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Claudia Puig Joins Napa Valley Film Festival as Program Director

The Napa Valley Film Festival has tapped former USA Today Chief Film Critic Claudia Puig as program director.

Puig will serve as a consulting programming director and industry liaison for the rest of 2015, and then take on the full responsibilities of program director at the beginning of the 2016 festival planning cycle.

“After 15 years as a film critic, I became increasingly intrigued by the film festival world and what makes compelling film programming,” Puig said. “Some of the best and most original movies I’ve seen have made their debut at film festivals. Joining the Napa staff is especially exciting — only in its fifth year, the Napa Valley Film Festival is growing by leaps and bounds with its ambitious, forward-thinking and innovative programming, panels and events.”

The festival will take place November 11 to 15 in Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga.

It disclosed its Narrative and Documentary feature film line-ups for juried competition on Tuesday as part of its complete program of approximately 125 films. Directors of competition films will participate in the festival’s artists-in-residence program presented in partnership with the Meadowood Napa Valley.

Films in the Narrative competition section feature actors Jason Sudeikis, Alexis Bledel, Eliza Dushku, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Jordan and Josh McDermitt. The 10 films selected include:

— “Astraea,” set in the snowy landscapes of a post-apocalyptic America. Directed by Kristjan Thor.

— “Honeyglue,” a journey of self-discovery in the wake of a life-threatening medical diagnosis. Directed by James Bird.

— “It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong,” starring Bryan Greenberg and Jamie Chung. Directed by Emily Ting.

— “Jane Wants a Boyfriend,” in which an aspiring costume designer recruits her sister to help her find her first boyfriend. Starring Dushku, directed by William Sullivan.

— “Life in Color,” in which a failed nanny and a floundering comedian grapple realize that they can overcome their lack of home, job and purpose if they face defeat together. Starring Josh McDermitt and Katharine Emmer, directed by Katharine Emmer.

— “Lola’s Last Letter,” centered on a young woman dealing with the emotional trauma left over by the mistake that sent her to prison. Starring Valerie Brandy, directed by Valerie Brandy.

— “Moments of Clarity,” in which unlikely friends elude their protective parents and embark on a quest to repair an antique camera. Starring Lyndsy Fonseca and Kristin Wallace, directed by Stev Elam.

— “Outliving Emily,” with 12 diverse actors portray the various stages of Tim and Emily’s anthologized marriage. Starring Bledel, Zosia Mamet, Thomas Mann, Kal Penn, Jeremy Jordan, Phylicia Rashad and more. Directed by Eric Weber and Sean Devaney.

— “The King of New Orleans,” focused on a man’s story chronicled from the passenger seat of his taxi cab. Directed by Allen Frederic.

— “Tumbledown,” in which the widow of an acclaimed folk musician engages a New York professor to assist her in writing her late husband’s biography. Starring Hall and Sudeikis, directed by Sean Mewshaw.

The documentaries include Daniel Glick’s “A Place to Stand,” Jerome Thelia’s “Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play,” Robin Hauser Reynolds’ “Code: Debugging the Gap,” Erika Frankel’s “King Georges,” Miriam Abu Sharkh’s “Life Under Siege: Exploring Gaza’s Secret Tunnels,” Nick Sparks’ “Right Footed,” Jason Zeldes’ “Romeo is Bleeding,” Phil Furey’s “Since: The Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103,” Michael Messner and Barry Reese’s “The Family Next Door” and “The Uncondemned.”

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