Reel Talk

Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. We’re thrilled to announce the ninth annual Napa Valley Film Festival’s Narrative and Documentary Feature films in core competition. These sixteen films will vie for the respective titles of Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature, as determined by our esteemed jury.

The directors of the films in NVFF’s core competition categories will also participate in the festival’s unique Artists-in-Residence Program presented by Meadowood Napa Valley. The residency includes masterclasses and breakout sessions with industry leaders, as well as networking opportunities at special events throughout the festival.

The complete program lineup of approximately 80 films, including Studio Spotlights, Verge, Culinary Cinema, Special Presentations, and Narrative and Documentary Shorts will be announced in early October.

And now, without further ado, the narrative and documentary films in core competition:


Narrative Competition


Bring Me an Avocado, directed by Maria Mealla

Fun-loving parents Robin and George have their world turned upside down when a fateful event leaves Robin in a coma. While Robin is in the hospital, George does his best to keep his daughters’ spirits up with the help of family friends. Starring Bernardo Peña, Sarah Burkhalter, Molly Ratermann, and Candace Roberts.


Here Awhile, directed by Tim True

Anna returns to Oregon to reconnect with her estranged brother Michael, only to reveal that she has decided to end her life via the Death with Dignity Act due to her terminal illness. Michael tries to convince Anna to continue fighting for her life, while Anna does her best to make her remaining days as fulfilling as possible. Starring Anna Camp, Steven Strait, and Joe Lo Truglio. World Premiere


Anna Camp in Here Awhile, directed by Tim True


Justine, directed by Stephanie Turner

Struggling single mother Lisa takes a job as a nanny to Justine, an 8-year-old girl with spina bifida and two overbearing parents. While Justine’s parents believe its best to keep Justine isolated at home due to her condition, Lisa tries to form a connection with Justine to find out what her true desires are. Starring Glynn Turman, Darby Stanchfield, Josh Stamberg, Daisy Prescott, and Stephanie Turner. Northern California Premiere


Lucky Grandma, directed by Sasie Sealy

An ornery, chain-smoking Chinese grandmother goes all in at the casino, landing herself on the wrong side of luck. As she attempts to safeguard her newfound fortune, she finds herself in the middle of a gang war set in New York City’s Chinatown. Starring Tsai Chin, Corey Ha, Michael Tow, Woody Fu, Yan Xi, Wai Ching Ho, and Clem Cheung. Northern California Premiere


The Nomads, directed by Brandon Eric Kamin

Amidst the chaos of massive budget cuts and school closures, a young female teacher introduces men’s rugby to an inner-city North Philadelphia high school. Starring Tika Sumpter and Tate Donovan. West Coast Premiere


Tate Donovan, Tika Sumpter in The Nomads, directed by Brandon Eric Kamin


Run This Town, directed by Ricky Tollman

This is the story of the inner workings of a city seen through the eyes of the interns and assistants that run it. A political aide tries to corral his brash, outspoken boss when a young researcher at a newspaper gets word of a scandal that could make or break both of their careers. Starring Ben Platt, Mena Massoud, Nina Dobrev, Damian Lewis, Jennifer Ehle, and Scott Speedman. West Coast Premiere


Standing Up, Falling Down, directed by Matt Ratner

Standing Up, Falling Down is a comedy about the unlikely friendship that kindles between a struggling stand-up comedian and a tragically flawed, yet charming and charismatic, dermatologist. Each helps the other find healing, as well as the confidence to face the self-appointed failures in their lives. Starring Billy Crystal, Ben Schwartz, Eloise Mumford, Grace Gummer, Caitlin McGee, David Castaneda, Debra Monk, and Jill Hennessy.


Ben Schwartz, Billy Crystal in Standing Up, Falling Down, directed by Matt Ratner


Stealing School, directed by Li Dong

Tech prodigy April Chen is accused of plagiarism by a teaching assistant and the two must stand trial at a secret academic tribunal to determine if April is still eligible for graduation. In this game of psychological cat and mouse, someone is always one step ahead and nothing is as it seems. Starring Celine Tsai, Jonathan Keltz, Michelle Monteith, Mpho Koaho, Darrin Baker, Jonathan Malen, Matthew Edison, and Vas Saranga. World Premiere


Documentary Competition


I Am Human, directed by Taryn Southern and Elena Gaby

Meet the world’s first “cyborgs.” I Am Human follows a quadriplegic, a blind man, an amputee, a bio-hacker, a woman with Parkinson’s, as well as the scientists who help them and one entrepreneur who will stop at nothing on his quest to unlock the human brain. West Coast Premiere


Latter Day Jew, directed by Aliza Rosen

Latter Day Jew accompanies H. Alan Scott, a gay former Mormon/converted Jew/cancer survivor/writer-comedian, as he finds his spiritual path and prepares for his Bar Mitzvah at age 34.


Motherload, directed by Liz Canning

Motherload chronicles new mother Liz’s quest to understand and promote the cargo bike movement in a gas-powered, digital, and divided world.


The Pollinators, directed by Peter Nelson

The Pollinators is a cinematic journey around the United States, following migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honey bees as they pollinate the flowers that become the fruits, nuts, and vegetables we all eat.


The Pollinators, directed by Peter Nelson


The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion, directed by Lisa Cortes and Farah X

The story of how hip hop changed fashion, leading to the stratospheric and global rise of street wear. The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion is a journey of African-American creativity and the limitless possibilities of a cultural movement on a global scale.


The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion, directed by Lisa Cortes and Farah X


The Story of Plastic, directed by Deia Schlosberg

The Story of Plastic uncovers the truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling. This film introduces audiences to the heroes and the villains behind one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues.


This Is My Home, directed by Karl Nickoley

This Is My Home follows the Black Donnellys, a band comprised of two Irish immigrant musicians, who embark on an adventure to set a Guinness World Record, playing 60 shows in all 50 U.S. states in just 35 days. Northern California Premiere


Well Groomed, directed by Rebecca Stern

Well Groomed travels the humorous, visually stunning world of Competitive Creative Dog Grooming, alongside the vibrant women transforming their beloved poodles into living sculptures.


Well Groomed, directed by Rebecca Stern


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