Wine Country Gone Hollywood: Napa Valley Film Festival (VIDEO)


Winemakers, Movie Magic & Mary Poppins

Wine Country Gone Hollywood: Napa Valley Film Festival: I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up in Hollywood or if it’s because I’ve always been a believer in the magic of make believe but there is something so special about watching a movie. Films can truly take you out of yourself and into another world. Someone once told me, “if you touch someone’s heart you change the world”. Movies have touched my heart and my soul more times that I can count, and that’s one of the reasons why it was such a treat for me to attend the Third Annual Napa Valley Film Festival.

If you know anything about me, then you know these are a few of my favorite things: Wine, Food and Film (in no particular order). Working as an entertainment reporter for a good part of my career, I have covered my share of red carpets, but never with a glass of wine in my hand. If you didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s Napa Valley Film Festival, or you went and want to relive the fun, then I invite you to sit back and watch this video highlighting the hottest ticket in town. We get up close and personal with Hollywood heavy hitters, get the inside info on the feel good film of the year “Saving Mr. Banks”, and get a taste of two wine films on tap: Red Obsession with director Warwick Ross and “Dossier Zinfandel”. It wouldn’t be the Napa Valley without some wines to die for, so we got our hands on the world’s most sought after wines with Benchmark Wine Group.

MONIQUE SOLTANI JOHN LEE HANCOCKIt doesn’t matter if you are a Wine Oh, a Foodie or a Film Buff; the Napa Valley Film Festival has something for everyone. Do you watch movies or drink wine as a way to relax, escape the everyday or do you want to be inspired to greatness? Maybe it’s all of the above. In the quote below, director John Lee Hancock  gave me some insight on what makes his film “Saving Mr. Banks” so special, but for me it’s that kind of magic that makes life so special.

John Lee Hancock, Director “Saving Mr. Banks”

“People find different things to like in the movie which is wonderful. But for me it’s just your script isn’t finished your script of your life isn’t finished and it can change and you never know what’s coming.”

Colin Farrell, Actor “Saving Mr. Banks”

“People seem to like the film and that’s a lovely thing. It’s lovely to be part of that. It’s lovely to be apart of something that seems to inspire some kind of level of emotional release.”

Saving Mr. Banks” opens in select theaters Friday December 13, 2013 and nationwide on December 20, 2013.

*Thank you to the Napa Valley Film Festival for allowing me to use some of their still photographs for this story.

2013 Napa Valley Film Festival Award Winners

Jury Awards for Narrative Features

Best Screenplay (Wine presented by: Roy Eisiminger of Handwritten Wines – 3L)

The Girl on the Train, Directed by: Larry Brand

Best Ensemble Cast (Wine presented by: Truchard Vineyards – 3L, and Garret Murphy of Vintner’s Collective – 3L)

The Bounceback, Starring: Zach Cregger, Sara Paxton, Ashley Bell and Michael Stahl-David, and Directed by Bryan Poyser

Best Narrative Feature (Wine presented by: Les Behrens of Behrens Family Winery – 3L)

Hank and Asha, Directed by: James E. Duff

Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography

My Brother Jack, Cinematography by: Kerim Duran and Directed by: Stephen Dest

Jury Awards for Documentary Films

Best Short Documentary (Wine presented by: Katie Leonardini of Whitehall Lane Winery – 3L)

Sky Burial, Directed by: Tad Fettig

Best Feature Documentary (Wine presented by: Doug Hill of Hill Family Estate – 3L)

Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth, Directed by: Pratibha Parmar

Special Recognition Prize for the Most Thought-Provoking Film (Wine presented by: Revolver Wine Company – 3L

The Last White Night, Directed by: Paul Saltzman

Jury Awards for Animated Shorts

Best Animated Short (Wine presented by: Derek Bromley of Hess Collection – 3L)

Sleight of Hand, Directed by: Michael Cusack

Honorable Mention (Wine presented by: Derek Bromley of Hess Collection – Magnum)

The Right Place, Directed by: Jamie Gallant

Honorable Mention (Wine presented by: Derek Bromley of Hess Collection – Magnum)

Horsepower, Directed by: Olivia Lai Shetler

Jury Awards for Narrative Short Films

Best Narrative Short (Wine presented by: Judd Wallenbrock of Jessup Cellars – 3L)

King of Norway, Directed by: Sylvia Sether

Honorable Mention (Wine presented by: Judd Wallenbrock of Jessup Cellars – Magnum)

The Romantics, Directed by: Ryan Daniel Dobson

Honorable Mention (Wine presented by: Judd Wallenbrock of Jessup Cellars Winery – Magnum)

The Listing Agent, Directed by Matthew Helfgott and Jared Hillman

Jury Awards for SONY 4K Film Challenge

SONY 4K Film Challenge (Wine presented by: Michelle Baggett of Alpha Omega – Magnum)

Weapons, Directed by: Ryan Daniel Dobson

Audience Awards

Favorite Narrative Feature (Wine presented by: Sean Sullivan of Sullivan Vineyards – 3L)

The Little Tin Man, Directed by: Matthew Perkins

Favorite Documentary Feature (Wine presented by: Favia Erickson Wines – 3L)

Finding Hillywood, Directed by: Leah Warshawski

Favorite Documentary Short (Wine presented by: Violet Grgich of Grgich Hills Estate – 3L)

Make Haste Slowly: The Kikkoman Creed, Directed by: Lucy Walker

Favorite Lounge Feature (Wine presented by: Mary Beth Salmieri of Jamieson Ranch – 3L)

Starring Adam West, Directed by: James Tooley

Favorite Lounge Short (Wine presented by: Jeff Hill of Hill Wine Company – 3L)

The Romantics, Directed by: Ryan Daniel Dobson

Favorite Animated Short (Wine presented by: Jon Emmerich & Tamara Miller of Silverado Vineyards – 3L)

Horsepower, Directed by: Olivia Lai Shetler

Favorite Actor (Wine presented by: Susan Holmer of Terlato Family Vineyards – 3L)

Andrew Pastides (who played Hank in Hank and Asha)

Favorite Actress (Wine presented by: Rosemary Hermans Walls of Swanson Vineyards – 3L)

Mahira Kakkar (who played Asha in Hank and Asha)

Favorite Narrative Short (Wine presented by: Susan Parry of Parry Cellars – 3L)

The Listing Agent, Directed by Matthew Helfgott and Jared Hillman

Food Spotting Awards

Best Menu Item (Wine presented by: Garnet – Magnum)

Alexis Handelman of ABC Bakery

Crowd Favorite (Wine presented by: Kandice Jessup of J. Gregory Wines – Magnum)

Annie the Baker

Master Foodspotter (Wine presented by: Fortunati Vineyards – Magnum)

Colleen Harmon

Host (Wine presented by: Bryan Page of Revolver Wine Company – Magnum)

Christopher Kostow

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