International Wine Film Festival Announces Dates for Vineyard Screening Events throughout Santa Barbara Wine Country in 2016

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Three-week festival to culminate with award ceremony during World of Pinot Noir event at the Bacara Resort.

The first annual International Wine Film Festival will celebrate the perfect pairing of wine and film, featuring the best wine-themed movies, short films, and web videos along with tasting fine wines from all over the world.

The film festival is timed to coincide with the 16th annual World of Pinot Noir, which is being held at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara on March 4th and 5th, 2016.

According to Wil Fernandez, founder and director of the festival, “There are other traditional film festivals in wine country locations, but this is the first that solely focuses on films using wine as a theme and brings audiences into the vineyard to watch them.”

The blending of wine and film stems from Fernandez’s passion for both. A former advertising agency executive, he currently works as a marketing consultant for numerous boutique wine brands. Fernandez organizes unique sampling events including live Twitter tastings and helps produce video collateral for wineries. He also holds marketing roles for food and wine related festivals and regional wine associations.

Fernandez came up with the idea for the wine film festival after the success of his project "Vintage 2014: The Stories Behind The Vines,” the series of short films he produced and directed that are screened along with tasting intermissions. The crowd-funded project, which enabled him to bring the vineyards of Santa Barbara County to a national audience, won multiple awards including Best New Media at the New Media Film Festival in Los Angeles and Best Single Subject Wine Blog at the Wine Blog Awards.

When he decided to submit the project to film festivals, Fernandez was frustrated to discover that there weren't any festivals that brought together audiences of wine lovers to celebrate wine films—so he decided to create one and set it among Santa Barbara’s premier idyllic vineyards.

Added Fernandez, who was featured in the May 2015 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine, “I hope to spotlight the best wine movies each year and encourage the wine industry to invest in film production to educate and inspire their customers.”

“The festival is a great way to remind people that the authentic wine country experience is just a short trip from the coast," said Shelby Sim, Executive Director of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. "We're thrilled to share all that our valley has to offer during this inaugural event.”

The International Wine Film Festival will culminate with an awards ceremony and screening of winning films at the luxury Bacara Resort & Spa, which boasts a 211-seat state-of-the-art theater and 78 acres of spectacular oceanfront property, including two miles of natural beach. It will tie in with the annual World of Pinot Noir event—two days of in-depth tasting seminars hosted by participating wineries and featuring an outstanding panel of sommeliers from around the world.

“We’re always looking for ways to add value to the experience," commented Damon Miele, Event Coordinator at World of Pinot Noir. "Bringing the best in wine films to the Bacara Theater during our event will undoubtedly excite our audience.”

A selection committee and jury made up of top wine bloggers and journalists from major wine industry publications is currently being assembled.

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Wil Fernandez
International Wine Film Festival
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International Wine Film Festival