The Napa Valley Film Festival returns this fall with its five-day festival showcasing the year’s best new independent films from November 7 to 11 in Napa, California. The eighth edition of the Festival will kick off with the Sneak Preview Night on Tuesday, November 6 with a special presentation of The Front Runner, directed by Jason Reitman and starring Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons and Alfred Molina. The film is the story of American Senator Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1988 as it is derailed when he is caught in a scandalous love affair.
The festival’s official Opening Night film on Wednesday, November 7 is Green Book, directed by Peter Farrelly and starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini. In the film, Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans.
Closing the festival on Sunday, November 11 is HBO Films’ Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind. Directed by Marina Zenovich, the documentary gives an intimate look into the life and work of the revered master comedian and actor, Robin Williams.
Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix, Ant-Man and the Wasp) will receive this year’s Charles Krug “Legendary Actor” honor at this year’s Celebrity Tributes program that salutes the highest levels of cinematic achievement. The Celebrity Tributes program will take place on Thursday, November 8 at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, and will include video highlight reels and intimate on-stage conversations with Access Hollywood’s Natalie Morales. Additional honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition, NVFF will be honoring the esteemed alumni of The Groundlings Theatre and School with the Miner Family Winery “Legacy Ensemble” award on Friday, November 9. Accepting on behalf of The Groundlings are Stephanie Courtney (Progressive Insurance’s Flo), Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live, Single Parents), Laraine Newman (Saturday Night Live, Coneheads), Cheri Oteri (Saturday Night Live, Scary Movie) and Julia Sweeney (Saturday Night Live, It’s Pat). Later that evening, Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own) will be honored with the Davis Estates “Visionary Tribute” following a screening of the documentary This Changes Everything.
The second annual Rising Star Showcase presented by Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards on Saturday, November 10 will honor a handful of young talent including Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story, The Nun), Billy Magnussen (Maniac, Game Night), Camila Mendes (Riverdale, The New Romantic), Rosa Salazar (Alita: Battle Angel, Maze Runner: The Death Cure), Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One, X-Men: Dark Phoenix) and Alexandra Shipp (Love, Simon, X-Men: Dark Phoenix).
AWARD SEASON CONTENDERS AND SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
A Private War (Aviron Pictures) – One of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time, Marie Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontline of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless. Directed by Matthew Heineman and starring Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Stanley Tucci and Tom Hollander.
At Eternity’s Gate (CBS Films) – A look at the life of painter Vincent van Gogh during the time he lived in Aries and Auvers-sur-Oise, France. Directed by Julian Schnabel and starring Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Mads Mikkelsen and Oscar Isaac.
Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) – Capernaum tells the story of Zain, a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the “crime” of giving him life. Directed by Nadine Labaki and starring Michel Merkt and Khaled Mouzanar.
Devil’s Garden – Devil’s Garden is a national forest treasure in the far northeast corner of California, and home to the last sustainable herd of wild horses in this state. However, they are in danger of becoming completely wiped away because of profit taking entities on our public lands. Directed by Victoria Bergqvist and Scott Powers.
Do You Trust This Computer? – Do You Trust This Computer? explores the promises and perils of our new era. Will A.I. usher in an age of unprecedented potential, or prove to be our final invention? Directed by Chris Paine.
High-Sensitive Youth in the Horse-Heart-Space – What happens when adopted and foster children and rescued horses, cast off by their owners, meet? This documentary explores the friendship between two beings so different and yet so alike. A friendship where both sides long to connect their heart-space. Directed by Jolanda Ellenberger.
Never Look Away (Sony Pictures Classics) – German artist Kurt Barnert has escaped East Germany and now lives in West Germany but is tormented by his childhood under the Nazis and the GDR-regime. Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and starring Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch and Paula Beer.
Pick of the Litter (IFC) – Pick of the Litter follows a litter of puppies from the moment they’re born and begin their quest to become guide dogs for the blind. Directed by Don Hardy Jr. and Dana Nachman.
Sharkwater Extinction – Sharkwater Extinction is a thrilling, action adventure journey that follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the billion-dollar illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it. Directed by Rob Stewart.
