The 5th Annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF), scheduled to take place November 11-15, has announced its Narrative and
Documentary feature film line-ups for juried competition. The complete program of approximately 125 films, including special presentations, sneak previews
of award season contenders, narrative and documentary shorts, and short features, as well as jury members, will be announced soon.
Directors of the Narrative and Documentary feature films in competition will participate in NVFF’s unique Artists-in-Residence Program presented in
partnership with the incomparable Meadowood Napa Valley. Directors will stay at the luxury resort for six nights during the festival and are treated to
special events and workshops with their competition group and industry mentors. Meadowood Napa Valley will also award $10,000 to the winning filmmakers in
both the Narrative and Documentary competition categories at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony on Sunday, November 15.
“We experienced nearly a 50% jump in submissions this year, making it just that much more difficult to whittle down to our 10 narrative and 10 documentary
feature films for our core competition,” said NVFF Executive & Artistic Director Marc Lhormer. “We look forward to sharing these compelling real and
imagined stories with our audiences in November, and to supporting these innovative filmmakers and getting to know them during their tenure with us as
Artists-in-Residence at Meadowood.”
NVFF has also announced that former USA Today Chief Film Critic Claudia Puig will be joining the
festival team. She will serve as a consulting programming director and industry liaison for the balance of 2015, and then take on full responsibilities of
program director at the beginning of the 2016 festival planning cycle.
“After 15 years as a film critic, I became increasingly intrigued by the film festival world and what makes compelling film programming,” said Puig. “Some
of the best and most original movies I’ve seen have made their debut at film festivals. Joining the Napa staff is especially exciting – only in its fifth
year, the Napa Valley Film Festival is growing by leaps and bounds with its ambitious, forward-thinking and innovative programming, panels and events. The
combination of film, wine and a gorgeous location made this an easy choice for my new career path, and I look forward to working with Marc, Brenda and the
entire NVFF team.”
Narrative Competition Section
Films in the Narrative competition section feature actors Alexis Bledel, Jamie Chung, Eliza Dushku, Lyndsy Fonseca, Bryan Greenberg, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy
Jordan, Josh McDermitt, Kal Penn and Jason Sudeikis, among others. The 10 films selected include:
– When humanity is mysteriously wiped out, clairvoyant 14 year-old Astraea is led by her older brother through the snowy landscapes of a post-apocalyptic
America. Astraea chronicles their trek to find and connect with other survivors along the way to the far northeast where their parents are
believed to still be alive. Directed by Kristjan Thor.
– Morgan seeks out a new perspective and lifestyle after receiving a severe life-threatening medical diagnosis. After meeting Jordan, an artist whose
avenues for personal expression far transcend her conservative and stale world, the two spend her last months on an adventurous journey of self-discovery.
Directed by James Bird.
“It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong“
– After a chance encounter in Hong Kong during which an ex-pat and a tourist seem to strike a romantic spark, Ruby and Josh are blessed with an equally
coincidental second date. Unfortunately, the two seem to have found the perfect connections at the most inopportune times. Starring Bryan Greenberg and
Jamie Chung. Directed by Emily Ting.
“Jane Wants a Boyfriend“
– Jane, an aspiring costume designer on the autism spectrum, recruits her sister to help her find her first boyfriend. As she challenges the obstacles of
her daily life in seeking a romantic connection, often failing, she also shows those closest to her that everyone deserves a chance at love. Starring Eliza
Dushku. Directed by William Sullivan.
“Life in Color”
– Mary, a failed nanny, and Homer, a floundering comedian, grapple with the harsh realities that preclude them from the success that appears to come so
easily to others. The unlikely duo realizes that they can overcome their lack of home, job and purpose if they face defeat together. Starring Josh
McDermitt and Katharine Emmer. Directed by Katharine Emmer.
“Lola’s Last Letter“
– While completing her community service, a young woman continues to deal with the emotional trauma left over by the mistake that sent her to prison. As
Lola’s camera captures details of her daily routine, the reason behind her resistance to moving on is revealed. Starring Valerie Brandy. Directed by
“Moments of Clarity“
Two unlikely friends, Claire and Danielle, elude their protective parents and embark on a quest to repair an antique camera. A series of events lead to
their adventure extending beyond their original plans, ultimately helping them both to better understand the worlds from which they had seemingly escaped.
Starring Lyndsy Fonseca and Kristin Wallace. Directed by Stev Elam.
