NAPA, Calif., November 16, 2017 – The Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) just wrapped up its seventh annual festival on November 12, 2017. We came, we drank, we ate and we watched some of the absolute best independent films available.
At each annual fest, the current year’s most outstanding new independent films are washed down with the best food and wine the Valley. During this year’s five-day Napa Valley Film Festival, guests experienced 100 films, 150 wineries and 50 chefs, all the very best that Napa Valley has to offer. The recent northern California wildfires did not affect this year’s festival. Thankfully, it went off as planned.
Standout films such as The Upside, Entanglement, Quest, The Leisure Seeker, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, 78/52 and Molly’s Game were liked by the festival-goers as well as the judges. Be sure to add these tremendous films to your must-see list this holiday season.
Juried Awards Included:
- Best Narrative Feature presented by Italics Winegrowers. The $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley, goes to Stuck.
- Best Documentary Feature presented by John Anthony Vineyards. The $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley, goes to Skid Row Marathon.
- Jury Award for Best Screenplay, presented by Darioush, goes to The House of Tomorrow.
- Jury Award for Best Lounge Feature, presented by Duckhorn Portfolio, goes to Quest.
- Filmmaking, presented by Castellucci Napa Valley, goes to The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.
Audience Awards Included:
- Favorite Actor, presented by Tamber Bey Vineyards, goes to Gregory Kasyan for his work in the film Quest.
- Favorite Actress, presented by Davis Estates, goes to Olivia Holt for her work in the film Class Rank.
- Favorite Documentary Feature, presented by The Hess Collection, goes to Skid Row Marathon.
- Honorable Mention goes to 40 years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie
- Favorite Narrative Feature, presented by VGS Chateau Potelle, goes to Quest.
- Honorable Mention goes to Stuck.
“We applaud our award winners and thank all of this year’s filmmakers for sharing their beautiful stories with us,” said Festival Co-Founder and Artistic Director Marc Lhormer. “It has been a tough road getting to this year’s festival, but what a perfect way to celebrate great storytelling in all its forms and to showcase the strength and resilience of our Napa Valley community.”
Each of the festival winners received a large format wine bottle from one of the festival’s esteemed Vintner Circle winery partners. The two winners of the 18 films that vied for the title of Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature, as determined by the respective juries, were awarded $10,000, presented by Meadowood Napa Valley.
“We commend the festival for selecting a group of diverse and beautiful films. It has been our honor and pleasure to do our part to support this fantastic festival,” said Gren Wells, Jonathan Robinson and Dierk Sindermann of the Documentary Shorts Jury. Juror Lissa Gibbs also added, “In addition to the strength of the individual works, we were incredibly impressed as a jury by the truly outstanding programming. It was reassuring to know that each film submitted was so expertly considered and curated.”
Wine and Party Winners (personal opinion)
One of the things that differentiates the Napa Valley Film Festival from others is, of course, the world class wine and food that is expertly integrated into nearly every aspect of the festival. There are wine and food experiences a plenty over the five days.
The St. Helena Wine Pavilion was top notch this year. They featured tiny, family owned producers along side fabulous artisan nibbles. Standout wineries included:
- Hope & Grace (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir)
- Lang & Reed (Cabernet Franc)
- MTGA Wines (Riesling & Pinot Noir)
- Jericho Canyon Vineyard (Cabernet Sauvignon & Sauvignon Blanc)
- Robert Biale Vineyards (Zinfandel)
- Conn Creek Winery (Cabernet Sauvignon)
- Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery (Sauvignon Blanc & Merlot)
- Longmeadow Ranch (Rose)
The opening night party was held at Italics Winery up in the hills to the east of downtown Napa on a crazy weather evening where it decided to pour down sideways rain. The rain did not keep the party-goers from having a good time inside the cool Italics wine cave. Tasty food bites, delicious wines and even a silent disco were featured. The food stand out had to be the gourmet mac and cheese station.
This year’s Festival Gala was held at CIA at Copia (Culinary Institute of America) in downtown Napa. This event is the highlight of the festival. Guest don their best attire to see and be seen at this grand affair. Wine is only the beginning here. The night includes wizard-like mixologists, crafty brews, mind-altering wines and delectable gastronomy.
The Closing Night party also featured wine tastings, culinary delights in the form of food trucks and tasting stations set up throughout the property. Guests mingled around Materra Cunat Family Vineyards’ wine making facility taking in its tall ceilings, red mood lighting, and live band/dance floor.
These five days of the Napa Valley Film Festival represent the very best that Napa Valley has to offer. Anyone that is a fan of film, especially art-driven or cause-driven film, needs to put this festival on their list to attend. The 2018 NVFF will be held November 7 – 11, 2018. See their website for details.