2017 Napa Valley Film Festival: Catch a Film, Help the Recovery

2017 Napa Family Film Festival The official program for the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival was recently released and if you’re a fan of film festivals you should definitely think about attending.  If you’ve never been before, what makes a film festival special is the live participation of writers, directors, actors and producers in Q&A sessions following practically every screening. If you enjoy excellent films, great wine, and outstanding food, then you will find ways to enjoy all three of them at the Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) between November 8-12, 2017.

In addition, this would be an excellent way to revisit Napa Valley and see how much it was (or was not) impacted by the recent wildfires.  Despite the recent tragedy, the residents are strong and determined to recover and rebuild so come see for yourself how things are going.  We will all be forever grateful to the thousands of firefighters, police officers, and other public safety professionals who helped mitigate the damage in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties as much as they did.

As the local community recovers, the Napa Valley Film Festival is supporting these efforts in two ways.  First, they are donating 10% of Pass sales between October 16 and throughout the days of the Festival towards the Napa Valley Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund.  Secondly, the NVFF’s Presenting Sponsor Lexus will be offering 1000 free tickets to those impacted by the fires.  For more information, please refer to the NVFF website.

Pumpkin Tarts from Sweetie Pies at NVFF Gala

Pumpkin Tarts from Sweetie Pies at NVFF Gala

If you’ve attended the Festival in the past, you’ll find many things the same (opening and closing night films, celebrity tributes, award ceremonies, the annual Gala and the Friday Night Party at the Martin Showroom in St. Helena).  But, there are also some changes this year for the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival: new pass packages, more screening line queueing categories, and new screening venues.  Keep reading and we’ll try to convince you to grab that credit card and start ordering right now.

2017 Napa Valley Film Festival:  Reasons to Attend

Call Me By Your Name, at 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival

Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name

Reason #1 to attend the NVFF: Excellent films, including several that are already receiving Oscar buzz. The 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival will include showings of The Shape of Water (starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Octavia Spencer), The Upside (Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman and Kevin Hart), and Molly’s Game (Jessica Chastain, Kevin Costner and Idris Elba). You’ll also be able to see Call Me By Your Name (Armie Hammer), Chappaquiddick (Jason Clarke), The Current War (Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon), Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Annette Bening and Jamie Bell), The Leisure Seeker (Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland) and I, Tonya (Margot Robbie and Allison Janney).

The 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival will also have over 100 new independent films from around the world.  The Award Ceremony announcing selections for both juried and audience-selected winners will take place on Saturday, November 11.  Narrative films in the competition include The Boy Downstairs (directed by Sophie Brooks), The House of Tomorrow (Peter Livolsi) and The Year of Spectacular Men (Lea Thompson).  Documentaries under consideration include A Fine Line (directed by Joanna James), Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies (Amanda Ladd-Jones) and The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin (Jennifer M. Kroot).

The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, at 2017 Napa Valley Film FestivalReason #2 to attend the NVFF: The parties! If you move quickly, you may be able to get tickets for Celebrity Tributes (honoring artists such as Will Ferrell, Nancy Meyers and Michael Shannon), the Friday Night Bash at the interior design gallery space Martin Showroom, or an Opening Night Party in the wine caves at Italics Winery with cuisine from Elaine Bell Catering, drinks from Scott Beattie and a Silent Disco.  And then, there are always the official (and unofficial) After Parties each night.

Stewart Cellars, participant in the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival Gala

Stewart Cellars

Napa Valley’s ultimate film, food and wine party of the year will be the NVFF Festival Gala on November 11 between 8 pm and midnight at the CIA at Copia offering you a chance to grace the red carpet in your most chic attire before you sip, nibble, mingle and dance. Over a dozen culinary partners at this year’s party include Acacia House, Basalt, Ca’ Momi, Hurley’s, Kara’s Cupcakes, Morimoto, The Restaurant at Copia and Sweetie Pies.  Beverages include Stella Artois, Toki, Hornitos and Courvoisier.  Over two dozen wineries featured that night include Charles Krug Winery, Darioush, Grgich Hills Estate, The Hess Collection, Reynolds Family Winery, Rombauer Vineyards and Stewart Cellars.

Reason #3 to attend the NVFF: Napa Valley itself, of course.  The 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival has two Festival Hubs: one in Napa and one in St. Helena.

