FILM 2018-09-18T12:01:12+00:00


Program Overview
Narrative Features
Documentary Features
Screening Venues
Program Overview
Narrative Features
Documentary Features
Screening Venues



The Full Program Line Up of all NVFF18 films, daily schedules, panels, culinary demos, filmmakers and celebrities attending, as well as all the special events, will be announced in late September. Join our newsletter mailing list or check the website back later for more information breaking news!

Program Overview

NVFF’s Film Program is comprised of the following core components:
• Competitive screenings of 90 or so new independent films
• Sneak Previews of prestigious studio films before theatrical release
• Conversations with 300+ writers, directors, actors, producers
• Juried & Audience Awards
• Exclusive Artists-in-Residence Program
• Celebrity Tributes (Legends, Mavericks, Trailblazers and Spotlights)
• Rising Stars Showcase
• Inspiring Student Programs
• Countless opportunities for artist-audience interaction

Juried & Audience Awards

Industry experts decide the Juried Awards and audience ranking determines the Audience Awards. Awards are presented at a festive Awards Ceremony on Saturday night before the Festival Gala. Winning filmmakers take home 3-liter (double-magnum) bottles of highly sought-after Napa Valley wines presented by members of our Vintner Circle. Winners of the Juried Awards for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature also receive $10,000 cash prizes courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley.

Juried Awards Categories
Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Verge (edgier fare), Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts.

Audience Awards Categories
Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Verge (edgier fare), Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts, Food & Beverage Documentaries, Documentary Showcase, Acting Awards



A Lebanese housewife and a millennial American girl bridge cultural differences to become friends. Dark secrets are aired and one night they find themselves partners-in-crime. Starring Tess Harrison and Marwa Khalil. Directed by Noor Gharzeddine. [Northern California Premiere]


Based on real events, Ask for Jane tells the story of a group of young college women who developed an underground abortion network that helped over 11,000 women get illegal abortions in Chicago between 1969 and 1973. Starring Cody Horn, Sarah Ramos, Alison Wright and Sarah Steele. Directed by Rachel Carey. [Northern California Premiere]


Cold Brook tells the story of Ted & Hilde, two ordinary men who share an extraordinary experience, where helping a stranger find home places their own homes and everything they take for granted at risk. Directed by William Fichtner. Starring William Fichtner, Kim Coates, Harold Perrineau, Robin Weigert, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. [West Coast Premiere]


Charlie Elliston is a once famous author suffering from writer’s block. With his book advance spent, his agent and best friend Bernie sends him Dawn, a belligerent young woman in order to inspire and check on him – but she has some plans of her own. Starring Katie Cassidy, Tate Donovan, Matthew Lillard, Mircea Monroe, Debby Ryan, and Missi Pyle. Directed by Devin Adair. [West Coast Premiere]


Through her attempt to ignite a romance with a much older man, Sarah, a fiercely independent teenager, learns to appreciate not only her youth but also her overbearing mother. Starring Peri Gilpin, Micah Hauptman and Ivy Matheson. Directed by Vanessa Knutsen. [West Coast Premiere]


A young widow caring for her brother with Down Syndrome is drawn to a mysterious veteran who has rented her spare room. Starring Skyler Samuels and Martin Sensmeier. Directed by Jenica Bergere. [California Premiere]


A war veteran struggling to find a reason to live is befriended by a man who lives every day as though it’s his last. Starring Stuart Brennan, James Cosmo, Stephen Fry, Stephanie Leonidas, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Sebastian Street. Directed by Martha Pinson. [California Premiere]


When We Grow Up follows a close-knit, albeit sometimes contentious, family brought together by an unconventional emergency that forces them to confront each other’s secrets, flaws, and temperamental inner children. Starring Catherine Curtin, Grace Hannoy, Clyde Voce, Jennifer Tsay, and Mitch Poulos. Directed by Zorinah Juan. [West Coast Premiere]


A seventeen year-old boy blackmails his father after discovering his secret second family. Starring Danielle Campbell, Jim Gaffigan, Anna Gunn, Alex Karpovsky, Samantha Mathis and Logan Miller. Directed by Miranda Bailey. [Northern California Premiere]



Following a new generation of young Afghan women cyclists, Afghan Cycles uses the bicycle to tell a story of women’s rights – human rights – and the struggles faced by Afghan women on a daily basis; from discrimination to abuse, to the oppressive silencing of their voices in all aspects of contemporary society. Directed by Sarah Menzies.
[Napa Valley Premiere]


What is it really like to have cancer as a teenager? A survivor travels to all 50 states to uncover the stories of others who’ve also been diagnosed with cancer in their youth. In a world that largely avoids the subject, their voices are a call for revolution. Directed by Hernan Barangan. [World Premiere]


