BWR Press Release



Festival to showcase films starring Maude Apatow, Ashanti, Ellen Burstyn, Asa Butterfield, Giancarlo Esposito, Amy Madigan, Zosia Mamet, Dash Mihok, Nick Offerman, Lou Diamond Phillips, Lakeith Stanfield, Usher and more

Napa, California (August 15, 2017) – The 7th annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF), scheduled to take place November 8 – 12, today announced its Narrative and Documentary Feature Film lineups in core competition. The members of the jury, as well as the complete program of approximately 120 films, including features out-of-competition, features in the festival’s adventurous Lounge program, special presentations, sneak previews of award season contenders, and narrative and documentary shorts and short features, 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 break out sessions with industry leaders as well as social and networking opportunities at special events throughout the festival.

In partnership with Screencraft, NVFF launched an inaugural Screenplay Competition this summer, and the winner and runner up of the contest will also participate in the AIR Program. Screencraft has invited prestigious screenwriters Jim Rash (The Descendants) and Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married) to attend NVFF as members of this year’s festival faculty and mentors of the AIR Program. Additional faculty members for this year include acclaimed writer Lee Aronsohn; Gabrielle Carteris (President of SAG-AFTRA); producers Nicolas Gonda and Christine Vachon; indie film distributor Kevin Iwashina; documentary directors Leslie Iwerks, Jamie Redford and Jason Wise; Dan Mirvish (filmmaker and Slamdance Co-Founder); Nick Soares (CEO of GoDigital). Additional festival faculty members will be announced soon.

At this year’s Awards Ceremony, Juried and Audience Awards will be presented on Saturday, November 11 at the Uptown Theatre in Napa. Juried Awards, decided by three jurors on each of the five juries, include Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Lounge Feature and Best Lounge Short (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 Short Feature, 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’re excited about the creative storytelling, diverse story lines, and inspirational themes represented in the narrative and documentary features in our core competition films this year,” said Marc Lhormer, NVFF Co-Founder and Artistic Director. “We look forward to hosting these talented filmmakers for the seventh installment of our unique Artists-in-Residence Program at Meadowood Napa Valley and introducing them and their films to our appreciative audiences.”


⦁ American Folk – Two strangers, both folk musicians stranded in California, embark on a road trip to New York in the days following 9/11. Starring Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth. Directed by David Heinz. Northern California Premiere.

⦁ The Boy Downstairs – A young woman is forced to reflect on a past relationship when she inadvertently moves into her ex-boyfriend’s apartment building. Starring Zosia Mamet and Matthew Shear. Directed by Sophie Brooks. Napa Premiere.

⦁ The House of Tomorrow – The House of Tomorrow conveys the incredible story of futurist, architect, and inventor R. Buckminster through one teen’s quest to join a punk bank and survive high school. Starring Maude Apatow, Ellen Burstyn, Asa Butterfield, Nick Offerman, Alex Wolff. Directed by Peter Livolsi. Napa Premiere.

⦁ I Can I Will I Did – Ben, a dejected young man in the foster system, finds himself immobilized after a horrible accident. His recovery process is slow until he meets a fellow patient at the hospital who breathes hope into his life and introduces him to her grandfather, Taekwondo Master Kang. Starring Mike Faist, Ik Jo Kang, Ellie Lee. Directed by Nadine Truong. Northern California Premiere

⦁ People You May Know – People You May Know follows Jed, a 30-something introvert who has managed to abstain from social media, until he realizes that the life he can fake is much more interesting than the life he actually leads. Starring Nicholas Rutherford, Halston Sage, Kaily Smith Westbrook, Nick Thune and Usher. Directed by Sherwin Shilati. Napa Premiere.

⦁ The Sounding – On a remote island off the coast of Maine, Liv, after years of silence, weaves a unique language out of Shakespeare’s words. A driven neurologist, brought to the island to protect her, commits her to a psychiatric hospital where she fights for her voice and her freedom. Starring Catherine Eaton, Teddy Sears and Harris Yulin. Directed by Catherine Eaton. Napa Premiere.

⦁ Stuck – A New York City subway train stops in the tunnel beneath the city with six complete strangers stuck inside the rear car. The emotions of the trapped, frustrated passengers explode, as the subway car becomes a kind of magical, musical, conduit cell. Starring Ashanti, Omar Chaparro, Arden Cho, Giancarlo Esposito and Amy Madigan. Directed by Michael Berry. Northern California Premiere.

