A: The Napa Valley Film Festival takes place November 9-13 (Wednesday through Sunday) in the four walkable villages of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga, where 120+ films, 300 filmmakers, 150 wineries and 30 chefs will actively engage our audiences. Each town has a Box Office, multiple screening venues, a wine pavilion or wine stroll, “passholder perks” and special events taking place throughout each day.
Q: WHAT KIND OF FILMS SHOULD I EXPECT?
A: From over 1,000 films submitted from around the world, we select 100 or so for the quality of their filmmaking and the compelling nature of their story lines. These films are grouped in competitive sections that are eligible for either juried or audience awards or both. These program sections include:
The Lounge (Features & Shorts)
Our program also includes a selection of sneak preview screenings of important awards season films, frequently presented by the directors who attend along with writers, actors and producers. Always be sure to check our website at nvff.org for the most current and complete list and description of films and screening details.
Q: HOW IS THE FESTIVAL MORE THAN JUST GOING TO THE MOVIES???
A: What truly makes a film festival a “festival” is the live participation by the writers, directors, actors and producers who conceived of and brought to life the wonderful films we get to see. Question and answer sessions with the filmmakers follow practically every screening.?
Q: HOW DOES NVFF INCORPORATE FOOD & WINE?
A: We’ve integrated Napa Valley’s incomparable food and wine into the film festival experience. You may enjoy wine at nearly every screening venues and Stella Artois at select locations. Wine pavilions are the place to be each mid/late afternoon. Culinary demonstrations take place on the culinary stage at the Napa Riverfront. Food and wine are cleverly paired and served up at all of our special events, most notably the blowout Festival Gala but also at our Opening, Closing and Tribute Night Parties. Top Napa Valley vintners open their private estates to host our Vintner Circle Dinners. And our winning filmmakers are presented with large-format collectible bottles of Napa Valley’s finest.
Q: HOW DO I PLAN MY SCHEDULE?
A: Use this Festival Planner both before and during the Festival, to map out your experience.
Q: HOW DO I ATTEND?
A: The best way to experience the festival is with a pass. We offer passes at three levels: Festival Pass, Pass Plus, and for a truly immersive VIP experience, membership in our exclusive Patron Circle. With a pass, you can see just about any film in the festival, and you never have to worry about choosing films or purchasing individual screening tickets in advance. Your pass also allows you to attend any industry panels, the culinary demonstrations and wine-tasting each afternoon along with an array of passholder perks offered throughout the valley. Higher level passes include special events and receptions with our filmmakers and celebrity guests. For those with limited time or on a limited budget, we also offer a Mid Week Pass (a great value giving access for three days Tue-Wed-Thu), weekend Day Passes (covering Fri-Sat-Sun), and last minute Rush Tickets, sold at the door to film screenings, panels, demonstrations and wine-tastings when space remains available after passholders have been admitted. We also occasionally offer advance purchase options on specific special events and special presentations. Visit our box office online year round to see what’s available.
Q: WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
A: If you are joining us from out of the area, you have a wide variety of lodging options. You’ll choose from luxury resorts to quaint Bed & Breakfasts to vacation rentals, and also select where in the valley you’d most prefer to be located. Calistoga at the top of the valley is wonderful for its laid back atmosphere (new age meets old west) and unique festival venues; but it’s also a long way from some of the higher level special events taking place in Yountville and Napa. St. Helena – 9 miles down valley – is home to the charming Cameo Cinema (our only venue out of 12-13 that is truly a year-round movie theatre) and has a perfect Main Street feeling about it. Yountville – another 9 miles down valley – is perfect for the epicurean, being home to the French Laundry and more Michelin Stars per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. It’s also the location of our largest venue, the Lincoln Theater on the grounds of the largest Veterans Home in America. The Celebrity Tributes, Awards Ceremony and Festival Gala all take place at Lincoln. And Napa – another 9 miles south – is the primary working city serving the valley and home to some of the festival’s bigger venues and events. Many of the valley’s lodging properties offer special festival rates and packages. Wherever you decide to stay, always let your hosts know you are here for the film festival. You never know what doors that might open. And make your lodging plans early as rooms fill up quickly.
Q: HOW CAN I BEST NAVIGATE AROUND NAPA VALLEY?
