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Cloverdale Theater owners plan film fest

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Kathryn and Ryan Hecht, owners of the Clover Theater, have launched a new Cloverdale-based nonprofit to promote a four-day film festival in 2015 that will span Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale.

The Alexander Valley Film Society (avfilmsociety.org) is a fiscally sponsored project of the San Francisco Film Society. Its goal is to showcase new and emerging talents from throughout the world, giving students in the Alexander Valley access to those artists. All proceeds will fund educational programming for children in Alexander Valley public schools.

In addition to the three school districts, the Boys & Girls Club of Central Sonoma County, Sonoma State University and the Sonoma County Office of Education have agreed to partner with the nonprofit on the educational aspects of its initiative.

Since opening the theater late last year, Kathryn Hecht says they have noticed that Cloverdale kids don’t have a lot to do and the entire community is not being represented culturally. By creating a nonprofit, the Hechts thought they could dig a little deeper into the community.

“Everybody can get behind things for public education,” she said. “We are not asking schools for support, we are offering to support them.

“Putting filmmakers within reach of our students will give them opportunities to meet and talk one-on-one, possibly planting the seed for future careers.”

The Alexander Valley Film Festival is scheduled to begin Oct. 22, 2015, and take place in each of the three participating communities. Tasting tents, beer gardens and vendors also are planned.

Hecht says they raised more than $40,000 in a “friends and family” campaign, were given a $25,000 Challenge Grant by Healdsburg supporters Stu Harrison and Dave Ring, and on Dec. 1 launched a crowd-funding effort through Network for Good to raise an additional $25,000.

For more information, contact kathryn@avfilmsociety.org.

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