Home Film Festival News NVFF Announces Opening/Closing Films, Celebrity Tributes & More

NVFF Announces Opening/Closing Films, Celebrity Tributes & More

NVFF Announces Opening/Closing Films, Celebrity Tributes & More
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Eighth Annual Napa Valley Film Festival Announces Film Line-Up,
Special Events and Celebrity Tribute Honorees

Festival to Open with Green Book, Close with Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind

 

Honorees Include Geena Davis, Laurence Fishburne, Rising Stars Taissa Farmiga, Billy Magnussen, Camila Mendes, Rosa Salazar, Tye Sheridan and Alexandra Shipp

 

Stephanie Courtney, Taran Killam, Laraine Newman, Cheri Oteri and Julia Sweeney to Accept Miner Family Winery Legacy Ensemble Tribute on Behalf of The Groundlings Theatre and School

 

Napa, California (October 3, 2018) – The eighth annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) has announced its film line-up, including Opening and Closing Night, as well as special events and tribute honorees today. NVFF returns this fall with its five-day festival showcasing the year’s best new independent films, November 7-11. Organizers will showcase Napa Valley’s finest food and wine at all special events, including the Festival Gala, VIP receptions and Vintner Circle dinners, and will feature a lively series of filmmaker-chef collaborative demonstrations at the Monogram Appliances Demonstration Kitchen at The Studio by Feast it Forward in downtown Napa. The ten screening venues located throughout the Valley include the historic Cameo Cinema, Charles Krug Winery, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, JaM Cellars Ballroom at the Margrit Mondavi Theatre, Lincoln Theater, Native Sons, Uptown Theatre, and new this year The Archer Hotel Napa, Las Alcobas Napa Valley and the Drive-In at the Calistoga Fairgrounds.

“We are eager to share this year’s compelling film lineup with our audiences: playful, poignant and powerful narratives, blended with educational, eye-opening, and inspirational documentaries, with a good helping of star power on top for good measure”, said Marc Lhormer, NVFF Executive & Artistic Director. “We are especially excited to introduce our new #ArtInspiringAction initiative enabling audience members to engage more deeply with the issues raised in many of our films. We look forward to celebrating together at all of our events and parties overflowing with Napa Valley’s finest food and wine.”

CELEBRITY TRIBUTES

Laurence Fishburne (The MatrixAnt-Man and the Wasp) will receive this year’s Charles Krug “Legendary Actor” honor at this year’s Celebrity Tributes program that salutes the highest levels of cinematic achievement. The Celebrity Tributes program will take place on Thursday, November 8 at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, and will include video highlight reels and intimate on-stage conversations with Access Hollywood’s Natalie Morales. Additional honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition, NVFF will be honoring the esteemed alumni of The Groundlings Theatre and School with the Miner Family Winery “Legacy Ensemble” award on Friday, November 9. Accepting on behalf of The Groundlings are Stephanie Courtney (Progressive Insurance’s Flo), Taran Killam (Saturday Night LiveSingle Parents), Laraine Newman (Saturday Night Live, Coneheads), Cheri Oteri (Saturday Night Live, Scary Movie) and Julia Sweeney (Saturday Night Live, It’s Pat). Later that evening, Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own) will be honored with the Davis Estates “Visionary Tribute” following a screening of the documentary This Changes Everything.

The second annual Rising Star Showcase presented by Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards on Saturday, November 10 will honor a handful of young talent including Taissa Farmiga (American Horror StoryThe Nun), Billy Magnussen (Maniac, Game Night), Camila Mendes (RiverdaleThe New Romantic), Rosa Salazar (Alita: Battle AngelMaze Runner: The Death Cure), Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, X-Men: Dark Phoenix) and Alexandra Shipp (Love, SimonX-Men: Dark Phoenix).

SNEAK PREVIEW NIGHT, OPENING NIGHT AND CLOSING NIGHT

NVFF will kick off with their Sneak Preview Night on Tuesday, November 6 with a special presentation of Columbia Pictures’ The Front Runner. The film, directed by Jason Reitman and starring Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons and Alfred Molina, is the story of American Senator Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1988 as it is derailed when he is caught in a scandalous love affair.

The festival’s official Opening Night film on Wednesday, November 7 is Participant Media and DreamWorks Pictures’ Green Book, directed by Peter Farrelly and starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini. In the film, Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans.  . Closing the festival on Sunday, November 11 is HBO Films’ Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind. Directed by Marina Zenovich, the documentary gives an intimate look into the life and work of the revered master comedian and actor, Robin Williams.

