With the uptick of local film development, dealmaking and production, you’d be forgiven if it suddenly seems that there’s a great migration from Hollywood to the North Bay. Nothing to fret—much of the local action is homemade. Case in point, the latest film from Sonoma-based filmmakers Marc and Brenda Lhormer.
Dear Zoe is an adaptation of the young adult novel of the same title by Philip Beard and stars Stranger Things breakout Sadie Sink. The film screens at Sonoma’s Sebastiani Theatre Nov. 4-13.
Some will recognize the Lhormers as the creative team behind the wine country comedy Bottle Shock, about Napa’s vindicating viticultural victory at the Judgement of Paris, as well as the dynamic force behind Sonoma Valley Film Festival (from 2002 to 2008) and later the Napa Valley Film Festival (from 2010 to 2018).
In their new film, 15-year-old Tess DeNunzio (Sink) loses her sister, Zoe, in a hit-and-run accident on—of all days—Sept. 11, 2001. This epochal American moment understandably complicates how Tess processes her grief and shades her burgeoning relationship with the proverbial “boy-next-door” (who, at least in terms of his career dealings, is anything but). Her relationship with her divorced slacker dad (played by Sons of Anarchy and Luke Cage alumnus Theo Rossi) is also strained when she decamps to his rundown digs unannounced after an emotional flare-up with her mother.
It’s interesting to note that we’ve reached the point in our cultural timeline when those depicting the fall-out of relatively recent historical events were born after them. This factoid steals nothing from the 20-year-old Sink’s performance, which draws from her estimable talent under the direction of Gren Wells, an alumnus of Variety’s prestigious “10 Directors to Watch.”
Dear Zoe has scored honors at film festivals across the nation, and will be available to rent or buy on multiple video on-demand platforms beginning Nov. 4. That said, its producers encourage local audiences to catch it on the big screen, where they will be in attendance after some of the showings for Q&As.
“We are so excited to share our new feature film with our very own community, especially at one of the most special theaters in the country,” said producer Marc Lhormer, who co-wrote the screenplay. “We invite people who love character-driven, heartwarming movies to come out and see Dear Zoe the way it should be seen—on a very big screen in a movie theater!”
For screening days and time, tickets and more information about ‘Dear Zoe,’ visit sebastianitheatre.com/blog/2022/10/2/dear-zoe.