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The Upside
The Upside

The seventh annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) returns this fall with its five-day festival showcasing the year’s best new independent films from November 8 to 12, 2017.  The festival’s official opening night film is The Weinstein Company’s The Upside, directed by Neil Berger and starring Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman and Kevin Hart. Closing the festival will be the Molly’s Game, directed by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jessica Chastain, Kevin Costner and Idris Elba in the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.

This year’s line-up of Celebrity Tributes that salute the highest levels of cinematic achievement includes Charles Krug Legendary Filmmaker Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, The Intern), Raymond Vineyards Trailblazer Michael Shannon (The Current War, The Shape of Water), and Spotlight Tribute honoree Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name; The Shape of Water). New this year, The Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch Humanitarian Tribute will be presented to Nikki Reed (Twilight, Ian Somerhalder Foundation) and Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries, Ian Somerhalder Foundation). The Celebrity Tributes program will take place on Thursday, November 9 at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville and will include video highlight reels and intimate on-stage conversations with Access Hollywood’s Natalie Morales.

In addition to the Celebrity Tributes program, Will Ferrell (Anchorman; Daddy’s Home 2) will be honored with the Caldwell Vineyards Maverick Tribute on Friday, November 10, and the first annual Rising Star Showcase at Materra | Cunat Vineyards on Saturday, November 11 will honor a handful of young talent including Ana de Armas (War Dogs; Blade Runner 2049), Odeya Rush, (Lady Bird, Goosebumps), Austin Stowell (Battle of the Sexes, Bridge of Spies), Gregg Sulkin (Runaways, Faking It) and Alex Wolff (My Friend Dahmer; Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle).

NVFF will kick off with their Sneak Preview Night on Tuesday, November 7 with a special presentation of Fox Searchlight Pictures’ The Shape of Water. The film, directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer and Michael Stuhlbarg, is an other-worldly tale of Elisa whose life is changed forever when she and a co-worker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment at the hidden high-security government laboratory where they work.

The festival will also play host to an incredible selection of films, including many of this year’s award-contenders, such as:

78/52 – (IFC) An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), the “man behind the curtain,” and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema. Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe.
Call Me By Your Name – (Sony Pictures Classics) In 1983, the son of an American professor is enamored by the graduate student who comes to study and live with his family in their northern Italian home. Together, they share an unforgettable summer full of music, food, and romance that will forever change them. Directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg. Michael Stuhlbarg is expected to attend.
Chappaquiddick – (Entertainment Studios) Ted Kennedy’s life and political career become derailed in the aftermath of a fatal car accident in 1969 that claims the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne. Directed by John Curran and starring Jason Clarke, Bruce Dern, Ed Helms and Kate Mara.
Crown Heights – (Amazon Studios) When Colin Warner is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend Carl King devotes his life to proving Colin’s innocence. Directed by Matt Ruskin and starring Nnamdi Asomugha and Lakeith Stanfield. Nnamdi Asomugha is expected to attend.
The Current War – (The Weinstein Company) The dramatic story of the cutthroat race between electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system would power the modern world. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Shannon and Katherine Waterston. Michael Shannon is expected to attend.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool – (Sony Pictures Classics) A romance sparks between a young actor and a Hollywood leading lady. Directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Jamie Bell and Annette Bening.
I, Tonya – (Neon) Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises among the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the sport is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes. Directed by Craig Gillespie and starring Allison Janney, Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan.
LA 92 – (NatGeo) A look at the events that led up to the 1992 uprising in Los Angeles following the Rodney King beating by the police. Directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin.
The Leisure Seeker – (Sony Pictures Classics) A runaway couple go on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call The Leisure Seeker, traveling from Boston to The Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West. They recapture their passion for life and their love for each other on a road trip that provides revelation and surprise right up to the very end. Directed by Paolo Virzì and starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.

The rest of the NVFF film line-up is as follows:

Core Competitions

Narrative Features:

American Folk, Directed by David Heinz
The Boy Downstairs, Directed by Sophie Brooks
The House of Tomorrow, Directed by Peter Livolsi
I Can I Will I Did, Directed by Nadine Truong
People You May Know, Directed by Shewin Shilati
The Sounding, Directed by Catherine Eaton
Stuck, Directed by Michael Berry
Tater Tot & Patton, Directed by Andrew Kightlinger
The Year of Spectacular Men, Directed by Lea Thompson

Documentary Features:

ACORN and the Firestorm, Directed by Reuben Atlas and Samuel D. Pollard
Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise, Directed by Jennifer Townsend
Coyote, Directed by Thomas Simmons
A Fine Line, Directed by Joanna James
The Gateway Bug, Directed by Johanna B. Kelly
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies, Directed by Amanda Ladd-Jones
Mighty Ground, Directed by Delila Vallot
Skid Row Marathon, Directed by Mark Hayes
The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot

The Lounge


Amanda & Jack Go Glamping, Directed by Brandon Dickerson
Class Rank, Directed by Eric Stoltz
Coup d’etat, Directed by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse
Entanglement, Directed by Jason James
A Happening of Monumental Proportions, Directed by Judy Greer
Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town, Directed by Christian Papierniak
Life Hack, Directed by Sloan Copeland
Quest, Directed by Santiago Rizzo
The Relationtrip, Directed by Renée Felice Smith and C.A. Gabriel

Special Presentations

40 Years in the Making – The Magic Music Movie, Directed by Lee Aronsohn
The Ataxian, Directed by Zack Bennett and Kevin Schlanser
Back to Burgundy, Directed by Cédric Klapisch
Bernard and Huey, Directed by Dan Mirvish
Breakable You, Directed by Andrew Wagner
California Typewriter, Directed by Doug Nichol
Constructing Albert, Directed by Laura Collado and Jim Loomis
Dog Years, Directed by Adam Rifkin
Don’t Shoot the Zebra Pony, Directed by Kathryn Lauritzen
Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, Directed by Leslie Iwerks
Fermented, Directed by Jon Cianfrani
Food Evolution, Directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution, Directed by Jamie Redford
Liyana, Directed by Aaron Kopp and Amanda Kopp
Man In Red Bandana, Directed by Matthew Weiss
Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen, Directed by Rasmus Dinesen
New Chefs on the Block, Directed by Dustin Harrison-Atlas
Poisoning Paradise, Directed by Keely Shaye Brosnan
Rebels On Pointe, Directed by Bobbi Jo Hart
Served Like a Girl, Directed by Lysa Heslov
Taming Wild: A Girl and a Mustang, Directed by Elsa Sinclair
To the Edge of the Sky, Directed by Todd Wider and Jedd Wider
Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, Directed by Anna Chai, Nari Kye


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