The 9th annual Napa Valley Film Festival will take place November 13-17 in the beautiful Napa Valley area, showcasing film, food, and of course, wine. In addition to screenings at 7 local venues throughout the area, there will be a Celebrity Tribute program, intimate Vintner dinners hosted at local wineries, culinary demonstrations, daily “wine intermissions” and the over-the-top annual gala featuring food and wine from 30 local vendors. From celebrity chefs and winemakers to famous actors, be on the lookout because this low-key festival regularly attracts top tier talent like Matthew McConaughey who I interviewed there in 2018.
Preview Night: Ford v Ferrari.
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 12
The film is inspired by the remarkable true story of visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby and the fearless British driver Ken Miles, and is directed by James Mangold and stars Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone and Ray McKinnon.
Opening Night Film: Just Mercy
Wednesday November 13th
A powerful and thought-provoking true story following young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice. The film is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and stars Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson and Jamie Foxx.
Closing Night: SOMM TV Presents Verticals
Sunday November 17th
SOMM TV presents the series Verticals, where winemakers, winery owners, and other pivotal people in the wine business open seminal vintages from their careers. These stories show the human condition through a bottle of wine.
My Top Picks
To The Stars (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Iris, a bespectacled and reclusive teen living in a godfearing Oklahoma town in the 1960s, endures the booze-induced antics of her mother and daily doses of bullying from her classmates. She finds solace in Maggie, the charismatic and enigmatic new girl at school, who hones in on Iris’s untapped potential and coaxes her out of her shell. When Maggie’s mysterious past can no longer be suppressed, the small community is thrown into a state of panic, leaving Maggie to take potentially drastic measures and inciting Iris to stand up for her friend and herself. Directed by Martha Stephens and starring Kara Hayward, Liana Liberato, Malin Akerman, Tony Hale, Shea Whigham and Adelaide Clemens.
Troop Zero (Amazon Studios)
In a tiny Georgia town in 1977, a motherless girl named Christmas Flint dreams of life beyond the confines of her trailer-park home and hopes to make contact with outer space. When Christmas learns that the winners of the annual Birdie Scout Jamboree talent contest will be included on a recording to be sent into space for posterity, she tries to join the local Scouts troop. When she is rejected by the snobbish group of girls and their uptight leader Miss Massey, Christmas rallies a group of elementary-school outliers to start their own chapter. Troop Zero is an endearing and magical tale of friendship and individuality. Directed by Bert & Bertie and starring Viola Davis, Mckenna Grace, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps, Charles Shotwell and Allison Janney.
I Want My MTV
A nostalgic and thrilling ride, I Want My MTV takes its audience back to the beginning, when the idea of a television channel devoted to only videos seemed destined for failure. The chronicling of this unique journey provides a peek into how a team of young executives were tasked with growing this seed of an idea, which would quickly flourish into a beloved and often controversial cultural juggernaut. Features commentary from Sting, Billy Idol, The Eurythmics, Jerry Cantrell, Pat Benatar, and more. Directed by Patrick Waldrop and Tyler Measom, and starring Sting, Billy Idol, Pat Benatar, Dee Snider, Norman Lear, The Eurythmics, Darryl McDaniel and Jerry Cantrell.
It All Begins with a Song: The Story of the Nashville Songwriter
It All Begins with a Song: The Story of the Nashville Songwriter is a celebration of one of music’s most important yet underrated forces: the songwriter. These songwriters have penned melodies and lyrics for some of the biggest stars in the music industry, yet few know their names. Pull back the curtain to reveal the process of creating a successful song and learn more about the origins of some of the world’s most iconic hits. Directed by Anthony ‘Chusy’ Haney-Jardine.
The Land of High Mountains – The Land of High Mountains is the inspiring true story of the only pediatric hospital in Haiti. In a country where one third of the population is under fourteen years of age and foreign NGOs consistently come and go, Saint Damien Pediatric Hospital has been providing life-saving healthcare to the most vulnerable families for over thirty years. This is a powerful account of the incredible people, both Haitian and foreign who, despite encountering every conceivable obstacle, are working together to create a brighter future for their patients and for Haiti. Directed by Will Agee and starring Liferne Forestal, Phadoul Amisial, Fr. Rick Frechette, Dr. Renee Alce, Dr. Jacqueline Gautier, Fr. Enzo Del Brocco, Veline , Gaelle , Lourdy , Pierre Nadine, Sainfleur Jean Israel, Marie Yolene, Vilaire Meralin and Christiana Liberis.
Martha: A Picture Story
In the 1970s, Martha Cooper was one of a handful of photographers documenting the first vivid images of graffiti appearing on New York City’s subway carriages. 20 years later, she discovers that her book Subway Art has become one of the most stolen books of all time – inspiring the spread of graffiti around the globe and making Martha an unexpected icon of the street art world. Now, at age 75, Martha must navigate her way through the vastly changed culture of the modern world. Directed by Selina Miles.