The inaugural Napa Valley Film Festival opens Wednesday, Nov. 9, in the picturesque communities of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. A must for cinephiles, foodies and wine lovers alike, the five-day "extended weekend" features a premier selection of independent films and hotly anticipated Oscar contenders, as well as conversations with some of the most exciting actors, directors, producers and writers working in movies today.
The festivities kick off with Sneak Preview Night at the Yountville Community Center, featuring Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the first-ever FBI director, the face of American law enforcement for almost 50 years, whose enigmatic public persona was only slightly more controversial than the wild rumors about his private life.
The party continues the next night with Alexander Payne's The Descendants, a bittersweet comedy, based on Kaui Hart Hemmings' 2007 novel, about a land baron (George Clooney) trying to reconnect with his estranged daughters after his wife slips into a coma. Adding to his frustrations is the dawning realization that his dearly beloved was involved with another man.
The movie, which is already generating strong Oscar buzz, makes its West Coast premiere Nov. 10 at the Napa Valley Opera House, where NVFF pass-holders will enjoy a rare opportunity to meet Descendants co-stars Judy Greer (TV's Arrested Development) and Matthew Lillard (Scream).
Sundance favorite Like Crazy closes the festival on Sunday, Nov. 13, also at the Napa Valley Opera House. Felicity Jones (The Tempest) stars as a British student separated from her American boyfriend (Anton Yelchin, of this summer's Fright Night) after she overstays her visa.
For tickets, showtimes and more information, visit the festival's official site, or consult the official NVFF program guide, available in print and online Oct. 4. Those interested in attending can receive $50 off a Festival Pass or Pass Plus using the discount code MP-7X7, and receive updates (including announcements of just-added attractions like the Jennifer Garner comedy Butter) by visiting the NVFF's Facebook and Twitter pages.