Program Goals:

  • To expose students to films, filmmakers and subjects that open the conversation about critical social, relevant and timely issues in students’ lives by screening and discussing socially conscious films.
  • To provide instruction and resources through select workshops, as well as internships and summer opportunities, that will inspire and motivate those students with a desire to pursue filmmaking as a means of self-expression.
  • To reach more than 3,500 students, parents and other community members throughout the year through unique programs both in school and in the community.

Filmmakers in the Schools

A selection of NVFF special feature films are offered to teachers to screen in the classroom the week prior to the festival. NVFF invites the filmmakers, film subjects, producers, and actors that are in town during the festival to visit classrooms to engage in discussions surrounding the topics addressed within the films.

Special Screenings for Students and the Community

NVFF hosts and sponsors powerful film screening events for students, parents, and educators within the community, throughout the year. NVFF seeks to provide a bridge to the young community by opening up discussion across the valley. This thought-provoking program is in collaboration with many Napa Valley organizations and has already served over 10,000 students in 12 schools valley-wide since 2011.

2016 examples include:

  • The Mask You Live In, February 2016, at Vintage High School
  • Romeo is Bleeding, March 2016, at the Napa Unified School District Auditorium


INSPIRE is a multi-school field trip to the Lincoln Theater in Yountville during the week of the film festival. 1,200 Napa County middle and high school students gather to watch documentary films and participate in extended discussions with both the filmmakers and their inspirational subjects.

INSPIRE is a core component of NVFF’s Education & Outreach Programs.

Student Short Film Competition

The Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) is proud to partner with both NapaLearns and the Napa County Office of Education to announce the 2017 Napa County Student Short Film Competition for high school students interested in becoming the next Kubrick, Scorsese, or Spielberg. Launching on Tuesday, January 31, NVFF organizers will launch a call for submissions for Narrative Short films from any high school age students who live or study in Napa County.

Basic eligibility requirements of the competition are as follows:

Participating students must be of high school age living and/or studying in Napa County (at either a public or private institution or homeschooled).

Students must have signed consent from a teacher or guardian for participation and submission of films.

Submission Requirements:

  • Be 5 minutes in length (with a 15-second grace allowance for credits)
  • Be in a narrative format (no documentaries or public service announcements)
  • Contain non-copyrighted material (music, images, etc.)
  • Have school-appropriate content (no profanity, sexual content, drug/alcohol use)

Films will be selected in part by the following criteria:

  • Story/Script Originality
  • Quality of Cast/Talent
  • Technical Quality
  • NVFF Audience Appeal

Submit Your Film

There are no fees to submit, and the submission deadline ends June 2, 2017. Winners will be announced in July.

Professional Filmmakers Available for Classroom Instruction & Workshops

NVFF aims to provide instruction and resources for in-classroom presentations or workshops as well as hands-on internship opportunities in an effort to inspire and motivate those students with a desire to pursue filmmaking as a means of self-expression.

Recent special in-classroom presentations:

  • Anthony Lucero, Director of East Side Sushi
  • Jimmy Baca, Poet/Author, Subject of A Place to Stand

Teen Press (Blue Oak Grape Press)

In 2015, NVFF accepted a wonderful short documentary film into the festival called Teen Press, directed by NVFF alum TC Johnstone (Rising from Ashes). We were blown away by the film about two middle school teachers in Santa Barbara - John and David - who designed a new after-school program focused on developing young students' listening, research, and interviewing skills.

First, students learned how to interview celebrities on the red carpet at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. Then they started talking to social activists, politicians, social workers, international figures and more.... people who make a difference in the world.

When TC reached out and asked how NVFF could help broaden this program across the country, we began a pilot program with the Blue Oak Middle School, and teacher Lizzie Moore. A new program was born- GRAPE Press.

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