One of the most exciting Napa Valley Film Festival announcements is the wonderful slate of studio films that make up the Awards Season Screenings. These are the films we believe will get Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. They are a group of entertaining and adventurous films, crowd-pleasing biopics, and socially relevant documentaries — and we cannot wait to share these stunning movies with our audiences!
To open the festival, we will be showing The Upside starring the immensely talented trio of Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman and Kevin Hart. For the closing night film, we are honored to show Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game, starring the incomparable Jessica Chastain, the always-great Idris Elba and former NVFF tribute (and Oscar winner) Kevin Costner. These are only two out of an incredible line up of 120 movies featuring star-studded casts, powerful writing, and fantastic human interest stories.
78/52 presents audiences with a calculated and pensive analysis of the on-screen murder that shook the cinematic world and forever changed the tactics used in narrative storytelling. Director Alexandre O. Philippe’s enhanced look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho delves deep into the history of the American cinematic experience and incorporates the thoughts and musings of various cinephiles and masters of suspense such as Elijah Wood, Guillermo del Toro, and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Call Me By Your Name
It’s the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17-year-old American-Italian boy, spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father, Professor Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg), an expert on antiquities. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.
Spotlight Tribute Michael Stuhlbarg will be in attendance for the Q&A after the November 9th, 9:45am screening at the Cameo Cinema.
Chappaquiddick recounts the tragic events of the 1969 fatal car accident involving U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and a young, female campaign worker who died at the scene. What happens over the ensuing ten hours before Kennedy actually reports the incident to the authorities reveals how one of the most powerful and influential political family dynasties in U.S. history orchestrated the facts and the real reason for the death of the campaign worker. Their efforts to control the story in the press, run damage control, and preserve the family’s legacy is an extraordinary story of the powerful and the untouchable.
The Current War
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, The Current War is the epic story of the cutthroat competition between the greatest inventors of the industrial age over whose electrical system would power the new century. Backed by J.P. Morgan, Edison dazzles the world by lighting Manhattan. But Westinghouse, aided by Nikola Tesla, has seen fatal flaws in Edison’s direct current design. Igniting a war of currents, Westinghouse and Tesla bet everything on risky and dangerous alternating current. The Current War also stars Katherine Waterston, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Matthew Macfadyen, and Tuppence Middleton.
Raymond Vineyards Trailblazer Michael Shannon will be in attendance for the Q&A at the 1:30pm, November 9th screening at the Uptown Theater.
Crown Heights is based on the true story of 18-year-old Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) who is sentenced to life in prison after being wrongfully convicted of shooting a Brooklyn teenager in the spring of 1980. With limited resources, Colin’s childhood friend Carl “KC” King (Nnamdi Asomugha) begins working on Colin’s exoneration, sacrificing his personal life to learn the court system. As Carl works on appeals, takes loans for lawyer fees and becomes a legal courier, Colin figures out how to adjust to and survive in the prison system.
Former NFL player-turned-actor/producer Nnamdi Asomugha will be in attendance for the Q&A after the 1:30pm, November 8th screening at the Uptown Theater.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Based on Peter Turner’s memoir, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool follows the playful but passionate relationship between aspiring actor Turner (Jamie Bell) and the eccentric Academy Award-winning actress Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening), covering a colorful period spanning from 1978 to 1980 in both Liverpool and Los Angeles. What starts as a standard-issue affair between a legendary femme fatale and her young lover quickly grows into a deeper nuanced relationship, with Turner being the person Gloria turns to for comfort. Their passion and lust for life is tested to the limits by events beyond their control.
American figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) rises through the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships; but her future in the sport is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes. Craig Gillespie’s thrilling new film is the story of Harding’s involvement in a vicious attack on her rival skater, teammate Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) just before the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. The stellar ensemble cast includes Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Paul Walter Hauser, Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver, Bojana Novakovic and Bobby Cannavale.
LA92 takes its audience on a riveting and comprehensive tour of the events that led up to the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles following the Rodney King beating by the police. Told only through archival news footage from that time period and even earlier going back to the Watts Riots of 1965, LA92 provides the needed background on the ever continuing racial tensions and police relations in Los Angeles that led up to the events of 1992. This powerful new film from Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin is a conversation catalyst for contemporary America. It begs the question: after some 25 years have passed, have we progressed as a nation and society? Or are we still struggling with the same insurmountable conflicts that have plagued us for decades, if not centuries?
Oscar winning directors Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin will be in attendance for a Q&A with other community leaders for the 8:30pm, November 11th screening at the Lincoln Theater. Individual tickets are available for this screening. Click here to purchase.
The Leisure Seeker
The Leisure Seeker stars Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren and two-time Golden Globe-winner Donald Sutherland as the runaway couple, Ella and John, on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call the Leisure Seeker. Faced with more caregiving than they care to accept, Ella and John resolve to enjoy the freedom of one last RV road trip on their own, old age and its challenges be damned. The couple travels from Boston to The Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West, recapturing their passion for life and their love for each other on a road trip that provides revelations and surprises right up to the very end.
Molly’s Game is based on the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer, Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.
Molly’s Game will act as NVFF17’s Closing Night film, which will screen at 5:30pm, November 12th at the Uptown Theater.
The Shape of Water
From master storyteller Guillermo del Toro comes The Shape of Water, an otherworldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the stellar cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Based on a true story, The Upside chronicles the unexpected friendship between Philip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston), a Park Avenue billionaire left paralyzed after a hang-gliding accident, and ex-con Dell Scott (Kevin Hart), in need of a job and a fresh start. From worlds apart, Phillip and Dell form an unlikely bond, bridging their differences and gaining invaluable wisdom in the process, giving each man a renewed sense of passion for all of life’s possibilities. Directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist, Limitless) and written by Jon Hartmere, The Upside also stars Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman.
The Upside will be NVFF17’s Opening Night film, which will screen at 5:30pm, November 8th at the Uptown Theater.