– Twelve diverse actors portray the various stages of Tim and Emily’s anthologized marriage. Each pair uniquely captures the notable highs and lows that
take place throughout the span of a life-long relationship, making their story highly relatable to couples everywhere. Starring Alexis Bledel, Zosia Mamet,
Thomas Mann, Kal Penn, Jeremy Jordan, Phylicia Rashad and many more. Directed by Eric Weber and Sean Devaney.
“The King of New Orleans“
– Larry’s story is chronicled from the passenger seat of his taxi cab. His regular commuters and new riders represent the various walks of life in the
faded and haunted beauty of New Orleans. The compelling bond he creates with travelers and locals alike is forever changed by the heartbreaking effects of
Hurricane Katrina. Directed by Allen Frederic.
“Tumbledown“– Hannah, the widow of an acclaimed folk musician, engages a New York professor to assist her in writing her late husband’s biography. Her emotions are
thrown for a loop when he begins investigating the circumstances surrounding the untimely death. Starring Rebecca Hall and Jason Sudeikis. Directed by Sean
Documentary Competition Section
“A Place to Stand”
– Jimmy Santiago Baca was a seventeen-year-old petty thief and drug dealer when he was sentenced to five years in Arizona State Prison, one of the
deadliest prisons in America. Baca began his incarceration violent, angry and illiterate. Against all odds, he taught himself how to read and write,
discovering a passion for poetry that ultimately saved his life. Directed by Daniel Glick.
“Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play”
– Based on the book by anthropologist John Fox, “The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game,” Bounce takes us to the far reaches of the globe
and the deep recesses of our ancient past to answer the question: why do we play ball? Equal parts science, history and visual essay, the film follows the
bouncing ball from animal play through professional sports to video games, exploring why we play and what play says about who we are and where we are going
as a civilization. Directed by Jerome Thelia.
“Code: Debugging the Gap”
asks the questions: why is there a dearth of female and minority software engineers, what would society gain from having more women and people of color
coding, and how do we get there? Code highlights breakthrough efforts that are producing a more diverse set of computer programmers. Directed by
Robin Hauser Reynolds.
“King Georges”– Fiery French chef Georges Perrier is on a crusade to save his world-renowned 40-year-old Philadelphia restaurant, Le Bec-Fin, from closing. Times and
tastes have changed – what was once cutting edge is now out of favor. “King Georges” is the story of a determined, tragi-comic figure, and his fight
to keep culinary traditions alive. Directed by Erika Frankel.
“Life Under Siege: Exploring Gaza’s Secret Tunnels”
“Life Under Siege”
is the story of a U.S.-Palestinian family divided by the siege on the Gaza Strip, and reunited under the cloak of the Arab Spring. Director Miriam Abu
Sharkh’s travels to Gaza investigates the smuggling tunnels to Egypt, and attempts to forge relationships with her father and half siblings, whom she is
only able to visit by result of monumental social movements. Directed by Miriam Abu Sharkh.
Despite being born without arms, Jessica Cox overcame both physical and emotional challenges to become fully independent. She learned to type with her
toes, drive a car with her feet, and amazingly, fly an airplane. “Right Footed” follows Jessica as she transforms from a motivational speaker to a
mentor, and eventually into a leading advocate for people with disability. Directed by Nick Spark.
“Romeo is Bleeding”
Donte Clark’s poetic voice was honed on the violent street corners of his struggling city of Richmond, California. Rather than succumb to the everyday
pressures to just survive, Clark uses his artistic perspective – and a good dose of inspiration from the Bard – to create a personalized production of
Romeo & Juliet as one man’s attempt to save his city from itself. Directed by Jason Zeldes.
“Since: The Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103” –
When a terrorist-planted bomb destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988, 270 lives were ended and a heartbreaking new reality
for thousands of relatives begun. Since follows the victims’ families on a 23-year quest for justice and the truth. Directed by Phil Furey.
“The Family Next Door”
He was the star Yale football player who went on to become an attorney. She was the beautiful cheerleader who became a loving, caring teacher. Their genes
were perfect to start a dream family. Four children and seventeen years later, they are the family that no one wants to be: the family affected by autism,
with drastically altered expectations, and yet with patience, grace, determination and unconditional love. Directed by Michael Messner and Barry Reese.
“The Uncondemned” –
In 1997, a mismatched group of underdog lawyers embarked on a quixotic quest to have rape classified as an international war crime for the first time. “The Uncondemned” is the story of their fight for the first conviction and the story of the heroic Rwandan women who risked a wave of witness
assassinations to testify.