Fifth Annual Napa Valley Film Festival Announces Film Line-Up, Special Events and Celebrity Tribute Honorees

Celebrity Tributes include Bruce Dern, Lydia Hearst, Keegan-Michael Key, Evan Peters, John Travolta and Finn Wittrock. Notable attendees include Emilie de Ravin, Chef Curtis Duffy, Eliza Dushku, Atom Egoyan, Blye Faust, Jonathan Gold, Todd Haynes, Robert Lantos, Josh Mond, Jessie Nelson, Chef Georges Perrier and more

Napa, California (October 2, 2015) – The fifth annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) is pleased to announce its program line-up, Opening Night & Gala screenings, special events and honorees for its Celebrity Tributes. The NVFF, along with this year’s presenting sponsor Lexus – the Official Automotive Luxury Sponsor, returns in full force with a five-day festival showcasing the year’s best new independent films in 12 unique screening venues in the four postcard-perfect towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga, November 11-15. Organizers also showcase Napa Valley’s finest food and wine at all special events, VIP receptions and Vintners Circle dinners, and are featuring a lively series of chef presentations and demonstrations on the Ferguson Culinary Stage presented by Traditional Home.

“We’re looking forward to sharing our incredible line-up of new independent discoveries and awards season contenders with our enthusiastic and appreciative audiences,” said NVFF Co-Founder and Executive & Artistic Director Marc Lhormer. “Between screenings, Q&As with all the visiting filmmakers, industry panels, culinary demos, parties, and of course, all of the food and wine-related tastings and events, each day will be jam packed with unforgettable experiences. There will indeed be something for everyone.”



Napa Valley Film Festival Co-Founders/Directors Brenda and Marc Lhormer are excited to announce this year’s Celebrity Tributes that will salute the highest level of cinematic achievement. They will bestow the Legendary Actor Tribute, presented by Freemark Abbey, on Bruce Dern. Actress and model Lydia Hearst and actors Evan Peters and Finn Wittrock will receive the Rising Star Tribute presented by Domaine Chandon. Multi-talented comic actor Keegan-Michael Key will receive a Trailblazer Tribute. Renowned actor John Travolta will receive the festival’s Career Achievement Tribute. The Celebrity Tributes will take place on Friday, November 13 at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville and will include video highlight reels and intimate on-stage conversations with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush.



The Festival kicks off Opening Night, Wednesday, November 11, with a Red Carpet screening and world premiere of Somm: Into the Bottle, the highly anticipated sequel to the wildly successful film Somm. Expect Master Sommelier sightings and other celebrity guests on the red carpet. Following the screening, NVFF Patron Circle Members, VIP guests and a limited amount of ticket holders will enjoy an Opening Night Party at the Riverfront Promenade at the Napa River Inn.

On Thursday, November 12, the extravagant Red Carpet Festival Gala will follow an awards season screening of Spotlight, starring Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Billy Crudup and Bryan D’Arcy James. NVFF Patron Circle Members, Pass Plus and Gala ticket holders will mingle with filmmakers and celebrities at the most glamorous and energized party of the year. Guests will enjoy cuisine from more than 30 of the Valley’s local culinary stars and wines from more than 50 of Napa Valley’s esteemed vintners and wineries.

The festival will conclude on Sunday, November 15 at the Award Ceremony taking place at the Uptown Theatre in Napa. Attendees will be able to join in the excitement and anticipation as the festival reveals the winners of its Juried and Audience Awards. Each winner will be presented a large format collectible bottle of fabulous wine from one of the festival’s generous 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.

As part of the ceremony, new this year, the NVFF’s partnership with Lexus ignites with the announcement of the four winners of the 2015 Lexus Short Films series – a collaboration between Lexus and The Weinstein Company to support a new generation of emerging filmmakers. The four up-and-coming filmmakers will be on hand to share in the excitement surrounding the announcement. They will then embark on the production of four new short films on the theme of “anticipation” in partnership with The Weinstein Company. The four completed films will be shown together for the first time at a special event during the 2016 Napa Valley Film Festival.



