Host Family Programs provide a valuable insight into other cultures, whilst providing a home-from-home to visitors from outside of the area and most often, far away parts of the world.
It's not something that immediately comes to mind when thinking of the upcoming Sonoma International Film Festival, but host families do, in fact, play a vital and integral role in the Festival, as upwards of 200 out-of-town filmmakers, jurors, film critics and other guests are generously absorbed into an extensive network of home-based hospitality.
The Festival's budget for hotel rooms is minimal, with most out-of-town guests staying in guest suites, guest cottages and vacation rental properties within Sonoma and the surrounding area, including Kenwood and Glen Ellen.
This year's Film Festival runs from April 11th to 15th, 2012. The majority of filmmakers, jurors and critics don't attend the entire Festival, staying between two and four nights, with flying visits of one night and full-festival visits of five nights not uncommon, either.
Guests are matched with hosts through both parties' completed questionnaires with best matches based on needs and expectations, along with basic requirements such as number of beds, animal allergies, transportation.
Now's the time to speak up if you're in the Sonoma area (or nearby) and are interested in hosting. The Festival's Housing Coordinator creates initial matches and sends intros by email, along with Google Map directions.
There's no obligation to wine and dine your house guests, as hosts, but I can't think of a more interesting, temporarily captive audience should you feel the urge to break some bread over movie banter, with some local cheese and olives! Young filmmakers, most likely are particularly appreciative of any wine country hospitality, given the costs of producing independent movies and the probability of them being pretty broke by this point.
You might not necessarily find a match for your hospitality, this year, but keep this great program in mind for future Festival years if you have the space and inclination to play host.
For more information, contact the Sonoma Film Festival Housing Coordinator
Steve Martindale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Passes to the Festival are now on sale.