2019 Napa Valley Film Festival announces award winners

Winners include “Lucky Grandma,” “The Remix: Hip Hop in Fashion,” and “The Story of Plastic”.

Cinema Napa Valley Announces Dates for 2020 Festival

The 9th Annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) announced this year’s juried and audience award winners on Saturday, November 16, 2019. The festival, held from November 13-17, screened over 80 films, including the 16 in NVFF’s core competition categories, throughout the seven screening venues located around the Valley.

Cinema Napa Valley, the non-profit organization that produces the festival every year, also announced the event will take place next year from November 11-15, 2020.

Each of the festival winners received a large format wine bottle from one of the festival’s esteemed Vintner Circle winery partners. The two winners of the 16 films that vied for the title of Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature, as determined by the respective juries, were awarded $10,000, presented by Meadowood Napa Valley.

“The NVFF mission is to reward such films that connect and celebrate the art and passion of our culture and our life,” said Festival CEO Tom Tardio. “Receiving such recognition from our esteemed selection of filmmakers, writers and industry professionals is a true acknowledgement of the filmmakers highly creative and extremely authentic storytelling skills. We wish all of the winners continued success in their endeavors and welcome them to be long-standing members of our filmmaking community.”

“The films, the culinary experiences, and the social gatherings all felt rooted in the theme of deepening our connection to each other and our humanity.  What a rich and rewarding experience!” said juror and actress Brenda Strong about the Napa Valley Film Festival.

“I had a wonderful time serving on the NVFF jury. I saw several truly impressive films by exciting upcoming filmmakers and found the deliberation process to be eye-opening, thoughtful, and, above all, respectful,” noted Dave Karger, juror and IMDB special correspondent.

Directors of the Narrative and Documentary films in competition participated in NVFF’s unique Artists-in-Residence (AIR) Program where they received a six-night stay at the luxury resort Meadowood Napa Valley. The residency included master classes with industry leaders and networking opportunities with their peers and festival patrons at lavish receptions and winemaker dinners. This year, actress Kyra Sedgwick was an AIR program mentor and participated in an intimate moderated conversation on her experiences working within the film industry and offered advice to the attending filmmakers.

The full list of Juried Awards is below:

  • Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature presented by ZD Wines, with a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley, goes to Lucky Grandma.
  • Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature presented by Shadybrook Estate, with a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley, goes to The Remix: Hip Hop in Fashion.
  • Jury Award for Best Screenplay presented by Revana Family Winery goes to Standing Up, Falling Down.
  • Jury Award for Best Narrative Short presented by Raymond Vineyards goes to Balloon.
  • Jury Award for Best Documentary Short presented by Reynolds Family Winery goes to The Love Bugs.
  • Jury Award for Best Verge Film presented by Caldwell Vineyard goes to Only.
  • Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature Performance Recognition presented by Silverado Vineyards goes to Stephanie Turner in Justine.
  • Jury Award for Best Verge Performance Recognition presented by Arkenstone goes to Josh Pence in Hosea.
  • Special Jury Award for Social Impact: Documentary Competition presented by Wolf Family goes to The Story of Plastic.
  • Special Jury Award – Verge: Tackling a Taboo Subject with Compassion presented by Acumen Wines goes to Come As You Are.
  • Special Jury Award – Founders Award chosen by NVFF co-founders Brenda and Marc Lhormer and presented by Inglenook goes to Last Call.

Commencing in 2019, the NVFF’s Founders Award is presented each year to the director of one of the festival’s feature films whose work most captures the courageous, risk-taking, and big-hearted spirit of Brenda and Marc Lhormer, Co-Founders of the Napa Valley Film Festival. The Founders Award honors Brenda and Marc Lhormer for their contributions both to the independent film industry and to the cultural vitality of the Napa Valley and the broader San Francisco Bay Area.

A full list of Audience Awards is below:

  • Audience Award for Favorite Narrative Competition Film presented by Cuvaison goes to The Nomads.
  • Audience Award for Favorite Documentary Competition Film presented by J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines goes to The Story of Plastic.
  • Audience Award for Favorite Narrative Short presented by Clos Du Val goes to 40 Minutes Over Maui.
  • Audience Award for Favorite Documentary Short presented by Materra | Cunat Family Vineyards goes to Lahmajune.
  • Audience Award for Favorite Culinary Cinema Film presented by Sterling Vineyards goes to Breaking Bread.
  • Audience Award for Favorite Verge Film presented by Ashes & Diamonds goes to Come As You Are.
  • Audience Award for Favorite Special Presentation Film presented by John Anthony Vineyards goes to My Beautiful Stutter

Narrative Features Jury: Dave Karger, Alece Oxendine, Rochelle Rose

Documentary Features Jury: Scott Feinberg, Ryan Harrington, Janis Plotki

Narrative Shorts Jury: Becca Gleason, Richard Keith, Brenda Strong

Documentary Shorts Jury: Mia Galuppo, Alexandra Lexton, Miguel Martinez

Verge Jury: William Fichtner, Lisa Whalen, Felicity Wren.

For more information about the Napa Valley Film Festival, go to NVFF.org.