Sonoma County-filmed ‘Pretty Problems’ follows couple’s wild weekend in Wine Country

“Pretty Problems” is out now.|

For Britt Rentschler, one of the stars of “Pretty Problems,” the locally filmed movie out earlier this month, it “felt like a miracle to be working in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S.”

The IFC comedy, set in Sonoma but filmed in 2021 in Healdsburg, explores class, status and how wealth can cause us to lose touch with reality. It’s the story of Lindsay and Jack, a middle-class couple who are invited on a crazed and excessive Wine Country weekend by billionaire couple Cat and Matt.

“We got distracted by the landscapes. We’d stop every single day to watch the sunset together,” said Rentschler, who also served as a producer on the film.

“Pretty Problems” opened in theaters on Oct. 7. In March 2022, the Sonoma International Film Festival sold out two screenings at the Sonoma Community Center, according to Jill Golden, the festival’s marketing and communications director.

In the movie, Cat befriends Lindsay, a sales associate at a high-end boutique. After buying up half the store, Cat invites Lindsay and her husband, Jack, to Sonoma for the weekend.

Directed by Kestrin Pantera, the film follows Lindsay and Jack, who both feel stuck in life, over the lavish weekend full of wine tasting, yoga, a session with a high-end shaman and the antics of ultra-rich Cat and Matt.

The film won Sonoma International Film Festival’s Jury Award for Best English Language Feature. It also won the Bay Area Filmmaker Award presented by Cinelease and Film Mare Island.

The March screenings at the community center were so packed, the producers and actors had to wait outside the venue.

“We’ve never experienced a horde of fans like that. The film was so warmly received. We’re so grateful,” Rentschler said.

Sonoma County’s exquisite landscapes made filming the movie seamless, according to Rentschler.

“The landscape gave us beautiful lighting, lush greens. It also gave us this incredible shot of this hot air balloon in the background,” Rentschler said.

The cast spent six days every week filming. They used their one day off to bike, go wine tasting and tube down the Russian River together.

Nina Cheek, with the Sonoma County’s Economic Development Board’s film office, said anytime a movie is made in Sonoma County, it brings exposure to the area.

“Employees and directors from different areas travel in and learn about the area, then the word spreads,” Cheek said.

For those behind “Pretty Problems,” Wine Country gave them exactly what they needed.

“We wanted to highlight that Lindsay and Jack’s life is black and white before stepping into the Land of Oz, which suddenly brings color into their lives,” Rentschler said.

You can reach Staff Writer Mya Constantino at @searchingformya on Twitter.

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