  • Landfillharmonic – Film screening followed by a performance by 24 members of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical youth group of kids that play instruments made out of recycled products from one of South America’s largest landfills. (November 11, 1:30pm, Lincoln Theater)
  • Carol – Red Carpet Screening. Set in the 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman. Director Todd Haynes, and producer Christine Vachon are expected to attend. (November 12, 1:30pm, Uptown Theatre; encore screening November 15, 5:00pm, Cameo Cinema)
  • Life on the Line – World Premiere Screening. A crew of men who do the high-wire work of fixing the electrical grid are hit by a sudden deadly storm. Cast member John Travolta expected to attend. (November 14, 5:00pm, Lincoln Theater)
  • Youth – Fred, an acclaimed composer, and Mick, a famous film director, are old friends staying at an Alpine Lodge, along with Fred’s daughter Leda and Mick’s team of screenwriters working on what he imagines as his last and most important film. Meanwhile, Fred has no interest in continuing his career. (November 13, 10:00am, Cameo Cinema; November 14, 5:00pm, Cameo Cinema)
  • Best of Enemies – A documentary on the series of televised debates in 1968 between the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville is expected to attend. (November 13, 1:30pm, Uptown Theatre; November 15, 9:30am, Lincoln Theater)
  • Bottle Shock The Musical – live, in concert, attendees can catch a sneak peek of the new show, based on the movie that is currently in development. (November 14, 12:30pm; Lincoln Theater)

 Additional sneak previews include:

  • The 33 – Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days. Directed by Patricia Riggen and Starring Cote de Pablo, Juan Pablo Raba, Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Rodrigo Santoro, Lou Diamond Phillips, James Brolin and Gabriel Byrne. (November 10, 5:30pm & 8:30pm, Cameo Cinema). Sneak Preview Night
  • Remember – The darkest chapter of the 20th century collides with a contemporary mission of revenge. Directed by Atom Egoyan and starring Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau and Dean Norris. Atom Egoyan and producer Robert Lantos are expected to attend (November 11, 1:00pm, Uptown Theatre).
  • 45 Years – In the week leading up to their 45th wedding anniversary, a couple receive an unexpected letter which contains potentially life-changing news. Directed by Andrew Haigh and starring Charlotte Rampling, Dolly Wells and Tom Courtenay. (November 11, 8:30pm Cameo Cinema; November 12, 10:00am, Uptown Theatre).
  • City of Gold – A documentary portrait that takes us into Jonathan Gold’s universe to tell the improbable story of a revolution inspired by the pen, but driven by the palate. Directed by Laura Gabbert. (November 12, 1:30pm, Napa Valley College; November 13, 1:00pm Cameo Cinema). Jonathan Gold is expected to attend.
  • Very Semi-Serious – Profile of the New Yorker’s current cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, as well as some of the most fascinating cartoonists whose work has run and currently appears in the magazines pages. Directed by Leah Wolchok. (November 13, 8:30pm, Cameo Cinema; November 15, 1:00pm, Lincoln Theater).
  • James White – A coming-of-age story about a young New Yorker struggling to take control of his reckless, self-destructive behavior in the face of momentous family challenges. Directed by Josh Mond and starring Christopher Abbot and Cynthia Nixon. (November 14, 7:30pm, Lincoln Theater; November 15, 12:30pm, Cameo Cinema).
  • Love the Coopers – When four generations of the Cooper clan come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday. Directed by Jessie Nelson and starring Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfriend, Marisa Tomei, Anthony Mackie, Diane Keaton, John Goodman and Ed Helms. (November 13, 9:00pm, Lincoln Theater).

