With mere days left until Opening Night, it’s time to get down to business and talk about all the things you cannot miss at #NVFF16. Every year is a little different, but one thing remains: every corner of the festival is programmed to surprise, delight, indulge and inspire. We don’t want you to miss any of it, but here are our recommendations to clue you in on a handful of experiences you should consider a top priority:
Matthew McConaughey to Receive the Caldwell Vineyard Maverick Actor Tribute
NOV 10 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm | Lincoln Theater | Yountville
Welcome the Oscar-winning actor to Napa Valley and join us in Yountville for an enlightening and entertaining on-stage conversation with Matthew and moderator Mike Fleming (Deadline Hollywood Editor-in-Chief). Patron Circle members and Pass Plus holders are invited to attend, and a limited number of individual tickets are available to non-passholders for $25.
BONUS: Later that night we are presenting seven more celebrities with Tributes. These celebrities include Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell who will each receive the Chandon Rising Star Tribute and Chloe Grace Moretz, along with Dev Patel, who will each receive the Raymond Vineyards Trailblazer Tribute. Viggo Mortensen will receive the Grgich Hills Estates Spotlight Tribute. The Charles Krug Legendary Filmmaker and Actor Tributes will be presented to acclaimed filmmaker Lee Daniels and actor Kurt Russell, respectively. The Celebrity Tributes will take place on Thursday, November 10 at 6:00pm at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville and will include video highlight reels and intimate on-stage conversations with Access Hollywood’s Natalie Morales and Kit Hoover. Patron Circle members and Pass Plus holders are invited to attend, and a limited number of individual tickets are available to non-passholders for $50.
Susan McMartin is expected to attend with her film Mr. Church
Not only are we screening the award season hopeful Mr. Church, we are also playing host to Susan McMartin, the writer of this semi-autobiographical feature film. Mr. Church is a heartwarming film about family, unconditional love, and faith set in a time when social boundaries were far more rigid. Henry Joseph Church (Eddie Murphy) takes on the role of surrogate father to a young girl as she struggles through the loss of her only present parent, persistent financial struggles, and becoming a woman. Mr. Church efficiently supports the young girl (Britt Robertson) and her terminally-ill mother (Natascha McElhone) while also creating a genuine, loving family environment. Veteran director Bruce Beresford takes the viewer through a gamut of emotions: the insecurity brought on by new people, the curiosity of a budding friendship, the pain of losing a loved one, the serenity of motherhood, and the joy of having a shoulder to lean on.
Artisan Pavilion at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
NOV 12 | 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch | St. Helena
If you don’t already know, we open our wine pavilions every afternoon (Thur – Sun) from 3:00-5:00pm in all 4 festival villages. On Saturday, Nov 12, we’re adding something new to the wine pavilion in St. Helena: an “artisan pavilion.” Sip wine as you browse through samples and demonstrations by local craftsmen in this unique and interactive experience. A selection of wines will be poured by Clif Family Winery, Long Meadow Ranch, NakedWines.com and more! Featured artisans: Amana Woolen Mill, Amanda Wright Pottery, Annie the Baker, Carbon Street Metalworks, Kollar Chocolates, Lang & Reed, Long Meadow Ranch, Napa Valley Woodworks and Velo Vino.
Classical Music Double Feature and Q&A with Flavio Villani and Gordon Getty
NOV 13 | 12:00pm & 2:00pm | Lincoln Theater | Yountville
Join us Sunday for two remarkable movies. Crossing Rachmaninoff is the story of Flavio Villani’s redemption through his work learning Piano Concerto No. 2, culminating in an epic performance with a live orchestra. Gordon Getty: There Will Be Music tells Gordon Getty’s story of escaping family scandal through his musical compositions. All Passholders are invited to attend, and non-passholders can purchase a $40 ticket in advance for both films and the live onstage conversations following the screenings.
The Napa Riverfront Culinary Stage
Take a break from screenings to learn from the experts at the Napa Riverfront Culinary Stage. Culinary and wine pros (Kenmore Executive Chef Kari Karch, MaryAnn Worobiec of Wine Spectator, and Whole Foods Chef Melissa King to name a few) will grace the culinary stage Thursday through Sunday to share their creativity and mouthwatering insights.
