The 2018 Napa Valley Film Festival has selected its first wave of films in the narrative feature and documentary feature categories. The 18 chosen movies will screen from Nov. 7 to Nov. 11.
Narrative pics include “Grace,” directed by Devin Adair and starring Katie Cassidy, Tate Donovan, Matthew Lillard, Mircea Monroe, Debby Ryan, and Missi Pyle; “You Can Choose Your Family,” helmed by Miranda Bailey and toplining Danielle Campbell, Jim Gaffigan, Anna Gunn, Alex Karpovsky, Samantha Mathis, and Logan Miller; and “Cold Brook,” directed by William Fichtner with Kim Coates, Harold Perrineau, Robin Weigert, and Mary Lynn Rajskub.
In the documentary race, “Cancer Rebellion,” directed by Hernan Barangan, follows the lives of teenage cancer patients; “Trans Military,” helmed by Gabe Silverman and Fiona Dawson, documents the struggles of transgender servicepersons; and “Afghan Cycles,” from Sarah Menzies, tells the story of young female Afghan cyclists.
The films will compete in multiple categories at the festival, including best documentary feature and narrative feature, the special jury prize, and audience awards for favorite documentary feature and narrative feature. The festival will award $10,000 to each of the winners of documentary and narrative feature, courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley.
Around 100 films will make up the entirety of NVFF’s lineup, the remainder of which will be announced in September. Check out the full list of narrative and documentary feature entries below.
“Are You Glad I’m Here” – A Lebanese housewife and a millennial American girl bridge cultural differences to become friends. Dark secrets are aired and one night they find themselves partners-in-crime. Starring Tess Harrison and Marwa Khalil. Directed by Noor Gharzeddine. West Coast Premiere
“Ask for Jane” – Based on real events, Ask for Jane tells the story of a group of young college women who developed an underground abortion network that helped over 11,000 women get illegal abortions in Chicago between 1969 and 1973. Starring Cody Horn, Sarah Ramos, Alison Wright and Sarah Steele. Directed by Rachel Carey. West Coast Premiere
“Cold Brook” – Ted and Hilde, two ordinary men who share an extraordinary experience one evening, embark on an adventure to help a stranger find home while placing their own homes and everything they take for granted at risk. Starring William Fichtner, Kim Coates, Harold Perrineau, Robin Weigert, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. Directed by William Fichtner. West Coast Premiere
“Grace” – Charlie Elliston is a once famous author suffering from writer’s block. With his book advance spent, his agent and best friend Bernie sends him Dawn, a belligerent young woman in order to inspire and check on him – but she has some plans of her own. Starring Katie Cassidy, Tate Donovan, Matthew Lillard, Mircea Monroe, Debby Ryan, and Missi Pyle. Directed by Devin Adair. West Coast Premiere
“Only Humans” – Through her attempt to ignite a romance with a much older man, Sarah, a fiercely independent teenager, learns to appreciate not only her youth but also her overbearing mother. Starring Peri Gilpin, Micah Hauptman and Ivy Matheson. Directed by Vanessa Knutsen. West Coast Premiere
“Spare Room” – A young widow caring for her brother with Down Syndrome is drawn to a mysterious veteran who has rented her spare room. Starring Skyler Samuels and Martin Sensmeier. Directed by Jenica Bergere. California Premiere
“Tomorrow” – A war veteran struggling to find a reason to live is befriended by a man who lives every day as though it’s his last. Starring Stuart Brennan, James Cosmo, Stephen Fry, Stephanie Leonidas, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Sebastian Street. Directed by Martha Pinson. California Premiere
“When We Grow Up” – When We Grow Up follows a close-knit, albeit sometimes contentious, family brought together by an unconventional emergency that forces them to confront each other’s secrets, flaws, and temperamental inner children. Starring Catherine Curtin, Grace Hannoy, Clyde Voce, Jennifer Tsay, and Mitch Poulos. Directed by Zorinah Juan. West Coast Premiere
“You Can Choose Your Family” – A seventeen-year-old boy blackmails his father after discovering his secret second family. Starring Danielle Campbell, Jim Gaffigan, Anna Gunn, Alex Karpovsky, Samantha Mathis and Logan Miller. Directed by Miranda Bailey. California Premiere
“Afghan Cycles” – Following a new generation of young Afghan women cyclists, Afghan Cycles uses the bicycle to tell a story of women’s rights – human rights – and the struggles faced by Afghan women on a daily basis; from discrimination to abuse, to the oppressive silencing of their voices in all aspects of contemporary society. These women ride despite cultural barriers, despite infrastructure, and despite death threats, embracing the power and freedom that comes with the sport. Directed by Sarah Menzies. Napa Valley Premiere
“Cancer Rebellion” – What is it really like to have cancer as a teenager? A survivor travels to all 50 states to uncover the stories of others who’ve also been diagnosed with cancer in their youth. In a world that largely avoids the subject, their voices are a call for revolution. Directed by Hernan Barangan. World Premiere
“A Fatherless Generation” – Nathan Cheney turns the camera on himself and captures his emotional journey as he seeks the courage to face his biggest fear, his father. Along this six-year journey Cheney takes an emotional turn and discovers that he must first confront his personal demons before he can confront his father. In search of building a new relationship with his father, Cheney struggles to find the strength to overcome his own fears and move beyond his traumatic childhood. Directed by Nathan Cheney. Northern California Premiere
“Father’s Kingdom” – In the early 1900s, an African-American man named Reverend M.J. Divine began a religious movement that would reach over a million followers at its peak, crossing racial divisions and advocating for gender and economic equality. Despite his influence and achievements, Father Divine is little remembered today, dismissed by detractors as a con man and a fraud. The reason: Father Divine claimed to be God. Directed by Lenny Feinberg. Napa Valley Premiere
“General Magic” – Strap in for a fascinating tour of a slice of Silicon Valley history most people have never heard of, General Magic is a tale of how great vision and epic failure can change the world. Directed by Matthew Maude and Sarah Kerruish. California Premiere
“The Interpreters” – The Interpreters follows the lives of Iraqi and Afghan military interpreters who worked with US forces on the ground. In many cases, interpreters face danger in their countries because of their affiliation with the US war effort. This is the story of how they are rebuilding their lives. Directed by Sofian Khan and Andres Caballero. California Premiere
“TransMilitary” – TransMilitary chronicles the lives of four individuals defending their country’s freedom while fighting for their own. They put their careers and their families’ livelihoods on the line by coming out as transgender to top brass officials in the Pentagon in hopes of attaining the equal right to serve. Directed by Gabe Silverman and Fiona Dawson. Napa Valley Premiere
“The Trouble with Wolves” – Death threats, court battles, and an iconic endangered species in middle, The Trouble with Wolves takes an up-close look at the most heated and controversial wildlife conservation debate of our time. The film aims to find out whether coexistence is really possible by hearing from the people directly involved. Directed by Collin Monda. Napa Valley Premiere
“Up to Snuff” – Millions of people have been touched by his music, yet few know the journey, hardships and triumphs of American musician and composer W.G. Snuffy Walden. In Up to Snuff, friends and collaborators share personal stories, laughs and insights about this generous soul who overcame the excesses of rock and roll to find success as one of the most beloved composers in television history. Directed by Mark Maxey. California Premiere