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

Core Competitions (previously announced)

 Narrative Features:

  • Astraea, Directed by Kristjan Thor
  • Honeyglue, Directed by James Bird
  • It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, Directed by Emily Ting.
  • Jane Wants a Boyfriend, Directed by William Sullivan.
  • Life in Color, Directed by Katharine Emmer
  • Lola’s Last Letter, Directed by Valerie Brandy
  • Moments of Clarity, Directed by Stev Elam
  • Outliving Emily, Directed by Sean Devaney
  • The King of New Orleans, Directed by Allen Frederic
  • Tumbledown, Directed by Mewshaw

Documentary Features:

  • A Place to Stand, Directed by Daniel Glick
  • Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play, Directed by Jerome Thelia
  • CODE: Debugging the Gap, Directed by Robin Hauser Reynolds
  • King Georges, Directed by Erika Frankel
  • Life Under Siege: Exploring Gaza’s Secret Tunnels, Directed by Miriam Abu Sharkh
  • Right Footed, Directed by Nick Spark
  • Romeo is Bleeding, Directed by Jason Zeldes
  • Since: The Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, Directed by Phil Furey
  • The Family Next Door, Directed by Michael Messner and Barry Reese
  • The Uncondemned, Directed by Nick Louvel and Michele Mitchell


The Lounge


  • 3rd Street Blackout, Directed by Negin Farsad and Jeremy Redleaf
  • Crushed, Directed by Megan Riakos
  • Friends and Romans, Directed by Christopher Kublan
  • Night Owls, Directed by Charles Hood
  • No Men Beyond This Point, Directed by Mark Sawers
  • The Submarine Kid, Directed by Eric Bilitch
  • Welcome to Happiness, Directed by Oliver Thompson
  • Well Wishes, Directed by Anderson Boyd
  • Weepah Way For Now, Directed by Stephen Ringe


  • A Man Wakes Up, Directed by Voki Kalfayan
  • Big Boy, Directed by Bryan Campbell
  • CI: A Tedd Talkumentary, Directed by Martin Sweeney
  • Love Yourself, Directed by Hayden Neeland
  • Let’s Not Panic, Directed by Heather Jack
  • Moving On, Directed by Marcia Fields
  • Sounds We Have No Letters For, Directed by Bernard Badion
  • The Last Ones, Directed by Amy Heidt
  • World Class, Directed by Aina Dumlao and Bru Muller


Special Presentations

 Latino Films Spotlight:

  • 120 Days, Directed by Ted Roach
  • In the Clouds, Directed by Marcelo
  • Panama Canal Stories, Directed Carolina Borrero, Pinky Mon, Luis Franco Brantley, Abner Benaim, Pituka Ortega-Heilbron
  • Sin Frontera, Directed by Iz Gutierrez
  • Tether, Directed by Eve Symington
  • The Little Fireman, Directed by Quincy Perkins
  • Wrong Number, Directed by Ernesto Rivera-Machuc

Documentary Features:

  • Datuna: Portrait of America, Directed by Brian Bayeri
  • Finding Noah, Directed by Brent Baum
  • For Grace, Directed by Mark Helenowski and Kevin Pang
  • F R E E, Directed by David Collier and Suzanne LaFetra
  • Harry & Snowman, Directed by Ron Davis
  • No Greater Love, Directed by Justin Roberts
  • Personal Gold: An Underdog Story, Directed by Sky Christopherson and Tamara Christopherson
  • The Royal Road, Directed by Jenni Olson
  • Sweet Blues, Directed by Bob Sarles
  • Tracing Outlines, Directed by Cayce Mell
  • The True Cost, Directed by Andrew Morga

The festival will also feature a Shorts Program with 19 narrative shorts, 18 documentary shorts and 11 short features (short films that have a run time between 25 and 50 minutes).



Each year the Napa Valley Film Festival welcomes a long guest list of filmmakers and industry attendees for its informative and entertaining panels covering a wide range of topics. The Film Industry Panels take place Friday, November 13 – Saturday, November 14 and are located at 500 Main Street, Napa at Hatt Hall at the Napa River Inn presented by Sony.

