Much larger in sponsorships, this year’s Napa Valley Film Festival (November 11-15) has become so popular that the main road between Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga is jammed and the smaller theaters are playing to SRO crowds. The St.Helena Cameo Cinema is the longest running single screen theater in the United States, going back to 1913 and “featuring 400 seats, 150 opera chairs, a modern stage and two standing sets”.
Culinary, wine and film mix well here. This year we were invited to dine with second-generation vintner Ron Nicholsen, at his estate, Kelham Vineyards, where chief Tyler Rodde from Oenotri, the southern Italian restauranteur from the town of Napa served us his finest food. And at every screening, the best of wines are tasted, In the morning we could (and I did once) practice yoga on the vineyard banks of the river running through the valley. Afternoon and evenings wine pours freely and people mix as they go to movies or to the parties and receptions. My big discovery was White Stone Wine grown on the shores of the mighty Lake Roosevelt in the shadows of Whitestone Rock. I award it for its white chalky stone accent on its bold red wines.
Jury and audience awards were given to the winners at the Uptown Theatre on Sunday, November 15, 2015. The Festival had screened 120 new independent films in 12 unique screening venues in the four postcard-perfect towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga.
David Glasser, COO and President of The Weinstein Company presented awards on behalf of the third annual Lexus Short Film Series. Lexus’ Media Director Teri Hill and TWC announced the four winners, Alexis Michalik, Byoung-Gon Moon, Damian Walshe-Howling and Pippa Bianco. Look for my blog about this event.
The Special Jury Award for Authenticity in Narrative Feature Storytelling went to “ Life in Color”.
The Full List of Juried Awards is Below:
- Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature presented by Taken Wine Company, and with a $10,000 cash prize courtesy ofMeadowood Napa Valley, went to “ The King of New Orleans”.
- Jury Award for Best Screenplay presented by Italics Winegrowers went to “ Tumbledown”.
- Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast presented by Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley went to “ Jane Wants a Boyfriend”. Member of the ensemble, Louisa Krause, also won the Audience Award for Favorite Actress.
- Audience Award for Favorite Actress presented by Eleven Eleven Wines went to for her work in the film “Jane Wants a Boyfriend.”
- Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature presented by Trinchero Napa Valley, and with a $10,000 cash prize courtesy ofMeadowood Napa Valley, went to “Romeo is Bleeding.”
- Jury Award for Best Narrative Short presented by Wolf Family Vineyards went to “It’s Perfect Here.” Honorable Mention went to “Birthday.”
- Jury Award for Best Documentary Short presented by Priest Ranch went to “Elder.” Honorable Mentions go to: “Code Oakland, Une Passion d’or et de feu” (A Passion of Gold and Fire) , and “Riding the Highline.”
- Jury Award for Best Lounge Feature presented by Ca’ Momi Winery went to “Night Owls.”
- Jury Award for Best Lounge Short presented by Modus Operandi Cellars went to “A Man Wakes Up.”
- Honorable Mention went to “CI: A Tedd Talkumentary.”
- Special Jury Award – Courage in Documentary Feature Filmmaking presented by Rombauer Vineyards went to “ Life Under Siege: Exploring Gaza’s Secret Tunnels.”
- Special Jury Award – Authenticity in Narrative Feature Story-Telling presented by The Hess Collection Winery went to “Life in Color.”
- Special Jury Award – Acting in a Lounge Feature Film went to sisters Aly Michalka and AJ Michalka for their work in the film “Weepah Way For Now.”
A Full List of a Audience Awards is Below:
- Audience Award for Favorite Actor presented by Caldwell Vineyard went to David Jensen for his work in the film “The King of New Orleans.”
- Audience Award for Favorite Actress presented by Eleven Eleven Wines went to Louisa Krause for her work in the film “Jane Wants a Boyfriend.”
- Audience Award for Favorite Documentary Feature presented by Grgich Hills Estate went to “Landfillharmonic.”
- Audience Award for Favorite Documentary Short presented by Kelham Vineyards and Winery went to “Ron Taylor: Dr. Baseball.”
- Audience Award for Favorite Narrative Feature presented by Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. went to “Friends and Romans.”
- Audience Award for Favorite Narrative Short presented by Favia Erickson Winegrowers went to “Sin Frontera.”
- The Runner-Ups for Narrative Shorts presented by Matthiasson Wines are “Playdate” and “Birthday.”
- Audience Award for Favorite Short Feature presented by Beaulieu Vineyard went to “Sketch.”
Lexus Short Films winning filmmakers received their awards presented by Alpha Omega Winery, Merryvale Vineyards, Raymond Vineyards and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.
Narrative Features Jury: Sydney Levine, Morrie Warshawski, Ralph Macchio
Documentary Features and Shorts Jury: Dierk Sindermann, Marcia Jarmel, Sheri Linden
Narrative Shorts Jury: Alonso Duralde, Neil Berkeley, Lissa Gibbs
Documentary Shorts Jury: Ken Schneider, Brandon Carroll, Jenni Olson
The Lounge Jury: Gren Wells, Evy Warshawski, Elvis Mitchell
Each of the festival winners received a large format wine bottle from one of the festival’s esteemed Vintner Circle winery partners. For the first time The Lounge Features and Shorts were up for the Juried and Audience Awards. The winners of the Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature jury were awarded $10,000, presented by Meadowood Napa Valley.