The 8th annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF), scheduled to take place November 7 – 11, announced its Narrative and Documentary Feature Film lineups in core competition today. The complete program lineup of approximately 100 films, including special presentations, award season contenders, and more will be announced at an upcoming date in September.
The 18 films in NVFF’s core competition categories will vie for the titles of Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature, as determined by the juries. The directors of these 18 films will participate in NVFF’s unique Artists-in-Residence (AIR) Program that includes a six-night stay at the luxury resort Meadowood Napa Valley. The residency includes master classes and breakout sessions with industry leaders as well as social and networking opportunities at special events throughout the festival. This year’s Festival Faculty will include several creatives associated with awards season films yet to be announced, plus executives Elise Pearlstein and Alece Oxendine, and story-telling power-couples Lysa and Grant Heslov, Yvonne Huff Lee and Jason Delane Lee, and Gren Wells and Brent Emery.
Juried and Audience Awards will be presented on Saturday, November 10 during the Awards Ceremony at the Uptown Theatre in Napa. Juried Awards, decided on by three jurors in each of five juries, include Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Verge Film (from a collection of bolder, edgier films), Best Ensemble Cast, Best Screenplay, and Special Jury Prizes. Audience Awards include Favorite Narrative Feature, Favorite Narrative Short, Favorite Documentary Feature, Favorite Documentary Short, Favorite Verge Film, Favorite Food & Beverage Spotlight Film, Favorite Documentary Showcase Film, Favorite Actress and Favorite Actor. Each winner will be presented a large format collectible bottle of wine from one of the festival’s Vintner Circle members. Additionally, the winners of the Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature will each receive $10,000 courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley.
“We are thrilled to be sharing with our audiences another diverse set of expertly-crafted real and imagined stories at the upcoming 8th annual Napa Valley Film Festival,” said Executive & Artistic Director Marc Lhormer. “Once again, we are pleased to see strong representation of female filmmakers, with the number growing each year. We look forward to hosting all the wonderful filmmakers as our Artists-in-Residence this year in beautiful Napa Valley.”
NARRATIVE FEATURES COMPETITION
- Are You Glad I’m Here – 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. West Coast Premiere
- Ask for Jane – 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. West Coast Premiere
- Cold Brook – Ted and Hilde, two ordinary men who share an extraordinary experience one evening, embark on an adventure to help a stranger find home while placing their own homes and everything they take for granted at risk. Starring William Fichtner, Kim Coates, Harold Perrineau, Robin Weigert, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. Directed by William Fichtner. West Coast Premiere
- Grace – 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
- Only Humans – 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
- Spare Room – 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
- Tomorrow – 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 – 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
- You Can Choose Your Family – 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. California Premiere
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES COMPETITION
- Afghan Cycles – Following a new generation of young Afghan women cyclists, Afghan Cyclesuses 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. These women ride despite cultural barriers, despite infrastructure, and despite death threats, embracing the power and freedom that comes with the sport. Directed by Sarah Menzies. Napa Valley Premiere
- Cancer Rebellion – 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 byHernan Barangan. World Premiere
- A Fatherless Generation – 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. In search of building a new relationship with his father, Cheney struggles to find the strength to overcome his own fears and move beyond his traumatic childhood. Directed by Nathan Cheney. Northern California Premiere
- Father’s Kingdom – 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 – Strap in for a fascinating tour of a slice of Silicon Valley history most people have never heard of, General Magic is a tale of how great vision and epic failure can change the world. Directed by Matthew Maude and Sarah Kerruish. California Premiere
- The Interpreters – 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. California Premiere
- TransMilitary – 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
- The Trouble with Wolves – 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
- Up to Snuff – 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