AWARD SEASON CONTENDERS AND SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

  • A Private War (Aviron Pictures) – One of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time, Marie Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontline of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless. Directed by Matthew Heineman and starring Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Stanley Tucci and Tom Hollander.
  • At Eternity’s Gate (CBS Films) – A look at the life of painter Vincent van Gogh during the time he lived in Aries and Auvers-sur-Oise, France. Directed by Julian Schnabel and starring Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Mads Mikkelsen and Oscar Isaac.
  • Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) – Capernaum tells the story of Zain, a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the “crime” of giving him life. Directed by Nadine Labaki and starring Michel Merkt and Khaled Mouzanar.
  • Devil’s Garden – Devil’s Garden is a national forest treasure in the far northeast corner of California, and home to the last sustainable herd of wild horses in this state. However, they are in danger of becoming completely wiped away because of profit taking entities on our public lands. Directed by Victoria Bergqvist and Scott Powers.
  • Do You Trust This Computer? – Do You Trust This Computer? explores the promises and perils of our new era. Will A.I. usher in an age of unprecedented potential, or prove to be our final invention? Directed by Chris Paine.
  • High-Sensitive Youth in the Horse-Heart-Space – What happens when adopted and foster children and rescued horses, cast off by their owners, meet? This documentary explores the friendship between two beings so different and yet so alike. A friendship where both sides long to connect their heart-space. Directed by Jolanda Ellenberger.
  • Never Look Away (Sony Pictures Classics) – German artist Kurt Barnert has escaped East Germany and now lives in West Germany but is tormented by his childhood under the Nazis and the GDR-regime. Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and starring Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch and Paula Beer.
  • Pick of the Litter (IFC) – Pick of the Litter follows a litter of puppies from the moment they’re born and begin their quest to become guide dogs for the blind. Directed by Don Hardy Jr. and Dana Nachman.
  • Sharkwater Extinction – Sharkwater Extinction is a thrilling, action adventure journey that follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the billion-dollar illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it. Directed by Rob Stewart.
  • Sgt Stubby: An American Hero (Fun Academy Motion Pictures) – The true story of a stray dog who joins his new master on the battlefields of the First World War. For his valorous actions, Sgt. Stubby is still recognized as the most decorated dog in American history. Directed by Richard Lanni and starring Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gerard Depardieu.
  • The Biggest Little Farm (Neon) – Documentarian John Chester and his wife Molly work to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. Directed by John Chester.
  • Uncrushable – Uncrushable tells the story of the Northern California fires through the eyes of those most affected in the area. Victims who lost homes or businesses, first responders, chefs and winemakers share their harrowing accounts throughout the film, as a fallen community begins to rebuild through the amazing help of its neighbors, chefs and friends. Directed by Tyler Florence.
  • Valley of the Boom (National Geographic Channel) – A look at the tech boom of the 1990s in Silicon Valley. Directed by Matthew Carnahan, produced by Arianna Huffington and starring Bradley Whitford, Steve Zahn and Lamorne Morris.
  • Vox Lux (Neon) – An unusual set of circumstances brings unexpected success to a pop star. Directed by Brady Corbet and starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Willem Dafoe.
  • Wheelman (Netflix) – A getaway driver for a bank robbery realizes he has been double crossed and races to find out who betrayed him. Directed by Jeremy Rush and starring Frank Grillo.

 

OTHER FILM AND EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

The Award Ceremony will take place at the Uptown Theatre on Saturday, November 10 in which the winners of the Juried and Audience Awards will be revealed, and each winner will be presented with a large format collectible bottle of wine from one of the festival’s Vintner Circle members. The winners of the Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature will each receive a $10,000 check courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley.

The Festival Gala will immediately follow the Award Ceremony at the CIA at Copia and will feature cuisine from many of the Valley’s local culinary stars, wines from Napa Valley’s vintners and craft cocktails from mixologists. The evening will also feature musical performances by Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters and Ethan Tucker. Many of the festival’s attending filmmakers and celebrity guests are expected to attend.

