SRJC’s Cinema Series returns after two-year pandemic break

Spring line-up includes ‘Rickshaw Girl,’ ‘My Dead Dad’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back.“|

A succinct announcement on the Petaluma Film Alliance’s website says it all: “SRJC Petaluma is pleased to re-open our doors to the public for a series of special screenings and film conversations,” followed (no surprise) by some stuff about COVID-19 protocols.

It’s COVID-19, after all, that forced the popular weekly movie showcase to suspend its weekly screenings and discussions, which pair an interesting film with a special guest, a panel of experts or an entertainingly deep-dive presentation by cinema instructor Mike Traina. Generally delivered in a spring and fall grouping, the films tend to be very eclectic, a mix of new and old, traditional and experimental, narrative and documentary.

And now, thankfully, it’s back.

Screenings are held in the Carole L. Ellis Auditorium on the Petaluma Campus of the Santa Rosa Junior College, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway. Tickets are $6 general, $5 for students, with season passes going for $25. Visit for all the information.

Here’s what’s planned for spring of 2022.

Wednesday, April 6, 6 p.m. - 'Rickshaw Girl’ (2021), directed by Amitabh Reza Chowdhury, filmed in Bangladesh. “A timely tale of a young woman fighting for equity and reform in a culture steeped in tradition,” is how the website describes the film, which was produced by Penngrove resident (and SRJC screenwriting instructor) Eric Adams. He plans to participate in an onstage interview at 6 p.m. and will answer questions following the 7 p.m. screening.

Wednesday, April 13, 6 p.m. - ‘My Dead Dad’ (2021), directed by Fabio Frey, filmed in America. “A powerful coming-of-age story anchored in an exceptional performance from Pedro Correa.” Writer/Director Fabio Frey will be present for an onstage interview at 6 p.m. and to answer questions after the 7 p.m. screening.

Wednesday, April 20, 6 p.m. - 'Anima’ (2020), directed by Jinling Cao, filmed in China/Mongolia. “A stunningly gorgeous fable about the need to keep our Earth in balance, ‘Anima’ reconnects us with indigenous traditions and beliefs surrounding the spiritual interdependence man has with the natural world.” Just in time for Earth Day, the 7 p.m. screening will be preceded by a panel discussion at 6 p.m., examining what actions we can take to be better stewards of our planet. The panel includes psychology professor and Native American scholar Brenda Flyswithhawks and climate activist Ty Benoit.

Wednesday, April 27, 6 p.m. - ‘I Carry You With Me’ (2020), directed by Heidi Ewing, filmed in Mexico and the USA. “When Iván’s dreams of becoming a chef are stymied by the lack of opportunity in his homeland, he faces gut-wrenching decisions about leaving his family and boyfriend behind and making the perilous journey to cross the U.S. border.” The 7 p.m. screening will be preceded by a panel discussion at 6 p.m., setting up the film’s powerful intertwining themes and cinematic exploration of the Latinx experience. The panel will include Lucho Ramirez, founder and director of the San Francisco Latino Film Festival.

Wednesday, May 4, 6 p.m. - "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’ (1980), directed by Irvin Kershner, filmed in the USA and England. “Celebrate Star Wars Day with the acclaimed sequel to the ”Star Wars“ film that started it all!” Generally (and accurately, we’d argue) considered the best movie in the franchise, "The Empire Strikes Back“ received four Oscar nominations with wins for Sound Design and Visual Effects. The 6 p.m. pre-show will feature trivia, games and some surprise guests.

Wednesday, May 11, 6 p.m. - ‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’ (2009), directed by Wes Anderson, made in the USA. “Visionary filmmaker Wes Anderson adapts Ronald Dahl’s classic tale of the fantastic Mr. Fox, who tries to outwit the neighboring farms of Boggis, Bunce and Bean to pull off the greatest chicken heist the world has ever seen.” The 6 p.m. pre-show features SRJC Veterinary Tech instructor Dan Famini and a live animal meet-and-greet with a menagerie of residents from the Sonoma Sloth House.

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