⦁ Tater Tot & Patton – A wayward millennial is sent into isolation on a South Dakota ranch, derailing her Uncle’s alcoholic spiral and forcing him to face his consuming grief. Starring Jessica Rothe, Forrest Weber and Bates Wilder. Directed by Andrew Kightlinger. Northern California Premiere

⦁ Quest – Mills, an abused 12-year-old graffiti addict, and Tim, a humble middle school teacher, form an uneasy friendship when Tim recognizes that Mills poor behavior is merely a cry for help. Tim is willing to sacrifice his job, reputation and relationships in order to win the child’s trust. Starring Betsy Brandt, Dash Mihok, Lou Diamond Phillips and Lakeith Stanfield. Directed by Santiago Rizzo. West Coast Premiere


⦁ ACORN and the Firestorm – ACORN, America’s largest grassroots community organizing group, became a major player in the 2008 presidential election that resulted in Barack Obama’s victory. Big businesses, Republicans, and Right-wing activists took issue with the group and attempted to strike back. The ensuing political drama has served as a prescient foreshadowing of today’s political climate. Directed by Reuben Atlas and Samuel D. Pollard. California Premiere

⦁ Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise – Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise investigates themes of female friendship, personal freedom, harassment, rape and empowerment. Our guides on this journey are female and male filmgoers who, in 1991, wrote letters sharing their thoughts and feelings about Thelma & Louise. They revisit their original impressions, comparing them with how they feel today. Directed by Jennifer Townsend. Northern California Premiere

⦁ Coyote – Coyote documents the inspiring story of legendary American sailor, Mike Plant. Despite all that he accomplishes in sailing, Plant’s heart is never satisfied. His final creation, Coyote, a radically designed vessel built on the edge of speed and safety, symbolizes Plant’s course in life: running before the wind, always with an eye to the sea. Directed by Thomas Simmons. Northern California Premiere

⦁ A Fine Line – A Fine Line explores why on 6% of head chefs and restaurant owners are women, when traditionally women have always held the central role in the kitchen and influenced many of the greatest male chefs. This opens a dialogue on gender inequality, motherhood and career balance, and how this inequity in the kitchen is representative of industries across the board. Directed by Joanna James. West Coast Premiere

⦁ The Gateway Bug – Over 2 billion people on earth eat insects for protein. The Gateway Bug explores how changing daily eating habits can feed humanity in an uncertain age, one meal at a time. Directed by Johanna B. Kelly. Napa Premiere.

⦁ Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies – The undisclosed story of Alan Ladd Jr., producer and former 20th Century Fox chairman, the movie mogul who green lit films such as Star Wars, Blade Runner and Alien. Directed by Amanda Ladd-Jones (Ladd’s daughter). Northern California Premiere

⦁ Mighty Ground – With the help of unlikely friendships along the way, a homeless songwriter tries to kick a hard-core crack addiction and escape the grisly streets of skid row via his love of music. Directed by Delila Vallot. Northern California Premiere

⦁ Skid Row Marathon – A criminal court judge starts a running club comprised of homeless drug addicts, a recovering single mom and a paroled murderer on L.A.’s notorious skid row. As they train together to run in international marathons, they learn to dream big as they are re-acquainted with their own dignity. Directed by Mark Hayes. Northern California Premiere

⦁ The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin – The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin honors beloved storyteller Armistead Maupin, and chronicles his evolution from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay rights pioneer whose novels inspired millions to re-claim their lives. Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot. Napa Premiere.

About The Napa Valley Film Festival
The ultimate celebration of film, food and wine, NVFF lights up wine country at the most colorful time of year, November 8-12. NVFF presents over 120 new independent films and studio sneak previews in 9 beautiful venues throughout the Valley. Attendees interact with over 300 filmmakers at screenings, and enjoy wine tastings, culinary demos, winemaker dinners, Celebrity Tributes, the Awards Ceremony and Festival Gala, Opening and Closing Night parties and more.  The Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Napa, California. Visit www.nvff.org for more information or call 707.226.7500

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Presenting Sponsor: Lexus Short Films
Major Sponsor: Meadowood Napa Valley
Leading Sponsors: Stella Artois, Charles Krug Winery, Westin Verasa Napa, Raymond Vineyards, Cognition, Colorzone, AVMS, DoNapa
Supporting Sponsors: Freemark Abbey, Whole Foods Market, Mattera|Cunat Family Vineyards
Media Sponsors: Travel + Leisure, Wine Spectator, Variety, NCM

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