The Down-Valley Festival Hub is at the CIA at Copia, with a box office, the NVFF Festival Store, a 240-seat screening room, cooking demonstrations, interactive exhibits, and opportunities for a cocktail or snack before and after a film.  Wine Pavilion experiences take place Thursday to Sunday, 3 pm to 5 pm, including a focus on Rosé wines on Friday and pours from the Mexican American Vintners Association on Sunday.  500 First Street, Napa

Farmstead/Long Meadow Ranch

Farmstead/Long Meadow Ranch

The Up-Valley Festival Hub is at Farmstead/Long Meadow Ranch, with a box office, an intimate screening room, afternoon Wine Tasting and Artisan Pavilions, live music, delicious snacks on-the-go, and opportunities for fabulous sit-down meals before or after a film.  Wine Pavilion experiences take place Thursday to Sunday, 3 pm to 5 pm, including pours from the Next Generation in Wine on Thursday and the Rutherford Dust Society on Friday.  738 Main Street, St. Helena

The 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival will have 9 unique theaters across the Valley to showcase films and events including the Uptown Theatre in Napa, the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater in Yountville and Cameo Cinema in St. Helena.  Also, two acclaimed wineries that joined in the fun last year are returning with screenings:  Freemark Abbey and Charles Krug Winery.

2017 Napa Valley Film Festival:  The Celebrities

Each year, the Napa Valley Film Festival salutes the highest levels of cinematic achievement by recognizing legendary filmmakers, trailblazers and rising stars.  The 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival will celebrate these talented folks on three occasions.

Nancy Meyers, Legendary Filmmaker at 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival

Nancy Meyers

On Thursday, November 9, the Celebrity Tribute event will share video clips of each honoree’s work and live onstage interviews with Natalie Morales.  Honorees include Charles Krug Legendary Filmmaker Nancy Meyers (Private Benjamin, Father of the Bride, The Intern) and Raymond Vineyards Trailblazer Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, Boardwalk Empire, Nocturnal Animals).  The evening also includes a Spotlight Tribute shining on Michael Stuhlbarg and Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch Humanitarian Tributes to Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder.  Tickets are $75 per person, $120 for two tickets, or $200 for four tickets.

On Friday, November 10, a very special Maverick Tribute to Will Ferrrell starts with a one-on-one conversation between the comedic genius (Saturday Night Live, Elf, Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) and screenwriter and producer Andrew Steele.  After the tribute, attendees are invited to stay for a screening of Mr. Ferrell’s 2006 dramedy Stranger than Fiction. Sponsored by Caldwell Vineyard. Tickets are $25 per person.

Gregg Sulkin, Rising Star at 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival

Gregg Sulkin

On Saturday, November 11, the NVFF presents its first Rising Star Showcase, a moderated panel discussion with six talented young actors who will share their thoughts on life in the entertainment industry.  Rising Stars include Ana de Armas (Knock Knock, Blade Runner 2049), Odeya Rush (Goosebumps, Coup d’Etat), Austin Stowell (Whiplash, Battle of the Sexes), Gregg Sulkin (Pretty Little Liars, Faking It), Analeigh Tipton (Manhattan Love Story, Compulsion) and Alex Wolff (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, The House of Tomorrow).  Small bites and tastes of wines from Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards are included.  A limited number of tickets will be available to Pass Plus holders for $25.

FYI, other celebrities expected to attend various screenings at the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival include David Arquette, Zoey Deutch, Lou Diamond Phillips, Thomas Middleditch, Haley Joel Osmont, Dennis Quaid, Jim Rash, Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson and Elijah Wood.

2017 Napa Valley Film Festival:  The Movies

There are going to be over 100 new independent films at the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival.   These are some of the full-length choices that sound the most intriguing to us:

78/52, at 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival


78/52 – The iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho receives a calculated and pensive analysis from director Alexandre O. Philippe, as he examines the “man behind the curtain” and how this one screen murder changed the course of world cinema.

American Folk – When a plane from Los Angeles to New York is grounded on the morning of September 11, two strangers embark on a cross country journey.  Armed with a pile of guitars left in their van, the duo raise their voices and rediscover the healing nature of music.

The Boy Downstairs – After returning home from an extended stay abroad, Diana moves into a new apartment only to discover her ex-boyfriend lives in the downstairs apartment with his new girlfriend.

