"Just Mercy," the story of lawyer Bryan Stevenson, opens the Napa Valley Film Festival on Nov. 13. 

The ninth annual Napa Valley Film Festival has announced its film line-up, including opening- and closing-night screenings.

The five-day festival of independent films takes place Nov. 13-17 at seven screening venues: The Archer Hotel Napa, the Cameo Cinema, The CIA at Copia, Charles Krug Winery, Lincoln Theater, Native Sons, and the Uptown Theatre.

The festival Sneak Preview Night on Tuesday, Nov. 12 is “Ford v Ferrari,” a film inspired by the story American car designer Carroll Shelby and British driver Ken Miles. It stars Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone and Ray McKinnon.

The opening night film on Wednesday, Nov. 13 is “Just Mercy,” the true story of a young lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, and his history-making battle for justice. The film is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and stars Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson and Jamie Foxx.

Closing the festival on Sunday, Nov. 17 is SOMMTV’s world premiere of “Verticals,” a series that showcases Napa Valley winemakers. This premiere is also the launch of SOMMTV, the first food and wine dedicated streaming platform. The series is directed by Jason Wise.

Other films include:

  • “Clemency”—Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden, Bernadine Williams who must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is to execute.
  • “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”—In 1760 France, Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a reluctant bride-to-be. Héloïse’s portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love.
  • “To The Stars” – Iris, a reclusive teen living in Oklahoma in the 1960s, endures the booze-induced antics of her mother and daily doses of bullying from her classmates until she finds solace in Maggie, the new girl at school, who coaxes Iris out of her shell.
  • “Troop Zero”—In a tiny Georgia town in 1977, a motherless girl named Christmas Flint dreams of life beyond the confines of her trailer-park home and hopes to make contact with outer space.

Special presentations include:

  • “Code & Response”—Meet the first responders who are supported by innovative technology in a film that follows four coders from around the world (Japan, Puerto Rico, California, and Mexico).
  • “Elsewhere”—Bruno is still mourning his wife’s passing when his in-laws evict him from the home he and wife built together. Unwilling to let his beloved home fall into disrepair, and determined to be the only person to make any changes to the house he built, Bruno poses as a local handyman and the new owner hires him for renovations.
  • “From the Vine”—Mark, a downtrodden CEO, travels back to his hometown in rural Italy to revive his grandfather’s vineyard.
  • “Gay Chorus Deep South”—In response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws in Southern states, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus embarks on a tour of the American Deep South.
  • “I Want My MTV”—A journey back to when the idea of a television channel devoted to only videos seemed destined for failure.
  • “It All Begins with a Song: The Story of the Nashville Songwriter”—A celebration of one of music’s most important yet underrated forces: the songwriter.
  • “The Land of High Mountains “- The inspiring true story of the only pediatric hospital in Haiti.
  • “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound”—Shines a spotlight on the unsung heroes of sound design throughout cinematic history.
  • “Martha: A Picture Story”—In the 1970s, Martha Cooper was a photographer documenting the first graffiti appearing on New York City’s subway carriages. Now, at age 75, Martha must navigate her way through the vastly changed culture of the modern world.
  • “My Beautiful Stutter”—Witness the transformation of five kids who stutter when they enter a groundbreaking program through SAY, The Stuttering Association.
  • “RUTH – Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words”—The improbable story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg became an associate justice of the Supreme Court, it also reveals both the public and private sides of a resilient, resourceful woman who has survived the hostility of the profoundly male universe of government and law.
  • “The Three Drinkers Do Scotch Whisky” — Three friends embark on a road trip through Scotland. From Dufftown and Islay to Elgin and Jura, they journey through breath-taking landscapes, visiting distilleries and touching on Scottish culture.

The festival will also feature short film programs with 17 narrative shorts and 11 documentary shorts.

The Napa Valley Film Festival was founded in 2009 by Brenda and Marc Lhormer, who left the festival in 2018 and are now in Philadelphia, making their second feature film.

Visit napavalleyfilmfest.org for more information on passes and festival events.

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