Nathan Cheney turns the camera on himself and captures his emotional journey as he seeks the courage to face his biggest fear, his father. Along this six-year journey Cheney takes an emotional turn and discovers that he must first confront his personal demons before he can confront his father. Directed by Nathan Cheney. [Northern California Premiere]


In the early 1900s, an African-American man named Reverend M.J. Divine began a religious movement that would reach over a million followers at its peak, crossing racial divisions and advocating for gender and economic equality. Despite his influence and achievements, Father Divine is little remembered today, dismissed by detractors as a con man and a fraud. The reason: Father Divine claimed to be God. Directed by Lenny Feinberg. [Napa Valley Premiere]


General Magic is a documentary about a business that Forbes described as the “greatest dead company in Silicon Valley.” It is a tale of how great vision and epic failure changed the world as we know it. Directed by Matthew Maude and Sarah Kerruish. [California Premiere]


The Interpreters follows the lives of Iraqi and Afghan military interpreters who worked with US forces on the ground. In many cases, interpreters face danger in their countries because of their affiliation with the US war effort. This is the story of how they are rebuilding their lives. Directed by Sofian Khan and Andres Caballero. [ Northern California Premiere]


TransMilitary chronicles the lives of four individuals defending their country’s freedom while fighting for their own. They put their careers and their families’ livelihoods on the line by coming out as transgender to top brass officials in the Pentagon in hopes of attaining the equal right to serve. Directed by Gabe Silverman and Fiona Dawson. [Napa Valley Premiere]


Death threats, court battles, and an iconic endangered species in middle, The Trouble with Wolves takes an up-close look at the most heated and controversial wildlife conservation debate of our time. The film aims to find out whether coexistence is really possible by hearing from the people directly involved. Directed by Collin Monda. [Napa Valley Premiere]


Millions of people have been touched by his music, yet few know the journey, hardships and triumphs of American musician and composer W.G. Snuffy Walden. In Up to Snuff, friends and collaborators share personal stories, laughs and insights about this generous soul who overcame the excesses of rock and roll to find success as one of the most beloved composers in television history. Directed by Mark Maxey. [California Premiere]

Mentors | Panelists | Moderators


The directors of our Narrative and Documentary Feature Films are accepted into our unique Artists-in-Residence Program in partnership with the incomparable Meadowood Napa Valley. These 20 or so talented filmmakers network with their peers, learn from industry mentors, and mingle with patrons and other Meadowood guests at a slew of intimate events. Meadowood also sponsors the twin $10,000 cash prizes awarded by the Jury for Best Narrative and Best Documentary Feature.

Industry Events

We are committed to supporting the careers of working independent filmmakers and developing audiences who appreciate this exceptional and important storytelling art-form.



Built in 1937, the Uptown Theatre is a historic, art deco masterpiece found in Downtown Napa. Every seat in the house is spectacular, giving you the perfect view for our red carpet screenings. 

Experience our newest pop-up theater located in the heart of downtown Napa. Enjoy Hess Collection wine and movie snacks from Charlie Palmer Steakhouse before heading into this screening venue for a film and Q&A. 

The JaM Cellars Ballroom lives above Blue Note Napa, one of the premiere Jazz houses in the world. Grab a bite at Blue Note before heading upstairs to experience one cutting edge films in our Verge Program. 


Returning as the Up Valley Hub, festival attendees can pick up passes at the Box Office, grab a bite to eat, catch a film, and discover local wineries and goods at the NVFF Artisan Pavilion.

For over 100 years, Native Sons has been a welcoming community center for the people of Napa Valley. This downtown St. Helena location will be the largest screening venue within the town. 

With Dolby Atmos sound and increasingly rare film stock projection, it’s impossible not to have an excellent theater experience at the Cameo. Founded in 1913, it is also the oldest operating theater in the Napa Valley.  

Conveniently located within walking distance of downtown St. Helena, the Acacia Barn provides picturesque vineyard views and an ideal environment to watch a new independent film. 

With screenings in the Carriage House, audiences will be able to admire the stunning cathedral ceiling and the old-growth redwood floors while enjoying wood fire pizzas, charcuterie, and wine. 


Lincoln Theater is the largest performing arts venue in all of the Napa Valley. During the festival it will feature five days of new independent films as well as host the Celebrity Tributes on Thursday, November 8.


For the first time ever, Passholders can now watch festival movies at a pop-up, Drive-In Theater. Located at the Calistoga Fairgrounds, this one-of-a-kind movie going experience can hold up to 50 cars.

NVFF18 • NOV 7 - 11

NVFF18 • NOV 7 – 11