Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) Co-Founders and Directors Brenda and Marc Lhormer have announced a series of launch events taking place January 23 and 24 during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Featuring acclaimed Napa Valley Chef Michael Chiarello of Bottega restaurant and NapaStyle as well as 16 of Napa Valley’s finest wineries, the events are designed to introduce NVFF, an official Sundance Institute Associate, to Sundance Film Festival industry guests and attendees from around the world.

Showcasing the best of new independent cinema while embracing the epicurean pleasures of Napa Valley, the festival will debut November 9-13, 2011 with a five-day festival spread over four of the Napa Valley’s postcard-perfect towns.

“We couldn’t think of a more appropriate venue for announcing the new NVFF than at the world’s pre-eminent independent film festival, the Sundance Film Festival,” said NVFF Co-Founder Brenda Lhormer. “We are thrilled to partner with the team at the exceptional and prestigious St. Regis Deer Valley, which shares our goal of creating extraordinary guest experiences.”

“We are so pleased to welcome NVFF into our community and are grateful for their support,” said Sarah Pearce, Director of Operations, Sundance Film Festival. “Our hope is that many of the artists we support here in Utah each January will have the opportunity to present their works in Napa Valley in November.”

The NVFF events at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival kick off with a reception and an exclusive VIP dinner at The St. Regis Deer Valley on Sunday, January 23. On Monday, January 24, invited guests will be treated to an unparalleled food and wine tasting experience in downtown Park City at the NVFF Launch Party, sponsored by The St. Regis Deer Valley. The party will feature a taste of Napa Valley’s finest food, wine and hospitality – a preview of what to expect at the first annual NVFF in November 2011. Renowned Chef Michael Chiarello, of Bottega restaurant in Yountville, as well as Top Chef Masters finalist and Emmy-winning host of the Food Network’s Easy Entertaining, will design the multi-course menus. The area’s world-famous wines will be represented by an array of premium Napa Valley wineries, including Cimarossa, Farella Park Vineyards, John Anthony Vineyards, Allora Vineyards, David Arthur Vineyards, Gemstone, Parallel Napa Valley, Raymond Vineyard and Cellar, Salvestrin, Staglin Family Vineyard, Terlato Wine Group, Tom Eddy Winery, Chiarello Family Vineyards, Gargiulo Vineyards, Matthiasson, and Schramsberg Vineyards.

“The St. Regis Deer Valley is delighted to help launch the Napa Valley Film Festival,” stated Michael Zaccaro, managing partner of Deer Crest Janna, LLC, the owner of The St. Regis Deer Valley. “We applaud the pairing of fine food and great wines with the art of independent film.”

The St. Regis Deer Valley, a stunning hotel on the slopes of the Deer Valley Resort, will host the invitation-only Napa Valley Film Festival Reception and VIP Dinner on Sunday, January 23. The Reception will take place in the lobby of The St. Regis Deer Valley, where guests can enjoy Napa Valley wines and Chef Chiarello’s appetizers. The exclusive VIP dinner will take place in The St. Regis Deer Valley Wine Vault – with a cellar of more than 8,000 bottles of wine – offering an intimate setting for guests to experience Chef Chiarello’s five-course dinner.

On Monday, January 24 the NVFF Launch Party, sponsored by The St. Regis Deer Valley, will be held at the “Sundance House presented by HP,” which will be turned into a “Napa Valley Barrel Cellar” for one night only. Designed to give invited Sundance Film Festival attendees a hint of Napa Valley in a snowy location, the venue will be transformed into a wine cellar tasting room featuring food stations with Chef Chiarello’s famous dishes and a selection of award-winning wines from the Napa Valley wineries. Guests will have the opportunity to mingle with Chef Chiarello as well as the many winemakers in attendance. Providing party guests a sample of the luxurious St. Regis Deer Valley experience, the hotel will recreate its signature St. Regis Wine Vault dining area within the NVFF Launch Party space. In St. Regis tradition, this exclusive area will be attended by the legendary St. Regis Butlers, known for their flawless personalized attention.

The inaugural NVFF (November 9-13, 2011) plans to present more than 50 new films, including narrative features, foreign films, documentaries, short films, and student works. Discussion panels with industry executives, Q&A sessions with the filmmakers, food and wine tastings, opening and closing night premieres and parties, awards ceremonies, VIP receptions, and celebrity tribute programs are all key ingredients rounding out the full NVFF experience. NVFF will also feature a unique community-focused footprint, with screening and hospitality venues clustered in four walk-able villages in Napa Valley’s distinctive small cities and towns: Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. Films and filmmakers will travel from village to village, while festival attendees can choose whether to remain in one community or to sample the different venues.

Participation opportunities for the inaugural NVFF are available now, with Passes on sale at discounted rates until March 31. Also available are a limited number of Founding Patron Packages ($2,500) that offer a fully immersive VIP experience.

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.