Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Mendocino Film Festival Celebrates 16th Year with Film, Music, and More

The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino Film Festival:

The front cover of Mendocino Film Festival’s Program Book

The 16th Annual Mendocino Film Festival has just announced the 2023 schedule of films and events for June 1-4. A diverse lineup of 60 films, live music, special panels, workshops, and visiting filmmakers will again make Mendocino the epicenter of film on the North Coast.

The film line-up includes feature films and more short films than ever before. Many visiting filmmakers will be present for post-screening Q&A’s and panel discussions.

This year’s program features a number of compelling music documentaries including Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind director Ethan Coen’s first documentary, Little Richard: I Am Everything, and Santos: Skin on Skin about Afro-Cuban drummer John Santos. Other music documentaries include Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hypnosis that tells the story of the icon album design firm that gave us unforgettable album packaging for bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and others. And, as a special treat, Finding Her Beat, a documentary about a remarkable all-female Taiko drum group and Santos: Skin on Skin will be followed by live performances — John Santos in person with his quartet and Taiko drumming by Sonoma County Taiko. 

The Festival opens with a presentation of the “Rogue Wave” award to director Nicole Holofcener, whose films Enough Said and the new comedy You Hurt My Feelings will be screened during the Festival. She will accept the award in person at the Thursday night Tribute to Members on June 1. 

“The Festival continues to evolve in wonderful ways,” Executive Director Angela Matano said. “We’re delighted to bring back our beloved Feel Good Short Films, our Reel Mendo showcase of talented local filmmakers, and our Native Cinema program, to name a few.” 

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In addition to a diverse and engaging slate of films, the Mendocino Film Festival will again host great parties. Members enjoy a special preview screening on Thursday, June 1, of this year’s “Feel Good Shorts” program with heartwarming and humorous stories from around the world.

The Festival’s Gala Jazz Night, on Friday, June 2, will highlight 10 local chefs and 15 local beer, wine, and craft cocktail partners. Following the party, keep the beat at the screening of Santos: Skin to Skin and the live performance by the John Santos Quartet.

Elements of this year’s film program include: 

Films from around the globe with 15 different countries represented this year including Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and more.

Fascinating documentaries on the natural world include Wild Life, the story of environmentalists Kris and Doug Thompkins—the founders of Patagonia and other outdoor brands—and their quest to create huge national parks in South America, Path of the Panther about one photographer’s search for the elusive Florida panther, Patrick and the Whale, about one man’s pursuit to better understand whales, and Franklin about a remarkable solo rafting trip retracing a father’s journey.

Guest curator Pat Ferrero brings us The Art of Un-War about artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, I Like it Here, an examination on aging,  Body Parts, about the objectification of women in cinema, and Finding Her Beat.

And for sports fans we have an early, sneak-peek at the new documentary Stephen Curry: Underrated. The film was a huge hit at Sundance this past January.

In addition to our Feel Good Shorts and our Reel Mendo Shorts, the Festival has added two other short film programs — A Trip to Italy, with three charming Italian stories, and Fascinating Women, portraits of three remarkable women.

Other films of note include the narrative dramas The Lost King, God’s Creatures, Living, Hold Me Tight, Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game, and The Forger. Some of the many documentaries include Salvatore; Shoemaker of Dreams, Three Minutes: A LengtheningA Bunch of Amateurs, and Weed and Wine. And don’t miss the free children’s screening of Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown in partnership with the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

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For more information, including this year’s complete program and how to buy tickets, visit mendofilm.org.


The Mendocino Film Festival has established a reputation for presenting riveting, thought-provoking and award-winning independent and international films. The festival draws increasing numbers of filmmakers and avid attendees from around the world, while maintaining its commitment to the local community. Featuring a varied line-up of films, panels, and special events, the festival offers a unique opportunity to meet filmmakers and film aficionados in the intimate and strikingly beautiful setting of seaside Mendocino.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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