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Hollywood in Napa

Napa Valley Film Festival pairs great movies with wining and dining.



Courtesy of Napa Valley Film Festival

Think of the most elaborate party that you’ve ever been to, stretching from one end of the Napa Valley to the other–with film screenings, cooking demonstrations, and wine tastings happening at every venue imaginable. Then, multiply the fun by five days.

Voila! You have the Napa Valley Film Festival.

Now in its fifth year, the film festival is the only annual cultural event that takes over Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, and Yountville for five days. Historic theaters such as Yountville’s Lincoln Theater, St. Helena’s Cameo Cinema, and Napa’s Uptown Theatre and City Winery will host screenings of highly anticipated films. A slate of actors and filmmakers will be on hand for Q&As and dinner parties.

More than 100 films—including the highly anticipated Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara; Tumbledown, starring Jason Sudeikis and Rebecca Hall; Night Owls, starring Adam Pally and Rosa Salazar; and Moments of Clarity, starring Northern California native Lyndsy Fonseca—are on the schedule. Also on the program are a variety of short films—such as Obituaries, starring James Franco—and documentaries, such as Crafted, which is director Morgan Spurlock’s study of artisans who make goods with their hands.  

In addition to great movies, the fest is a place to see and be seen. The Lincoln Theater will host the festival’s main gala on November 12: The party will feature a vintner’s circle of 24 top wineries, food from more than 20 restaurants, live music, and entertainment surprises.

One major new venue at this year’s festival is the Riverfront Promenade at the Napa River Inn.

“We will be transforming the back space of the Napa River Inn into a wine pavilion and culinary stage,” says the festival’s marketing director, Mindi Levine. “Most of the activities will be facing the river. It’s going to be beautiful.”

Courtesy of Napa Valley Film Festival

The event is the brainchild of Sonoma residents Brenda and Marc Lhormer, who launched the first festival in 2010. It was an instant success, and has grown each year, incorporating new wineries and restaurants into the fun.

“It is gratifying to see how the valley’s food, wine, and hospitality interests, as well as the entertainment industry, have embraced our vision of contributing to the cultural dimension of Napa Valley as a world-class destination,” says Brenda.

Festival runs Nov. 11–15. Locations vary, napavalleyfilmfest.org.

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