The Culinary Stage is outfitted with Kenmore Pro, and if you’re like us and you drool over state-of-the-art appliances, we’ve got dangerously good news: everything you see on the Culinary Stage can be purchased at Sears, where Shop Your Way® members get exclusive deals and benefits you can’t get anywhere else. So go ahead, sneak it on to your Christmas list…
BONUS: Join winery owner John Terlato for a fun, interactive blind tasting of four exceptional wines November 11 at 11:00am on the Culinary Stage. He’ll share insider tips on how a wine’s color, aroma, taste and texture can reveal its origin, varietal and more. You’ll sharpen your wine tasting skills and have fun at the same time! As a bonus, and because food and wines are often enjoyed together, John will share one of his family’s favorite dishes from the Terlato Kitchen.
Screenings at the Historic Carriage House at Charles Krug Winery
The Carriage House at Charles Krug Winery boasts a soaring cathedral ceiling and floor finished in old-growth redwood, and stunning hand-forged chandeliers. This venues seats 200 and is just a stones throw from the tasting room (wink wink). Five Dot Ranch will be there every afternoon cooking up their famous California natural premium beef and more available for purchase. Final menu will be available soon and we won’t forget you, vegetarians!
INSIDER TIP: Actress Rose Leslie is expected to attend the 8:30pm screening of her new film Sticky Notes at this venue on Wednesday, November 9. And now you can tell all your friends who had no idea she was coming that they know nothing, Jon Snow.
Screening of Miss Sloane
NOV 13 | 5:15pm | Lincoln Theater | Yountville
Miss Sloane is the story of a ruthless lobbyist (played to the nines by the always excellent Jessica Chastain) who is notorious for her unparalleled talent and her desire to win at all costs, even when it puts her own career at risk. The thriller pulls back the curtain on how Capitol Hill games are played and won as Sloane faces off against the most influential powers in Washington, D.C. If this sounds like material for one of the Bard’s political machination plays, then perhaps it’s no surprise the movie is directed by none other than John Madden, the masterful filmmaker behind Shakespeare in Love. Join us on Sunday for a very special closing night presentation.
BONUS: The director will be in attendance along with the producer and writer of the film! John Madden is an award winning director gaining accolades for his work in film, television, and theater. John has directed wonderful feature films including Ethan Frome, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Proof, and The Debt. John directed the Oscar nominated Mrs Brown and the Oscar winning Shakespeare in Love for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. His film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was an international hit, becoming the most successful independent film of 2012 in the US.
Special Presentation: Lexus Short Films
NOV 10 | 2:00pm | Lincoln Theater | Yountville
NVFF has partnered with Lexus and The Weinstein Company to host a presentation of Lexus Short Films. Each year Lexus identifies talented young filmmakers and pairs them with The Weinstein Company to create a new series of short films. This year four new films directed by the winners of the 2015 Lexus Short Films competition will screen together for the first time ever at the Napa Valley Film Festival on Thursday, November 10 at 2:00pm in Yountville’s glorious Lincoln Theater. All four filmmakers will be in attendance, and filmmaker Lee Daniels (Precious, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Empire, Star) will host a lively onstage conversation with the four talented directors following the screening of their short films. All Passholders are invited to attend, and for non-passholders, $20 advance tickets can be purchased.
BONUS: What Lexus plans to do with their display cars at the Napa Riverfront will blow your mind -and we don’t use that phrase lightly. Anyone with a pass can come hang with us at the Riverfront.
Check this out: using the Lexus RC F platform, the Lexus team will utilize Smart Film technology which will allow the selected windows of the vehicle to transition from transparent clear glass to opaque. The product will be applied to the front windshield, driver and passenger windows to create an on-demand projection screen. With 3 projectors mounted within the interior, the result will be projected reverse images viewable from the exterior of the vehicle. Coupled with the interior projectors and DVD system will be a hidden exterior sound bar underneath the vehicle projecting 360 degrees of sound. The result: you will be able to watch an endless stream of Lexus Short Films on the windows.
The Forbidden Shore: Screenings and Musical Performances
NOV 9 | 8:30pm | Uptown Theatre | Napa
NOV 11 | 8:30pm | Uptown Theatre | Napa
Politics silenced Cuban voices beyond its shores, but within, music is its very heartbeat. For the first time ever, through over 40 concerts and unprecedented access to Cuba’s streets and people, musician and documentary filmmaker Ron Chapman brings to life the most dynamic experience of the full spectrum of Cuban music in all of its extraordinary diversity. NVFF is proud to host Ron and eight of the Cuban musicians from the film, all of whom will perform live after the screenings. All passholders are invited to attend, and for non-passholders $20 advance tickets are available for the two Uptown screenings. You can also see the musicians perform at the Calistoga Wine Pavilion on Saturday, following a 1:00pm screening at the Gliderport.
