LUCKY GRANDMA directed by Sasie Sealy
LUCKY GRANDMA directed by Sasie Sealy

The 9th annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) scheduled to take place November 13 to 17, 2019, announced its Narrative and Documentary Feature Film lineups in core competition.

The directors of the films in NVFF’s core competition categories will also participate in the festival’s unique Artists-in-Residence Program presented by Meadowood Napa Valley. The residency includes masterclasses and breakout sessions with industry leaders, as well as networking opportunities at special events throughout the festival.

Meadowood Napa Valley will present the winning directors of the Best Narrative and Best Documentary Feature in competition with a $10,000 cash prize at the festival’s Awards Presentation & Reception on Saturday, November 16.

“This year’s curated collection vividly illustrates the vital work of bold visual storytelling that the festival seeks to reward as part of our overall mission,” said CEO Tom Tardio. “We proudly acknowledge and salute the current and emerging generations of filmmakers that enrich audiences through their highly creative and authentic ideas.”

The complete program lineup of approximately 80 films, including Studio Spotlights, Verge, Culinary Cinema, Special Presentations, and Narrative and Documentary Shorts will be announced in early October.

NARRATIVE COMPETITION

Bring Me an Avocado – Fun-loving parents Robin and George have their world turned upside down when a fateful event leaves Robin in a coma. While Robin is in the hospital, George does his best to keep his daughters’ spirits up with the help of family friends. Directed by Maria Mealla and starring Bernardo Peña, Sarah Burkhalter, Molly Ratermann, Candace Roberts.

Here Awhile – Anna returns to Oregon to reconnect with her estranged brother Michael, only to reveal that she has decided to end her life via the Death with Dignity Act due to her terminal illness. Michael tries to convince Anna to continue fighting for her life, while Anna does her best to make her remaining days as fulfilling as possible. Directed by Tim True and starring Anna Camp, Steven Strait, and Joe Lo Truglio. World Premiere

Justine – Struggling single mother Lisa takes a job as a nanny to Justine, an 8-year-old girl with spina bifida and two overbearing parents. While Justine’s parents believe its best to keep Justine isolated at home due to her condition, Lisa tries to form a connection with Justine to find out what her true desires are. Directed by Stephanie Turner and starring Glynn Turman, Darby Stanchfield, Josh Stamberg, Daisy Prescott, and Stephanie Turner. Northern California Premiere

Lucky Grandma – An ornery, chain-smoking Chinese grandmother goes all in at the casino, landing herself on the wrong side of luck. As she attempts to safeguard her newfound fortune, she finds herself in the middle of a gang war set in New York City’s Chinatown. Directed by Sasie Sealy and starring Tsai Chin, Corey Ha, Michael Tow, Woody Fu, Yan Xi, Wai Ching Ho, and Clem Cheung. Northern California Premiere

The Nomads – Amidst the chaos of massive budget cuts and school closures, a young female teacher introduces men’s rugby to an inner-city North Philadelphia high school. Directed by Brandon Eric Kamin and starring Tika Sumpter and Tate Donovan. West Coast Premiere

Run This Town – This is the story of the inner workings of a city seen through the eyes of the interns and assistants that run it. A political aide tries to corral his brash, outspoken boss when a young researcher at a newspaper gets word of a scandal that could make or break both of their careers. Directed by Ricky Tollman and starring Ben Platt, Mena Massoud, Nina Dobrev, Damian Lewis, Jennifer Ehle, and Scott Speedman. West Coast Premiere

Standing Up, Falling Down – Standing Up, Falling Down is a comedy about the unlikely friendship that kindles between a struggling stand-up comedian and a tragically flawed, yet charming and charismatic, dermatologist. Each helps the other find healing, as well as the confidence to face the self-appointed failures in their lives. Directed by Matt Ratner and starring Billy Crystal, Ben Schwartz, Eloise Mumford, Grace Gummer, Caitlin McGee, David Castaneda, Debra Monk, and Jill Hennessy. California Premiere

Stealing School – Tech prodigy April Chen is accused of plagiarism by a teaching assistant and the two must stand trial at a secret academic tribunal to determine if April is still eligible for graduation. In this game of psychological cat and mouse, someone is always one step ahead and nothing is as it seems. Directed by Li Dong and starring Celine Tsai, Jonathan Keltz, Michelle Monteith, Mpho Koaho, Darrin Baker, Jonathan Malen, Matthew Edison, and Vas Saranga. World Premiere

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

I Am Human – Meet the world’s first “cyborgs.” I Am Human follows a quadriplegic, a blind man, an amputee, a bio-hacker, a woman with Parkinson’s, as well as the scientists who help them and one entrepreneur who will stop at nothing on his quest to unlock the human brain. Directed by Taryn Southern and Elena Gaby. West Coast Premiere

Latter Day Jew – Latter Day Jew accompanies H. Alan Scott, a gay former Mormon/converted Jew/cancer survivor/writer-comedian, as he finds his spiritual path and prepares for his Bar Mitzvah at age 34. Directed by Aliza Rosen.

Motherload – Motherload chronicles new mother Liz’s quest to understand and promote the cargo bike movement in a gas-powered, digital, and divided world. Directed by Liz Canning.

The Pollinators – The Pollinators is a cinematic journey around the United States following migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honey bees as they pollinate the flowers that become the fruits, nuts and vegetables we all eat. Directed by Peter Nelson.

The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion – The story of how hip hop changed fashion, leading to the stratospheric and global rise of street wear. The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion is a journey of African American creativity and the limitless possibilities of a cultural movement on a global scale. Directed by Lisa Cortes and Farah X.

The Story of Plastic – The Story of Plastic uncovers the truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling. This film introduces audiences to the heroes and the villains behind one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. Directed by Deia Schlosberg.

This Is My Home – This is My Home follows The Black Donnellys, a band comprised of two Irish immigrant musicians, who embark on an adventure to set a Guinness World Record, playing 60 shows in all 50 US states in just 35 days. Directed by Karl Nickoley. Northern California Premiere

Well Groomed – Well Groomed travels the humorous, visually stunning world of Competitive Creative Dog Grooming alongside the vibrant women transforming their beloved poodles into living sculptures. Directed by Rebecca Stern.

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