A: Each Festival Village is approximately 9 miles apart as you travel up and down-valley, with nearly 30 miles between Napa and Calistoga. Travel time between villages can vary widely, especially on the weekends or during rush hour. Since many films screen at multiple venues, you can maximize your film, food and wine experiences each day without having to travel all over the valley. If you do want to move around and explore different villages and venues, please, plan ahead and always festival responsibly! Wine, dine, but please don’t drink and drive. There are a number of transportation options, including The Vine (local bus service), taxis, Uber, or book a car with Beau Wine Tours.
Q: HOW DO I PLAN MY SCHEDULE?
A: Like most film festivals, NVFF’s schedule of films, tastings, demos, and events can be overwhelming, especially to first-timers. Use our interactive guide on the website, expected in September. Download our new mobile app and grab a copy of the official souvenir Festival Program, due out mid October. Note that most films play multiple times in different village locations. So plan your schedule to minimize running around the valley, but rather kicking back a bit to savor longer conversations with the artists and your fellow audience members. NVFF team members and volunteers are always available to you to assist with guidance. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter which assures you’ll get all of our announcements and be alerted when the full program and mobile app are available.
Q: WHAT TIME SHOULD I GET THERE FOR A SCREENING?
A: There is an order to which audiences are admitted into our shows. Members of our Patron Circle enter first, followed by Pass Plus holders, then Festival Pass, and then Midweek or Day Pass holders. Non-passholders wait in a Rush Line and may purchase tickets if space remains available after all passholders have entered. All passholders must arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to show time. A pass does not guarantee a seat, so please be aware of venue capacities and arrive early at smaller venues and for the most popular films. One individual must be present for each seat. Since seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis, you must be present in the theater to have claim to a seat. No savesies!
Q: DO WE REALLY GET TO VOTE ON FILMS?
A: NVFF presents Audience Awards determined by popular vote. At most screenings through Friday evening, viewers will receive a ballot to rate the film and/or the performances by the lead actors. Ballots are turned in at the end of the screenings. All winners are announced at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday Night prior to the Festival Gala.
Q: CAN I BRING MY KIDS?
A: Most festival films do not have MPAA ratings attached. Generally speaking parents should consider the film festival to be a collection of R-rated movies, though each year many of the films are perfectly appropriate for all teenagers. Parents should carefully read film descriptions and use their discretion when considering what might be appropriate for their children.
Q: IS THERE A FESTIVAL HUB OR CENTER?
A: NVFF takes place in venues clustered in each of Napa Valley’s four towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. During each year’s festival, an NVFF Box Office is the hub of each Festival Village. At any of our Box Offices you may pick up passes and special event tickets that you ordered online, or purchase passes and tickets, get updated program information, purchase merchandise, or find answers to any questions you may have. Note: Patron Circle Members, Sponsors, Media and Filmmakers will be notified of special designated pass pickup locations.
Q: CAN I BUY TICKETS THE DAY OF? WHERE?
A: Passes and tickets are available in a variety of ways. You may visit our Buy Passes page and see full descriptions and benefits of our passes and tickets and purchase while you browse. They are also available at our Village Box Offices located in Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga. Or if you prefer, you may call our Main Office and an NVFF team member would be happy to assist you.
Q: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY BOX OFFICE? THERE’S MORE THAN ONE?
A: The Box Offices are the hub of each Festival Village. Pick up passes and special event tickets that you ordered online or purchase passes and tickets, get updated program information, purchase merchandise, or find answers to any questions you may have. Note: Patron Circle Members, Sponsors, Media and Filmmakers will be notified of special designated pass pickup locations.
Q: IS NVFF ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
A: We encourage you to share your Festival experience on social media. Follow us, tag us, @ us, and #NVFF15 us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more. And keep your eyes on our channels for exclusive content, Festival tips and insider info.
A: Sign up for the email newsletter. It’s the best way to ensure you stay current with new original NVFF content, and any additions or changes. Also be sure to download the NVFF mobile app as soon as it becomes available. Being on our mailing list assures you are notified about this and any and all breaking news.
Q: WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE MOVIES ARE OVER EACH DAY?
A: After the last screen goes dark, Festival Villages are still alive. While Patron Circle Members and Pass Plus holders participate in various Special Events, there are also nightlife options that offer food and drink specials for Festival Pass and Day Pass holders.
Q: WILL I GET ANY SPECIAL DEALS IN THE VALLEY?
A: All passholders may redeem perks at participating restaurants, wineries, and businesses throughout the valley. When you pick up your pass, you’ll be provided with a passholder perks card. Simply flash your passholder perks card to receive special offers or discounts.