Friday, November 13

  • Actors in Conversation – Moderator Elvis Mitchell chats informally with a panel of actors attending with this year’s festival films. Topics include how they choose roles, what their dream parts might be, and the favorite characters they’ve played. Get a peek behind the curtain into the lives of your favorite actors (9:00am)
  • Critical Mass: Meet the Powers Behind the Pen and the Web – Moderator Claudia Puig talks to some of the industry’s most well-known critics about the state of film and the challenges currently facing reviewers. Panelists may include: Amy Nicholson, Village Voice; Alsono Duralde, TheWrap; Alynda Wheat, People Magazine; Justin Chang, Variety (11:00am)

Saturday, November 14

  • Shattering the Glass Lens: Women Behind the Camera – Moderator Lissa Gibbs talks with women filmmakers about their work and the challenges they face in a male-dominated industry. Panelists may include: Elise Pearlstein, senior vice president documentary film at Participant Media; Killer Film’s Christine Vachon, producer of Carol; Love the Coopers director Jessie Nelson (9:00am)
  • Playing with Power and Making Movies – Top Hollywood power players dish about what’s really involved in putting today’s film projects together. Panelists may include: Dan Guando, The Weinstein Company; Laura Rister, Untitled Entertainment; David Greenbaum, Fox Searchlight Pictures; Nicolas Gonda, producer of Terence Malick’s films (11:00am)

NVFF’s annual Pitch Competition: The Pitch Competition connects new writers and filmmakers with the industry’s best creative executives and producers to discover fresh ideas for the next blockbuster film or hit TV series. 20 semi-finalists will be invited to “boot camp” on November 12 with producer and pitch writer, Scott Manville, and industry veteran Peter Belsito to learn the ins and outs of successful pitching. Scott and Peter will select 10 finalists to go into “the room” for the “Final Smackdown” on November 15. The Final Smackdown is open to the public and takes place at 9:00am, Sunday, November 15 at City Winery in Napa. Deadline for submitting pitches is October 15. To submit a pitch, please visit for all the details.

Sunday, November 15

  • Pitch Competition: The Final Smackdown Ten finalists pitch their ideas for new films or TV shows to top studio executives who show no mercy in providing constructive feedback. (9:00am)

For information or to buy passes, visit NVFF.ORG or call 707-226-7500.


About The Napa Valley Film Festival

The Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Napa, California. The mission of the Napa Valley Film Festival is to celebrate the cinematic arts and enrich the community by presenting an annual world-class festival and year-round education and outreach programs.  The ultimate celebration of film, food and wine, NVFF lights up the picturesque towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga at the most colorful time of year. NVFF features over 100 new independent films and red carpet sneak previews screening in 12 beautiful venues throughout the four walkable villages, as 400 visiting filmmakers interact with audiences at screenings and intimate events. Attendees enjoy film panels & culinary demonstrations, wine tasting pavilions, the spectacular Festival Gala, Celebrity Tributes, Awards Ceremony, an array of parties, VIP receptions, winemaker dinners and more. Visit for more information or call 707.226.7500

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Presenting Sponsor: Lexus

Major Sponsor: Meadowood Napa Valley

Leading Sponsors: Sony, Stella Artois, AVMS, Domaine Chandon, The Westin Verasa Napa, Cognition Studio, Cellar Pass. Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Supporting Sponsors: Raymond Vineyards, Napa River Inn, Freemark Abbey, ColorZone, The Weinstein Company, Classic Party Rentals, City Winery, BRKLY, Napa County, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, Terlato Family Wines

Top Media Sponsors: Traditional Home Magazine, Variety, Wine Spectator, Travel and Leisure, Comcast/Xfinity, KFOG/KGO, San Francisco Chronicle.



Ron Hofmann / Ashley Patterson

B|W|R Public Relations

310.248.6133 / 310.248.6126 /


By | 2017-09-07T15:22:59+00:00 October 2nd, 2015|Press Release|0 Comments

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NVFF17 • NOV 8 - 12

NVFF17 • NOV 8 – 12