The rest of the NVFF film line-up is as follows:

Core Competitions (previously announced)

Narrative Features:

  • Are You Glad I’m Here, Directed by Noor Gharzeddine
  • Ask For Jane, Directed by Rachel Carey
  • Cold Brook, Directed by William Fichtner
  • Grace, Directed by Devin Adair
  • Only Humans, Directed by Vanessa Knutsen
  • Spare Room, Directed by Jenica Bergere
  • Tomorrow, Directed by Martha Pinson
  • When We Grow Up, Directed by Zorinah Juan
  • You Can Choose Your Family, Directed by Miranda Bailey

Documentary Features:

  • A Fatherless Generation, Directed by Nathan Cheney
  • Afghan Cycles, Directed by Sarah Menzies
  • Cancer Rebellion, Directed by Hernan Barangan (World Premiere)
  • Father’s Kingdom, Directed by Lenny Feinberg
  • General Magic, Directed by Matthew Maude and Sarah Kerruish
  • The Interpreters, Directed by Sofian Khan and Andres Caballero
  • The Trouble with Wolves, Directed by Collin Monda
  • TransMilitary, Directed by Gabriel Silverman, Co-Directed by Fiona Dawson
  • Up to Snuff, Directed by Mark Maxey

Verge

  • Madness, Farewell, Directed by Benjamin Font (World Premiere)
  • Ordinary Days, Directed by Jordan Canning, Kris Booth and Renuka Jeyapalan
  • Ride, Directed by Alex Ranarivelo
  • Summer ‘03, Directed by Becca Gleason
  • The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova, Directed by Zack Bernbaum
  • The Long Dumb Road, Directed by Hannah Fidell
  • Thunder Road, Directed by Jim Cummings
  • We Are Boats, Directed by James Bird (North American Premiere)
  • White Tide: The Legend of Culebra, Directed by Theo Love

Documentary Showcase

  • Accidental Climber, Directed by Steven Oritt (World Premiere)
  • Bias, Directed by Robin Hauser
  • Hesburgh, Directed by Patrick Creadon
  • Hurley, Directed by Derek Dodge
  • Life in the Doghouse, Directed by Ron Davis
  • My Indiana Muse, Directed by Ric Serena and Jennifer Serena
  • On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Nani and Popi, Directed by Brandon Gross and Skyler Gross
  • Science Fair, Directed by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster
  • The Price of Free, Directed by Derek Doneen
  • The Things We Keep, Directed by Alessandro Cassigoli and Casey Kauffman (North American Premiere)
  • This Changes Everything, Directed by Tom Donahue
  • Turning Point, Directed by James Keach
  • Unlikely, Directed by Jaye Fenderson and Adam Fenderson (World Premiere)

 

Food & Beverage Spotlight

  • Agave: Spirit of a Nation, Directed by Nick Kovacic and Matthew Riggieri
  • Brewmaster, Directed by Douglas Tirola
  • Hiro’s Table, Directed by Lynn Hamrick (World Premiere)
  • Soufra, Directed by Tomas Morgan
  • ULAM: Main Dish, Directed by Alexandra Cuerdo

The festival will also feature Short Film Programs with 16 Narrative Shorts and 16 Documentary Shorts.

About the Napa Valley Film Festival

The ultimate celebration of film, food and wine, the Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) lights up wine country at the most colorful time of year, November 7-11. NVFF presents approximately 100 new independent films and studio sneak previews in 10 beautiful venues in Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. Attendees interact with over 300 filmmakers at screenings and special events, as well as enjoy daily culinary demonstrations and wine tastings. Events include the Celebrity Tributes, Awards Ceremony, Festival Gala, Opening and Closing Night parties and much more. The Napa Valley Film Festival is presented by Cinema Napa Valley, a registered 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Napa, California. Visit www.nvff.org for more information or call 707.226.7500

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Presenting Sponsor: Lexus

Major Sponsor: Meadowood Napa Valley

Leading Sponsors:  AVMS, Charles Krug Winery, Cognition Studios, Colorzone, DoNapa, Miner Family Winery, Raymond Vineyards, Westin Verasa Napa

Supporting Sponsor: Archer Hotel Napa, Calistoga TID Committee, Davis Estates, Estate Events by Meadowood, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, Monogram Appliances, MovieCoin, Glenfiddich, Las Alcobas Napa Valley, Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards, Napa County Board of Supervisors, Stella Artois, The Studio by Feast it Forward, WanderLuxxe, Whole Foods

Media and Marketing Partners: Travel + Leisure, Variety, Wine Spectator

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Nic LaRue Nic LaRue is the owner of FilmSnobbery, is an advocate and passionate speaker for indie film, a film reviewer, and the host of the web broadcast series FilmSnobbery Live! Nic also offers his services as an independent film consultant whose passion is giving a voice to independent content creators.

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