Breakable You – Starring Holly Hunter and Tony Shalhoub, this film chronicles a turbulent and transformative year in the lives of a New York City family as they navigate infidelity, divorce, morality and each other.

Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise, at 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival

Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise

Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise – Twenty five years after seeing the groundbreaking movie Thelma & Louise, a collection of viewers share their reactions to the film and revisit the protagonists’ journey along with cast and crew members in this stirring documentary.

Coup d’Etat – After a 16-year-old American girl becomes pen pals with a notorious island dictator, he seeks refuge in her garage after being deposed and eventually develops a grandfatherly relationship with the teen and her struggling single mom.

A Fine Line – An exploration of why only six percent of head chefs and restaurant owners are women, including perspectives and experiences from world-renowned chefs such as Lidia Bastianich, April Bloomfield, Dominique Crenn and Barbara Lynch.

The House of Tomorrow – 16-year-old Sebastian must decide who he wants to become, torn between the upbringing he’s received from his Nana within their secluded residence, and the benefits of his first real friendship with a punk-obsessed teenager who wants to start a band.

Izzy Gets the F#*k Across Town – After discovering her ex-boyfriend is now engaged to her ex-best friend, enraged and desperate Izzy attempts to make her way across town, determined to break up the double-crossing love birds before that evening’s engagement party.

Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies – Daughter Amanda Ladd-Jones directed this documentary showing how Alan Ladd, Jr.’s intelligence, kindness, and faith in the people he hired turned this private everyman into one of the most successful movie moguls in Hollywood history.

Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen – This film goes behind the scenes of the Michelin’s inspectors’ process and interviews top chefs and critics to uncover their views on what it means to have, or not have, one, two or three Michelin stars.

Rebels on Pointe, at 2017 Napa Valley Film FestivalRebels on Pointe – A documentary about Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the all-male drag ballet company which has performed in over 500 cities, framed through the universal themes of identity, family, love, loss, determination and resilience.

The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin – Jennifer M. Kroot’s documentary examines the life and work of the creator of Tales of the City, offering a frank look at the journey that took him from the jungles of Vietnam to the bathhouses of 70’s San Francisco to the front line of the American culture war.

The Year of Spectacular Men – Emotionally unable to deal with the loss of her father and slightly distracted by her mother’s newfound love affair, a recent college graduate funnels her energy into dating five complicated and spectacular men.

2017 Napa Valley Film Festival:  Tickets and Passes

CIA at Copia

CIA at Copia

The 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival has several ways to purchase your tickets and a multitude of ticket and event combinations for sale.  Their website is here for online purchases or you can call 707-226-7500 from 10/30 to 11/6, between noon and 5 pm.  Once the festival is underway, passes and tickets can be purchased (and/or picked up) at either the Up-Valley (Farmstead, St. Helena) or Down-Valley (CIA at Copia, Napa) Box Office locations.  NVFF Box Office hours are noon to 5 pm (11/7), 8 am to 5 pm (11/8-11/11), and 8 am to 3 pm (11/12).

2017 Napa Valley Film Festival Passes and Ticket Options include:

Festival Pass ($295 per person, $265 each for 4 or more) offers:

  • Five full days of film
  • Blue Line entry to screenings (after Patron Circle and Pass Plus)
  • Access to afternoon wine tastings in Napa and St. Helena Festival Hubs
  • Access to culinary demonstrations

Pass Plus ($695 per person, $665 each for 4 or more) has everything in the Festival Pass, but with Yellow Line entry to screenings (1st Priority after Patron Circle), and entrance to the Festival’s major special events:

  • Festival Gala
  • Celebrity Tributes
  • Friday Night Bash
  • Awards Ceremony
  • Festival Wrap Party

Midweek Pass  ($125 per person)

  • Access to two full days at the festival (Wednesday – Thursday)
  • Red Line entry to screenings (after Patron Circle, Yellow Line, Blue Line)
  • Access to Thursday afternoon wine tastings in Napa and St. Helena Festival Hubs
  • Access to culinary demonstrations

Weekend Pass  ($225 per person)

  • Access to three full days at the festival (Friday-Sunday)
  • Blue Line entry to screenings (after Patron Circle and Pass Plus)
  • Access to afternoon wine tastings in Napa and St. Helena Festival Hubs those three days
  • Access to culinary demonstrations

Individual Day Pass ($85 for Friday, $105 for Saturday, $85 for Sunday)

  • Access to one selected day of film, food and wine
  • Red Line entry to screenings (after Patron Circle, Yellow Line, Blue Line)
  • Access to afternoon wine tastings in Napa and St. Helena Festival Hubs
  • Access to culinary demonstrations

The Film Festival will also sell Rush Tickets, offering non-passholders the opportunity to enjoy films with last-minute tickets at the door for $20 each, $10 for films at the Lincoln Theater.  Rush Ticket holders enter screenings after customers waiting in the Yellow, Blue and Red lines.

