The seventh annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) Nov. 8-12 will present more than 120 new independent films and studio sneak previews in nine venues throughout the valley.
More than 300 filmmakers are expected to attend screenings; and the schedule also includes wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, winemaker dinners, celebrity tributes, the Awards Ceremony and Festival Gala, Opening and Closing Night parties.
NVFF 2017 kicks off with their Sneak Preview Night on Tuesday, Nov. 7 with a special presentation of Fox Searchlight Pictures’ “The Shape of Water.” The film, directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg, is an other-worldly tale of Elisa whose life is changed forever when she and a co-worker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment at the hidden high-security government laboratory where they work.
The festival’s official opening night film is The Weinstein Company’s “The Upside,” directed by Neil Berger and starring Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman and Kevin Hart. This film is a comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy paraplegic and an unemployed man with a criminal record who’s hired to help him.
Closing the festival will be “Molly’s Game,” directed by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jessica Chastain, Kevin Costner and Idris Elba in the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.
This year’s line-up of celebrity tributes will honor Charles Krug Legendary Filmmaker Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated,” “The Intern”); Raymond Vineyards Trailblazer Michael Shannon (“The Current War,” “The Shape of Water”), and Spotlight Tribute honoree Michael Stuhlbarg (“Call Me By Your Name”; “The Shape of Water”).
New this year, The Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch Humanitarian Tribute will be presented to Nikki Reed (“Twilight,”) and Ian Somerhalder (“The Vampire Diaries”). The Celebrity Tributes program will take place on Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville and will include video highlight reels and on-stage conversations with Access Hollywood’s Natalie Morales.
In addition to the Celebrity Tributes program, Will Ferrell (“Anchorman”; “Daddy’s Home 2”) will be honored with the Caldwell Vineyards Maverick Tribute on Friday, Nov. 10, and the first Rising Star Showcase at Materra Cunat Vineyards on Saturday, Nov. 11 will honor a handful of young talent including Ana de Armas (“War Dogs”; “Blade Runner 2049”), Odeya Rush, (“Lady Bird,” “Goosebumps”), Austin Stowell (“Battle of the Sexes,” “Bridge of Spies”), Gregg Sulkin (“Runaways,” “Faking It”) and Alex Wolff (“My Friend Dahmer”; “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”).
Additional actors expected to attend include David Arquette, Zoey Deutch, Lou Diamond Phillips, Thomas Middleditch, Haley Joel Osment, Dennis Quaid, Jim Rash, Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson, and Elijah Wood.
Additional honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.
The festival’s lineup will also include award-contenders, such as:
“78/52” – An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960), the “man behind the curtain,” and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema. directed by Alexandre O. Philippe.
“Call Me By Your Name”—In 1983, the son of an American professor is enamored by the graduate student who comes to study and live with his family in their northern Italian home. Together, they share an unforgettable summer full of music, food, and romance that will forever change them. directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg. Michael Stuhlbarg is expected to attend.
“Chappaquiddick” – Ted Kennedy’s life and political career become derailed in the aftermath of a fatal car accident in 1969 that claims the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne. directed by John Curran and starring Jason Clarke, Bruce Dern, Ed Helms and Kate Mara.
“Crown Heights” – (Amazon Studios) When Colin Warner is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend, Carl King, devotes his life to proving Colin’s innocence. directed by Matt Ruskin and starring Nnamdi Asomugha and Lakeith Stanfield. Nnamdi Asomugha is expected to attend.
“The Current War” – The dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world. directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Shannon and Katherine Waterston. Michael Shannon is expected to attend.
“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” – A romance sparks between a young actor and a Hollywood leading lady. directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Jamie Bell and Annette Bening.
“I, Tonya” – Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises among the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the sport is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes. directed by Craig Gillespie and starring Allison Janney, Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan.
“LA 92” – A look at the events that led up to the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles following the Rodney King beating by the police. directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin.
“The Leisure Seeker” – A runaway couple go on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call The Leisure Seeker, traveling from Boston to The Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West. They recapture their passion for life and their love for each other on a road trip that provides revelation and surprise right up to the end. Directed by Paolo Virzì and starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.
As part of the festival’s Sneak Preview Night, Blue Note Napa, in partnership with NVFF, will feature two performances by Dennis Quaid and The Sharks on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The award ceremony will take place at the Uptown Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 11 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 partners. The winners of the Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature will each receive at $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 Napa Valley’s vintners, Stella Artois beer and cider, and craft cocktails from local mixologists. Many of the festival’s attending filmmakers and celebrity guests are expected to attend.
NVFF is partnering again this year with Lexus and The Weinstein Company (TWC) for the fourth season of Lexus Short Films. This year, four new filmmakers are being chosen from thousands of applicants by a selection committee led by Antoine Fuqua (“The Equalizer”; “Training Day”), Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”; “Monster”) and Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”; “Wind River”). The winning filmmakers will be announced at a private event at Charles Krug Winery on Thursday, Nov. 9, with Patty Jenkins in attendance, and will also be acknowledged at the NVFF Awards Ceremony on Nov. 11.
Special events, including the Festival Gala, VIP receptions and Vintner Circle dinners, and will feature a series of filmmaker-chef collaborative demonstrations at The Culinary Institute of America’s new facility, the CIA at Copia, in Napa.
The nine screening venues located throughout the valley include the Cameo Cinema, Charles Krug Winery, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, and Freemark Abbey in St. Helena and the Napa Valley Opera House, Lincoln Theater, the Native Sons, the Uptown Theatre and CIA at Copia Theater.
Visit nvff.org for more information or call 707-226-7500.