Sgt Stubby: An American Hero (Fun Academy Motion Pictures) – The true story of a stray dog who joins his new master on the battlefields of the First World War. For his valorous actions, Sgt. Stubby is still recognized as the most decorated dog in American history. Directed by Richard Lanni and starring Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gerard Depardieu.
The Biggest Little Farm (Neon) – Documentarian John Chester and his wife Molly work to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. Directed by John Chester.
Uncrushable – Uncrushable tells the story of the Northern California fires through the eyes of those most affected in the area. Victims who lost homes or businesses, first responders, chefs and winemakers share their harrowing accounts throughout the film, as a fallen community begins to rebuild through the amazing help of its neighbors, chefs and friends. Directed by Tyler Florence.
Valley of the Boom (National Geographic Channel) – A look at the tech boom of the 1990s in Silicon Valley. Directed by Matthew Carnahan, produced by Arianna Huffington and starring Bradley Whitford, Steve Zahn and Lamorne Morris.
Vox Lux (Neon) – An unusual set of circumstances brings unexpected success to a pop star. Directed by Brady Corbet and starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Willem Dafoe.
Wheelman (Netflix) – A getaway driver for a bank robbery realizes he has been double crossed and races to find out who betrayed him. Directed by Jeremy Rush and starring Frank Grillo.
The rest of the NVFF film line-up is as follows:
Are You Glad I’m Here, Directed by Noor Gharzeddine
Ask For Jane, Directed by Rachel Carey
Cold Brook, Directed by William Fichtner
Grace, Directed by Devin Adair
Only Humans, Directed by Vanessa Knutsen
Spare Room, Directed by Jenica Bergere
Tomorrow, Directed by Martha Pinson
When We Grow Up, Directed by Zorinah Juan
You Can Choose Your Family, Directed by Miranda Bailey
A Fatherless Generation, Directed by Nathan Cheney
Afghan Cycles, Directed by Sarah Menzies
Cancer Rebellion, Directed by Hernan Barangan (World Premiere)
Father’s Kingdom, Directed by Lenny Feinberg
General Magic, Directed by Matthew Maude and Sarah Kerruish
The Interpreters, Directed by Sofian Khan and Andres Caballero
The Trouble with Wolves, Directed by Collin Monda
TransMilitary, Directed by Gabriel Silverman, Co-Directed by Fiona Dawson
Up to Snuff, Directed by Mark Maxey
Madness, Farewell, Directed by Benjamin Font (World Premiere)
Ordinary Days, Directed by Jordan Canning, Kris Booth and Renuka Jeyapalan
Ride, Directed by Alex Ranarivelo
Summer ‘03, Directed by Becca Gleason
The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova, Directed by Zack Bernbaum
The Long Dumb Road, Directed by Hannah Fidell
Thunder Road, Directed by Jim Cummings
We Are Boats, Directed by James Bird (North American Premiere)
White Tide: The Legend of Culebra, Directed by Theo Love
Accidental Climber, Directed by Steven Oritt (World Premiere)
Bias, Directed by Robin Hauser
Hesburgh, Directed by Patrick Creadon
Hurley, Directed by Derek Dodge
Life in the Doghouse, Directed by Ron Davis
My Indiana Muse, Directed by Ric Serena and Jennifer Serena
On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Nani and Popi, Directed by Brandon Gross and Skyler Gross
Science Fair, Directed by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster
The Price of Free, Directed by Derek Doneen
The Things We Keep, Directed by Alessandro Cassigoli and Casey Kauffman (North American Premiere)
This Changes Everything, Directed by Tom Donahue
Turning Point, Directed by James Keach
Unlikely, Directed by Jaye Fenderson and Adam Fenderson (World Premiere)
Food & Beverage Spotlight
Agave: Spirit of a Nation, Directed by Nick Kovacic and Matthew Riggieri
Brewmaster, Directed by Douglas Tirola
Hiro’s Table, Directed by Lynn Hamrick (World Premiere)
Soufra, Directed by Tomas Morgan
ULAM: Main Dish, Directed by Alexandra Cuerdo
The festival will also feature Short Film Programs with 16 Narrative Shorts and 16 Documentary Shorts.