Film Festival Line AccessOf course, the most elevated experiences at the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival go to those who join the Patron Circle and find no waiting in lines, reserved seating sections, and complimentary wine at many of the screening venues.  Patron Circle Membership levels include:

  • Patron ($2,500 per person) –  VIP access to films, wine pavilions, panels, culinary demonstrations, parties and big events. Exclusive invitations to receptions, late-night lounges, and Patron Circle-exclusive events such as the First Look Preview Party and Variety’s 10 to Taste. ($1500 is tax deductible)
  • A-Lister ($5,000 per person) – Patron level benefits plus special A-Lister events such as the Celebrity Tributes dinner with VIP guests, the Film Industry Mixer, the opportunity to sponsor a specific feature film in the program and concierge service during the Festival. ($3750 is tax deductible)
  • Movie Mogul ($25,000 per person)– This membership level also includes dedicated luxury car and driver service throughout the festival, seating with Tribute Honorees, access to exclusive winemaker dinner with VIP film industry guests, and upgraded concierge service during the Festival. ($20,000 tax deductible) 
Small Bites from Chef Mark Caldwell

Small Bites from Chef Mark Caldwell

One of the special Patron Circle experiences at the NVFF is a seat at intimate Vintner Circle Dinners, intimate evenings of delightful food, wine and conversations about cinematic storytelling.  Examples of these partnerships pairing Napa Valley wines with the talents of local chefs include Acumen Wines and Chef Tyler Rodde, Davis Estates and Chef Mark Caldwell, Darioush and Chef Sarah Scott, The Hess Collection and Chef Chad Hendrickson, Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley and Chef Kim Alter, Paraduxx and Chef Natalie Niksa, Raymond Vineyards and Chef Victor Scargle, and VGS Chateau Potelle and Chef Ken Frank.

2017 Napa Valley Film Festival: There’s an App for that!

2017 Napa Valley Film Festival App PicThere’s even an app to help facilitate your experience at the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival.  Download it to get the entire schedule ready for you to configure your personal itinerary, up-to-date event and screening information, and access to maps or other information to enhance your experience.  You can find the Apple Version here, and the Android Version here.

This year is the 7th annual Napa Valley Film Festival, and we hope you’ll be able to join us there.  There are even more films, special events, and parties happening than what we’ve listed above so please go here to find additional details and/or to see the full 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival program.

If you want to help support Napa Valley’s recovery from the recent wildfires, please come to the Festival and be sure to spend your money at local wineries, restaurants, inns, hotels and stores to help the local economy.  For more general donations and support, the Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) has mobilized its Disaster Relief Fund to help with the Napa Fires and their impact.  Tax deductible contributions to help victims of the Napa Fires are welcome in any amount.

Napa Valley Film FestivalIf you need some travel advice for wineries and restaurants while you’re in the Valley, please go to the navigation bar above and follow the drop-down menus under “Favorites By Wine Region” to get details on the area you’re most interested in.  We’ve also recently written more comprehensive advice for travel to the Stags Leap District and Los Carneros regions.

The Napa Valley Film Festival is produced by Cinema Napa Valley, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that celebrates the cinematic arts and enriches the community by presenting an annual world-class festival and year-round education and outreach programs.


“Our hearts and thoughts continue to be with all of our Napa and Sonoma County families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and partners during this difficult time.  Our intention is to put on the most memorable and meaningful film festival to date. Our partners and venues are eager to share this festival with those who love and need great stories, conversation, and bonding experiences. Festivalgoers will be able to support the Valley’s rebuilding efforts by booking hotel rooms and making restaurant reservations. This will all add positive economic impact during the Valley’s time of need.” – Marc and Brenda Lhormer, NVFF co-founders/directors



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