Looking back at the 2011 Napa Valley Film Festival

Going  to my sister and brother-in-law’s house is pretty much the only time I watch movies. They have some kind of streaming service (can you tell I pretty much only watch free TV?!?) where they get loads of movies and TV shows at the click of a button. Since they’re just entertainment fanatics, they usually have something showing in the background. So after gorging on tons of food and watching my nephew open present after present for his third birthday, I somewhat watched Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan. It also stars Jeffrey Wright, an actor whom I’ve actually seen in real life! “Look honey! It’s the guy we saw at the Napa Valley Film Festival!”

In November of last year, we had the opportunity to go to the inaugural Napa Valley Film Festival. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves movies and wine. I wrote a piece about it in my Examiner.com column beforehand. The event itself was much more than I expected. But really, I should’ve expected that an area as sophisticated and moneyed would have no problem pulling of such a grand event in its very first year. The festival spans several cities and to really experience everything, you need at least two days. We loved visiting the wine pavilions, watching the food demonstrations, and lounging in the VIP hospitality lounges. We watched one film, Butter, starring Jennifer Garner. I highly recommend that film if you like dark comedies.

The starriest night was the Tribute gala, hosted by Access Hollywood‘s Billy Bush. On stage, he spoke at length with Jeffrey Wright about his humanitarian achievements and acting. He’s one of those actors whom you may not know by name but will probably recognize since he has had such a prolific career. Another actor to come to stage was Judy Greer, another professional who’s been in countless movies and TV shows. Before the gala, there were plenty of glamorous-looking people mingling in the lobby, drinking bubbly and eating hors d’oeuvres. We were standing close to Scott Wolf, of Party of Five fame.

Instant wine anyone?

Passes for the 2012 festival are already on sale. Hopefully, I’ll go again. *Fingers crossed*

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