town Plaza will include: world cinema, feature length narratives, documentaries, shorts and a student film program.


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Interview with Montreal Producer Julie Bradet about Latest Feature "The Cheaters" (2022)

Interview with Montreal Producer Julie Bradet about Latest Feature "The Cheaters" (2022) Interview with Montreal Producer Julie Bradet about Latest Feature "The Cheaters" (2022)

Montreal native Julie Bradet is an anthropologist (PhD), film producer and co-founder of the cinema production company Les Films Primatice (www.primaticefilms.com) with co-founder and CEO Louis Godbout. After the production of her 2nd feature film, "The Cheaters" (2022), she and Louis have been winning awards and making international film festival rounds. They attended the 25th annual Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF) in late March where their film received rave reviews from audiences. 

 

In a recent interview with Julie about her film, here is what she had to say:

 

You collaborated on the film with your partner, Louis Godbout. How did you two meet and start working together?

JULIE: We’ve been a couple for a long time, but our professional collaboration is new, as is this whole cinema adventure. After his first film as a screenwriter, Louis went on to direct his own scripts and we decided to begin our own film production company, “Les Films Primatice”. Since then, we have produced two movies, “Mount Foster” (2019) and “The Cheaters” (2022).

 

Can you tell us about your film “The Cheaters” without giving too much of the plot away?

JULIE: Well, it’s a comedy. It revolves around the funny situation of being trapped. Specifically, getting trapped in a sand pit and trying to escape it with the help of some specialized golf club, trapped in a patch of tall grass with your lost ball amidst a slew of lost balls, trapped by the rules or by the temptation to cheat…or trapped on a golf course. Without going so far as to say that “everything is a metaphor”, to quote one of the characters, Florence, what’s at stake on a golf course - the constructed artificiality of its setting that appears so natural, the arbitrary rules, the chances of losing it along the aisle, stuck with the people you started with or that have just popped out of left field – compares to life in society where we are generally also trapped!

 

Can you tell us about the inspiration for the film’s story and characters?

JULIE: Louis has a love-hate relationship with golf. When asked why he decided to make that film, he often mentions that it was a way for him to get back at golf. Golfers understand that feeling. I could see the satisfaction they get from laughing at themselves projected on a big screen while swinging their golf clubs into thin air like some windmill. The Cheaters will be especially appealing to golf lovers who, for the most part, seem to have a sense of humor… at least when the game is over! Anyway, the joke is not only on them, but on all of us. The film mocks human motivation in general.

JULIE CONT’D: The characters play another game while they swing in the void and walk the distance in the empty space between the nil of 18 holes. In that game (the story they are trapped in), they are forced to expose their beliefs about life and death, right and wrong, love and sex, dignity and indignity of old age, robots, and animals. The dialogues and monologues, the montage, the use of animal sounds and footage staring at the characters on the sidelines of the greens and the fact that all those topics are invoked and discussed in the middle of a golf course aimed for the same goal: to make a mockery of the seriousness of the games we set ourselves to play. The central joke is that we try to convince ourselves to believe in what we think we believe in but always end up cheating on our belief systems or ourselves by forcing those belief systems into the fabric of our lives. In this sense, “The Cheaters” is a movie for everybody who has a sense of humor or needs to develop one.

 

You recently attended SIFF. Can you tell us about that experience? 

JULIE: Sonoma in March felt like Arcadia! I could hear Cold Porter’s old melody, “It’s spring again echo’s the hills," after the first presentation of “The Cheaters” while we were leaving the Sebastiani Theater and his first public appearance. The Sonoma festival goers waited patiently for our movie to begin for this delayed presentation. One of them took advantage of the time spent waiting in line to tell me the tale of SIFF’s origins. They stayed even later in the evening (for Sonoma standards) for a well-prepared Herb Stratford Q&A!

JULIE CONT’D: Chris Orchard, whom I had just met at a winery mingling and tasting event, was also waiting outside after the projection, asking, “How did it go?” As we smoked cigarettes outside and reflected on the journey as very new friends sometimes do, we thanked Steven Shor, whom Chris had brought back with him after the party, so we could finally meet. He had agreed at the last minute to reschedule “The Cheaters” for a late presentation on Friday at the Sebastiani Theater. So, thanks to him, our movie had the chance to be heard and seen by the nearly century-old spirit of Cinema that resides there. It was so reassuring to know that after two long years of staring at our TV that no screening platform could ever kill it, because a festival like SIFF exists!

 

What will you be working on next?

JULIE: I am involved in the organization of a small film festival in Quebec. The Sonoma Film Festival inspired me to help grow the Knowlton Film Festival (https://festivalcinemaknowlton.ca/en/), which uses the venues of a relatively small town and puts screens wherever possible. As for Louis, he is working on something. How could you ever stop wanting to make films, or to see them and share them in the company of others you’re thankfully trapped with for a long feature, a film festival, or a lifetime! After all, not everything is about the absurdity of playing a golf round!  


 

 

 

Interview by Vanessa McMahon

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