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The 2nd Annual Napa Valley Film Festival: Jury Awards and Audience Favorites

The 2nd Annual Napa Valley Film Festival: Jury Awards and Audience Favorites

Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) Co-Founders and Directors Brenda and Marc Lhormer have announced the Jury and Audience Awards for the 2nd annual film festival. Showcasing the best of new independent cinema along with the Napa Valley’s finest food, wine and hospitality, the 2nd annual NVFF, from November 7 – 11, 2012, witnessed a significant increase in attendance over last year’s inaugural festival. Initial estimates range from a 33% to 50% increase; detailed final results will be shared as soon as they are available.

“Our esteemed Jurors and our audiences have recognized a diverse set of cinematic talent,” remarked NVFF Executive and Artistic Director Marc Lhormer. “We are delighted with the response to this year’s Program and look forward to hosting another batch of exceptional films and filmmakers next year.” 

Jury Awards for Narrative Features:

Best Narrative Feature ($10,000 Cash Prize presented by Meadowood Napa Valley; wine from Lail Vineyards)

Future Weather,written and directed by Jenny Deller

Special Jury Award for Cinematography (wine from Beaulieu (BV) Vineyard)

Not Waving but Drowning, Cinematographer Nathan Levine-Haney

Special Jury Award for Acting (wine from Freemark Abbey)

Madeline Zima and Joel David Moore in Stuck, directed by Stuart Acher

Jury Awards for Documentary Films:

Best Documentary Feature (wine from Terlato Family Vineyards)

Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself, co-directed by Tom Bean and Luke Poling

Special Jury Award for Most Promising Documentary Filmmaker (wine from Hill Family Estate)

Matt Day, director ofShape of Things to Come,

Best Documentary Short Subject (wine from Alpha Omega)

The Last Ice Merchant (El Ultimo Hielero), directed by Sandy Patch

Jury Awards for Narrative Short Films:

Best Narrative Short (wine from Chappellet and Fortunati, respectively)

Co-winners: My Name Is Your First Love, written and directed by Rob Richert; The Pact, written and directed by Jason Pugatch

Special Jury Award for Social Impact (wine from Saintsbury)

Put It In a Book, directed by Rodrigo Garcia

Audience Awards:

Favorite Narrative Feature (wine from Behrens Family Winery)

Any Day Now, written and directed by Travis Fine

Favorite Documentary Feature (wine from Peju Province Winery)

Rising From Ashes, directed by T.C. Johnstone

Favorite Documentary Short Subject (wine from Chiarello Family Wines)

Necking, directed by Lindsay Lindenbaum

Favorite Narrative Short (wine from Allora Vineyards)

High Maintenance, written and directed by Shawn Wines

Favorite Lounge Feature (Narrative or Doc) (wine from SHOW from Trinchero Family)

Beware of Mr. Baker, directed by Jay Bulger

Mt. Veeder Peak Performance for Best Acting in a Narrative Feature ($1,000 Cash Prize and wine from Mt. Veeder Appellation)

Alan Cumming inAny Day Now, directed by Travis Fine; Cumming is donating his prize money to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

The 2012 Napa Valley Film Festival Jury consisted of: Jury Co-President Leonard Maltin, respected film critic and historian – perhaps best known for his annual paperback reference “Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide” – currently teaching at USC School of Cinematic Arts; Jury Co-President Joe Carnahan, well-known writer/director of films such as The Grey, Smokin’ Aces, andNarc;  John Horn, Film Editor at the Los Angeles Times, where he has been on staff since 2002 and had previously been on staff at Newsweek and premier magazines; Sydney Levine, having thirty plus years in the film industry including being the first woman in international film distribution at 20th Century Fox; Lisa Schwartz, Executive Vice President of Distribution Operations and Business Development for Sundance Selects and IFC Films; Morrie Warshawski, who has worked in the nonprofit arts and culture sector for over thirty years and formerly served as the Executive Director of Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco; Paul Zaentz, a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who started his movie-making career on the Academy Award winning film Amadeus; Lissa Gibbs, the Executive Director of the Napa Valley College Foundation; T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay, Co-Directors/Co-Editors/Co-Cinematographers of the Oscar-winning documentary, Undefeated, a selection of the 2011 NVFF; Sheila Benson, the Principal Film Critic for the Los Angeles Times from 1981–1991. Affiliated with the National Society of Film Critics and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Sheila has served on juries at film festivals including Berlin, Toronto, and Sundance. Melanie Lynskey, accomplished and versatile actress, originally from New Zealand whose credits include: Win-Win, Up in the Air, The Informant, Away We Go, Flags of Our Fathers, Sweet Home Alabama and her first award-winning role was in Heavenly Creatures with Kate Winslet; Pat Saperstein, Associate Editor of Variety, where she coordinates festival coverage and daily news. Pat has served on juries at several festivals and has been on numerous panels; and Raj Mathai, NBC Bay Area’s news anchor and personality hosted the Awards Ceremony on Closing Night and received a bottle of Mumm Non-Vintage Brut Prestige. Additionally, the Jury Co-Presidents were presented with 3L bottles of wine: Leonard Maltin was given a Duckhorn 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon and Joe Carnahan was given a Cornerstone Cellars 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon.

