It was a great year for the third act of the Napa Valley film festival (NVFF). The film festival still is in its infancy; however, it holds great promises. It is true what they say location, location, location! It doesn’t hurt to have great films, beautiful weather, welcoming people, world-renowned wines and culinary experts in one of the most famous worldwide destination. The NVFF promises to be the ticket to hold!
On November 18, 2013, Co-Founders and Directors Brenda and Marc Lhormer were proud to announce the completion of the third annual NVFF; which culminated on Sunday, November 17, 2013 at the Uptown Theatre in Napa with an energetic Awards Ceremony & Wrap Party. NVFF spanned a full week this year throughout the Napa Valley’s picturesque towns of Napa, Yountville, Calistoga and St. Helena. After already impressive first and second installments, the film festival is quickly gaining attention on the national stage. The festival's fame is growing, and the word is getting around. Evidence of it is a twenty percent attendance increase from the previous year. Attendees came to Napa Valley to enjoy over 100 new independent films and nine studio sneak previews screening in 12 beautiful venues throughout the four villages as 300 visiting filmmakers interacted with audiences at screenings and intimate events.
This year’s festival ran Wednesday through Sunday but got off to an early and a great start with special programming on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, 2013. The inspiring program of films honoring our Veterans and those who serve in the armed services screened at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater. Over 1,000 people attended the event.
On Tuesday evening, the festival presented its first-ever Sneak Preview Night with back-to-back screenings of Alexander Payne’s new film Nebraska in St. Helena. In Yountville, there was a screening of Red Obsession, with Australian director Warwick Ross in attendance for an extended Q&A session.
The festival officially opened on Wednesday with the anticipated screening of August: Osage County, directed by John Wells and starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, followed by the Opening Night VIP Dinner Party, hosted by Benchmark Wine Group along the Napa Riverfront. Actress Abigail Breslin graciously welcomed questions from the audience with a lively Q&A on-stage after the screening.
Throughout the festival, attendees were able to navigate the screenings, special events, and culinary offerings happening in the Valley. Attendees filled 12 screening venues and took advantage of the many participating stores, restaurants and wine pavilions offering tastings of Napa Valley’s finest food and wine. The four festival villages also hosted individual Wine Pavilions in each town for pass holders from 2:30 to 5:00 PM, Friday through Sunday.
The highlight of the festivals was Thursday night’s Festival Gala at the LifeStyle Pavilion and in the adjacent building at 500 First Street (former COPIA building), an extravagant party following the red carpet screening of Saving Mr. Banks featuring live music, gourmet cuisine and wines. Close to 1,500 guests danced, mingled and wandered through a dozen or so different themed lounges, visiting culinary stations offering stylish, flavorful bites from well-known local chefs and the most buzzed about restaurant and caterers including The Thomas, Victor Scargle and Bardessono Lucy, Morimoto, Zuzu, Tarla Mediterranean Grill, Azzurro Pizzeria, Norman Rose Tavern, Eiko’s, Smoke Open Fire, and many others. Twenty wineries joined the Gala this year. Guests were able to enjoy wines from Napa Valley wineries like 1313 Main Street, Acacia, Bouchaine, Ca’Momi, Freemark Abbey Winery, Honor Winery, Madonna Estate Winery, St. Supéry, Peju, Pink Girl and many others.
The LifeStyle Pavilion was centrally located in downtown Napa’s Oxbow District, and it was just steps away from many of the Napa screening venues. Interactive exhibits were on display each day, including Sony’s new 4K technology and the new Cadillac hybrid ELR. Daily film industry panels and culinary demonstrations at the Dacor Stage were additional attractions. Pass holders could enjoy an array of premier wines and refreshing chalices of Stella Artois, as well as ZICO coconut water and much more.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with this year’s festival with our impressive line-up of film screenings and panels, fine food and wine and outstanding events, and the tremendous support of our many sponsors, Patrons, and festival-goers,” said Co-Founder Brenda Lhormer. “Now, we will throw a party for our 600 volunteers, get a little rest, and start planning for an even bigger and better festival in 2014!”
Already working on next year’s line up, the NVFF 2014 is on the way. The 4th annual Napa Valley Film Festival (November 12 – 16, 2014) is offering special pricing now through midnight December 31, 2013. For more information or to purchase passes at the best rates, to be offered all year, visit the NVFF web site.