Check out the trailer, your jaw will drop at 1:45.
Screening of The Rebound
NOV 9 | 10:00am | Uptown Theatre | Napa
The Rebound is the unlikely but true account of the Miami Heat Wheels’ quest for victory and redemption during the year following a crushing defeat at the wheelchair basketball national championships. Director Shaina Allen’s high octane film presents us with a story of unwavering resolve and a testament to mankind’s innate ability to overcome life’s toughest challenges, including those beyond what meets the eye. Three of the wheelchair basketball players from the film will be in attendance along with director Shaina Allen and producer Michael Esposito!
Stella Artois Before You Watch
Stella Artois plays host to all the films screened at Native Sons in downtown St. Helena. Before each and every screening enjoy the rich flavor of Stella Artois and the taste of sophisticated leisure–dry balanced and very Belgian-style Stella Artois Cidre.
Attend the Awards Ceremony and Festival Gala Back-to-Back
Join in the excitement and anticipation as we reveal the winners of our Juried and Audience Awards. Each winner is presented with a large format collectible bottle of fabulous wine from one of our generous Vintner Circle members. The winners of the Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature (as selected by our prestigious juries of industry experts) each receive a $10,000 check courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley.
Then expect the unexpected at the Festival Gala. Grace the red carpet in your most chic attire; meet filmmakers, celebrities and old and new friends; sample the finest food and wine from our famous chefs and vintners; enjoy creative cocktails and spirits, and interact with the latest technology from HP. Enjoy musical acts and surprise entertainment; and dance the night away for an unforgettable evening of glitz blended with the relaxed, elegant style of the Napa Valley.
Screening of Pisco Punch: A Cocktail Comeback Story
NOV 13 | 5:30pm | Uptown Theatre
Pisco Punch: A Cocktail Comeback Story tells the story of one of the world’s great forgotten spirits: Peruvian pisco. In the late 19th century, pisco was the most celebrated spirit in the western United States. Calamitous political developments in its native Peru caused pisco to disappear until relatively recently when it has made a remarkable comeback. Filmmaker Alan Kropf pours and serves up a great cocktail story, told on film for the first time. We are proud to host the film’s World Premiere. Alan and several of the film’s subjects will be in attendance for a spirited (pun intended!) Q&A.
Conversation with the Creators of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
Nov 12 | 1:00pm | Uptown Theatre
Gilmore Girls makes its much-anticipated return with four memorable new chapters from the lives of Lorelai, Emily, Rory and countless more Stars Hollow stalwarts. Picking up nine years after we last dropped in on the whimsical Connecticut town, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life finds each of our leading ladies at a major crossroads: Lorelai’s relationship with Luke is at an unnerving standstill; Rory’s budding journalism career in New York has stalled before it’s even begun; and Emily’s world is turned upside down following the untimely passing of her beloved husband, Richard.
Join us for an exclusive and intimate conversation with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life series creator/executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino and executive producer Daniel Palladino as they discuss the four new chapters launching November 25 everywhere Netflix is available.
Screening of Generosity of Eye
NOV 12 | 1:00pm | YCC Heritage Room | Yountville
Generosity of Eye is the surprising story of a major art collection transforming into educational opportunities for African American children in Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone. It is also the personal tale of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus discovering how justice, art and family can collide in a single act of extraordinary generosity by her father, French businessman William Louis-Dreyfus. The film features beautiful artwork by masters like Kandinsky, Oldenburg and Rousseau, and “outsider” artists like Bill Traylor and Thornton Dial. All passholders are invited to attend and for non-passholders, a limited number of $20 advance tickets are available for purchase.
BONUS: There will be free Dove Chocolate at this screening venue. No we’re not kidding. FREE CHOCOLATE thanks to Dove Chocolate. And we don’t want to give it away, but on top of that they will be running a sweepstakes you can enter when you go to get your free chocolate, and the prize is pretty unbelievable.
NOV 10 – NOV 13 | 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Festival afternoons are reserved for wine tasting experiences at interactive wine pavilions in each of our four festival villages. A rotating slate of wineries offer up free tastings and consultations for all of our festival passholders. Not even wine festivals can match the variety and quality of the wines curated for you each day at the Wine Pavilions in each of our festival villages. Take a break from watching films to sample wines from our favorite vintners who are pouring and talking about their finest selections. $25 Tasting Tickets for non-passholders are sold on a space-available basis at the entrance to each wine pavilion. Given the price of tasting fees at Napa Valley wineries, NVFF’s wine pavilions are one of the best values around.