On Friday, November 9, Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush hosted the Celebrity Tribute Ceremony which was held at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville. NVFF honored James Marsden with the “Trailblazer” Tribute; the actor and singer is known for his roles in 30 Rock, Enchanted, Hairspray, and Robot & Frank, whose upcoming films include Two Guns, opposite Denzel Washington, and playing John F. Kennedy in The Butler. James was also presented with a bottle of Grgich Hills 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. NVFF’s “Spotlight On” Tribute went to the seductive Alan Cumming, who has created indelible roles in The Anniversary Party, Sweet Land, the hit series The Good Wife, and his powerful performance in Any Day Now (2012 NVFF selection). Alan received a bottle of Ehlers Estate 2008 One Twenty Over Eighty with his award. NVFF presented two “Rising Star” Tributes: Imogen Poots, a talented young British actress who costars in A Late Quartet (NVFF 2012), who received a bottle of Chandon Non-Vintage Brut Classic along with her award; and Adam Driver who has a charming performance in the NVFF 2012 feature, Not Waving But Drowning, whoalso received a bottle of Chandon Non-Vintage Brut Classic with his award. Driver is best known for his roles in HBO’s Girls, Angels in America, You Don’t Know Jack and J. Edgar, the latter opening the 2011 NVFF. Host Billy Bush also received a bottle of Allora Vineyards 2008 “Lusso” Cabernet Sauvignon.

In addition to all of the awards given to actors and films, the NVFF highlighted an impressive array of local restaurants from the area, which were recognized throughout the five-day festival in its “Foodspotting Contest.”  This year’s Master Foodspotter was Elissa Gordon, with almost 25 sightings. The “Silence of the Lamb Barbacoa Taco” from La Condesa was voted this year’s “Best Menu Item,” and received the most votes for the name and concept. Alexis Baking Co. was awarded the “Crowd Favorite” as they had the most photos, three of each of their five items. 

The 3rd annual Napa Valley Film Festival will take place November 6 – 10, 2013.  A special holiday pre-sale, through Dec. 15, 2012, offers Festival Passes for $190 (regularly $250) and Pass Plusses for $425 (regularly $500).  Both Passes offer five-day access to film, food and wine events. Additionally, 4-pack tickets will be offered, perfect for holiday gift-giving: Four Festival Passes for $680 ($170 each – normally $250 – for a 32% total savings); Four Pass Plusses for $1,560 ($390 each – normally $500 – for a 22% percent savings). To experience the Festival at its most luxurious, Patron Circle membership starts at $2,500 per person (tax-deductible); join the Circle or renew your membership by Dec. 15, 2012 and receive a complimentary Festival Pass for a friend or family member. For more information or to purchase tickets at the best rates to be offered all year, please visit by midnight, December 15, 2012.

About the Napa Valley Film Festival & Cinema Napa Valley:

The Napa Valley Film Festival is produced by Cinema Napa Valley, a registered 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Napa, California. The festival’s co-creators – and Cinema Napa Valley co-chairs – are Brenda and Marc Lhormer, producers and distributors of the feature film BOTTLE SHOCK about the historic upset victory by Napa Valley wines over the French at the1976 wine-tasting competition in Paris. BOTTLE SHOCK premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival before going on to international theatrical distribution. The husband-and-wife team also ran the successful Sonoma Valley Film Festival from 2001 through 2008. In addition to producing the annual film festival, Cinema Napa Valley presents special film programs throughout the year and provides support to student filmmaking programs in Napa Valley schools. To learn more, visit and follow

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