I was happy to be invited for the second year to serve on the jury for narrative features with Dan Mirvisch, indie filmmaker and founder of Slamdance, Dana Harris, editor in chief of Indiewire, Morrie Warchawski, author of Shaking the Money Tree and former Executive Director of the Bay Area Video Coalition and The Media Project. We had a spirited discussion about the films we saw, drank a lot of great wine at marvelous receptions and had a superb dinner in the dining room of the Black Stallion Winery which is on the former site of the famous Napa Valley Equestrian Center and has been owned by three generations of the Indelicato family. Chef Misty Phelps prepared a wonderful meal which we shared with invited guests, Hollywood Foreign Press members Patricial Danaher from Ireland and Dierk Sindermann who was on the doc jury and is a correspondent for 10 European publications. It was the second great dinner I had with HFP folks, the previous one being at Spago after the screening of Japan's Like Father Like Son. These Hollywood Foreign Press people live a nice life because they love films so much! Their love of film is proven because the small indies, foreign language and doc films are not what their employers pay them to see or review. Their love of film brings them to see these films in addition to the star studded blockbusters. I digress because I am beginning to love the HFP members, sharing dinners as we do, there are always interesting conversations as well. Other filmmakers and jury members were served equally special dinners at the Alpha Omega and Chappellet Reserve, Beaulieu Vineyards, Bello Family Vineyards and Cardinale. Films, food and wine truly served as catalysts for conversation.
We awarded The Best Narrative Feature Prize to Hank and Asha (www.hankandasha.com) directed by James E. Duff. It had previously won the Audience Award at Slamdance and won at Portland, Brooklyn, Rhode Island and Woods Hole Film Festivals. It was a beautifully shot near-romance of an Indian film student in Prague who connects via webcam with a New York based filmmaker whose film she admired when she was the the Prague Film Festival. Their intercultural exchange leads to a love and affection which is never culminated by a meeting.
The Audience Favorite for Documentary Feature went to Finding Hillywood (www.findinghillywood.com) directed by Christopher Towey and
Leah Warshawski (the daughter of our own jury member, Morrie Warchawski). This film has played in numerous festivals and garnered many awards and much
attention as it shows the fledgling Rwandan filmmaking community.
Here are the other awards!
Best Narrative Feature: Hank and Asha directed by James E. Duff
Best Feature Documentary: Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth directed by Pratibha Parmar
Best Short Documentary: Sky Burial directed by Tad Fettig
Best Animated Short: Sleight of Hand directed by Michael Cusack
> Honorable Mention: The Right Place directed by Jamie Gallant
> Honorable Mention: Horsepower directed by Olivia Lai Shetler
> Honorable Mention: The Romantics directed by Ryan Daniel Dobson
> Honorable Mention: The Listing Agent directed by Matthew Helfgott & Jared Hillman
Special Jury Prize for Most Thought Provoking Film: The Last White Knight directed by Paul Saltzman
Favorite Narrative Feature : The Little Tin Man directed by Matthew Perkins
Favorite Actor : Andrew Pastides, Hank & Asha
Favorite Actress : Mahira Kakkar, Hank & Asha
Favorite Documentary Feature : Finding Hillywood directed by Christopher Towey and Leah Warshawski
Favorite Documentary Short : Make Haste Slowly: The Kikkoman Story directed by Lucy Walker
Favorite Animated Short : Horsepower directed by Olivia Lai Shetler
Favorite Lounge Feature : Starring Adam West directed by James Tooley
Favorite Lounge Short
: The Romantics directed by Ryan Daniel Dobson
Next year's Napa Valley Film Festival will take place on 12-16 November 2014. To buy passes visit HERE