Writer-director M. Cahill’s Porcupine starring Jena Malone is set for its California premiere at the Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF). The film, based on a true story, is about an adult woman who puts herself up for adoption and forms a bond with the misanthropic patriarch of her adoptive family.

Six other narrative features and a dozen documentary features comprise the NVFF 2021 line-up which was released this week. In total organizers say there will be 60 narrative, documentary and short films. See below for the full list of features.

“We are thrilled to present another eclectic program of highly-curated narrative and documentary films to kick-off this year’s festival,” said Cinema Napa Valley Chairman Rick Garber. “In addition, we’re excited to integrate several post-screening conversations with artists to discuss their work, showcasing their artistry and craft. We’re also continuing our Celebrity Tribute tradition and are eager to announce this year’s slate of deserving honorees in the coming days.”

The five-day festival, presented by non-profit Cinema Napa Valley, features a “blend” of art, film, food and wine.

NVFF 2021 is scheduled to take place November 10-14, 2021.

Note that NVFF is presented virtually with a streaming pass available for unlimited screenings for $99.

Napa Valley Film Festival 2021 Line-Up

Narrative Features

Fires In The Dark - Napa Valley Film Festival
‘Fires in The Dark’
  • Fires in The Dark – Set in a small village in Seventeen century France, fifteen-year-old Alan is forced to take the place of his father who has sold himself into indentured service for two years to support the family. California Premiere.
  • Moving in 2008 – Documenting a family tragedy that takes place during the recession of 2008, the film is both personal and universal with its honest depiction of a family going thru a crisis catalyzed by unemployment, personal demons, and illness. Post screening Q&A with director Calogero Carucci.
  • Porcupine – An adult woman puts herself up for adoption and forms a bond with the misanthropic patriarch of her adoptive family. Porcupine is based on a true story that stars Jena Malone. California Premiere.
  • Precarious – A young man searches for a cursed fortune in an inescapable 1960s dreamscape. A hand-built film that recalls an era of fantasy not reliant on digital effects, Precarious is a remarkable mystery story. Post screening Q&A with Director Wes Terray.
  • The Winter House – Eileen is a grieving novelist seeking to escape her troubles and rents a remote lake house in northern New Hampshire where she meets and forges a bond with Jesse, a young drifter with troubles – and secrets – of his own. Lili Taylor stars. Post screening Q&A with director Keith Boynton. California Premiere.
  • Vagabonds – Four vagabonds, with seemingly no future, will discover the meaning of hope after a chance encounter. For Jo and Faustine, two worlds collide: misery and opulence, illiteracy, and culture. One is a young woman living out of her broken car, while the other, a wannabe writer, ran away from her family and comfortable consumerist life. California Premiere. 
  • The Only One – Tom just turned thirty. She has spent her whole life chasing her wanderlust, collecting passport stamps, experiences, and stories to tell her grandchildren. Now, contemplating the question of the biological clock, she arrives on a vineyard in the south of France to revisit the one man who she ever considered settling down with. Post screening Q& with director Noah Gilbert. 

Documentary Features

Choir and Conductor - Napa Valley Film Festival
‘The Choir and Conductor’
  • The Choir and Conductor is about a visionary conductor hired when few women were given the chance to conduct and her extraordinary impact on thousands of children who love to sing together in a Choir, now world-renowned. Directed by Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, and NVFF alum Freida Lee Mock. Post screening Q&A with director Freida Lee Mock. West Coast Premiere.
  • The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses takes audiences on an odyssey throughout America to places few people have seen or even know about. There are more than 80,000 wild horses on our federal lands and more than 50,000 in government corrals, this is their story. Executive produced by Robert Redford, Patti Scialfa Springsteen and Jessica Springsteen. The film features songs by Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, and Willie Nelson. Post-screening Q&A with director Steven Latham.
  • The Art of Making It – Against the backdrop of a culture in crisis, The Art of Making It follows a diverse cast of young artists at defining moments in their careers to explore whether the art world ecosystem meant to nurture them is actually failing them. California Premiere
  • Dear Sirs – After discovering an archive detailing the horrifying journey of his grandfather as an American POW during World War II, a young man from Wyoming sets out to retrace his footsteps across Germany on bicycle in an effort to understand the most influential person in his life. California Premiere. 
  • Fireboys – Fireboys is the untold story of young men incarcerated in California who are offered a way out: by fighting wildfires. Immersive and personal, this coming-of-age story is told from the perspectives of the young men as they summon the courage to fight fires and confront their pasts. Post-screening Q&A with co-directors Jakob Hochendoner and Drew Dickler.
  • Dear Ike: Lost Letters to a Teen Idol – A boy’s fantastic dream of making movies with his teen idol finally becomes reality, but in the most unexpected way. Dion Labriola recounts his all-consuming childhood quest to contact his teen idol, Ike Eisenmann (of Walt Disney’s Escape to Witch Mountain fame). Post-screening Q&A with director Dion Labriola.
  • Meeting The Beatles in India – Filmmaker Paul Saltzman retraces his journey of 50 years ago when he spent a life-changing time with the Beatles at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram on the banks of the Ganges River In 1968. Post-screening Q&A with director Paul Saltzman. California Premiere. 
  • SET! – Once a year, a group of highly competitive table-setters vie for the “best of show” ribbon at the Orange County Fair competition. From taxidermy monkeys to table-reveal parties, eccentric personalities and old rivalries come to a head as contestants spend months preparing their tables only to be penalized by a misplaced dessert fork. Post-screening Q& with director Scott Gawlik.
  • United States vs Reality Winner – A state of secrets and a ruthless hunt for whistleblowers – this is the story of a 25-year-old NSA contractor named Reality Winner, who disclosed a document about Russian election interference to the media, and then became the number one leak target of the Trump administration. Post-screening Q&A with director Sonia Kennebeck and producer Ines Hofmann Kanna. 
  • The Book Makers – The book is dead, long live the book. The Book Makers pulls back the curtain on the people who are keeping books alive in the 21st century. From the esoteric world of book artists to the digital libraries of the Internet Archive, the film spins a tale of the enduring vitality the book. Post-screening Q&A with director James Kennard.
  • Missing in Brooks County – Two families arrive in Brooks County, Texas to look for their loved ones who went missing after crossing into the country from Mexico. On their search they meet vigilante ranchers, human smugglers, humanitarian activists, and Border Patrol agents, all of whom are locked in a proxy version of the national immigration debate.
  • Until The Wheels Come Off – To raise funds for cancer research, a 50-year-old cyclist enters Race Across America (RAAM), one of the most grueling ultra-endurance events in the world. World Premiere.

Short Programs

  • Narrative: From comedic to inspiring to thought provoking, there are three narrative short film programs, 24 films total, including a new animated film from Academy Award-winning animator Bill Plympton.
  • Documentary: Featuring compelling stories about government overreach, the arts, the environment and more, there are three documentary short film programs, 15 films total.

The Napa Valley Film Festival runs November 10-14, 2021. Passes are available for unlimited screenings for $99.

Stark Insider hopes to see you at the movies! (if not at least virtually for now…)

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