The Napa Valley Film Festival showcases an outstanding presentation of independent filmmaking, while also building a strong sense of community around the art of visual storytelling. Film screenings and networking events are accompanied by the world-class food and wine of stunning Napa Valley, fueling lively conversations among artists and audiences. This annual festival is put on each year by Cinema Napa Valley, a 501c3 non-profit organization which holds year-round events to enrich the local community and educate the aspiring filmmakers of tomorrow.

The 10th Annual Napa Valley Film Festival will take place November 9-14, 2021. NVFF features a variety of unique screening venues clustered throughout the Napa Valley. In addition to our standout Industry Mixer and fabulous Festival Gala, food and wine events are dispersed throughout the festival, ranging from afternoon wine-tasting receptions and culinary demonstrations to winemaker dinners and an array of parties. The festival boasts up to 90 new independent films, accompanied by sneak peeks of studio releases. NVFF strives to seamlessly fuse the craftsmanship of food and wine with the world of cinematic arts.

Visiting filmmakers have the opportunity to present their films multiple times and in different locations in order to experience the unique character and variety of the Napa Valley. This also permits our film-loving audiences to enjoy as many screenings as possible between sampling the wonderful food and wine available throughout the Napa Valley Film Festival.

NVFF welcomes films of various genres and lengths. Programmers are looking for generally uplifting films that entertain, inspire, enlighten, and captivate audiences. NVFF also features an edgier selection of films in Verge and a category for culinary-focused films as well. The categories your film may be considered for are detailed in the next section.

The directors of the Narrative and Documentary Feature films within NVFF's core competitions are also invited to partake in a unique Artists-in-Residence Program. These filmmakers will attend a multitude of intimate networking events as well as a workshop and panel series. Films in these programs must be feature length North American productions and Northern California premieres. These films are also up for both Juried & Audience Awards. Directors of films in the core competitions must be able to commit to attending the full festival.

As a nod to our local food and wine culture, we feature a full film program of both shorts and features which is dedicated to the cinematic interpretation and portrayal of the culinary arts and the greater encompassing food and beverage industries. Films in this category are often involved in curated live culinary demonstrations, promoting their films and film subjects. Eligible for Audience Awards.

The Verge category consists of an eclectic assortment of feature length films. Programmers seek bold, boundary-pushing, and innovative films to fulfill this section of the NVFF program. Films in this category come from all over the world and are up for Juried and Audience Awards.

Short films in these categories may be domestic or international productions and are up for both Juried & Audience Awards.

This category features international and domestic films portraying a wide variety of niche interest films that revolve around topics such as art, music, culture, or food. The program topics change yearly. Films in this category may be feature length or short films and are up for Audience Awards ONLY.

NVFF Founders Award
NVFF’s Founders Award will be presented each year to the director of one of the festival’s feature films whose work most captures the courageous, risk-taking and big-hearted spirit of Brenda and Marc Lhormer, co-founders of the Napa Valley Film Festival. The Founders Award honors Brenda and Marc Lhormer for their contributions both to the independent film industry and to the cultural vitality of Napa Valley and the broader San Francisco Bay Area. THE AWARD INCLUDES A $10,000 CASH PRIZE.


Best U.S. Narrative Feature
Best U.S. Documentary Feature
Special Juried Award - Acting Recognition in the Narrative Feature Category
Best Screenplay
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Verge Film
Special Juried Award - Acting Recognition in the Verge Category

Favorite Narrative Feature
Favorite Documentary Feature
Favorite Verge Film
Favorite Special Presentation
Favorite Culinary Cinema Film
Favorite Documentary Short Film
Favorite Narrative Short Film

Founders Award

Completion Date:
Films must have been completed no earlier than January 2019.

Exhibition Formats:
The NVFF operates up to 7 individual screening venues. Acceptable exhibition formats vary by venue and may include (but are not necessarily limited to) DCP and Blu Ray disc. The festival requests DVD and/or Blu Ray disc back up copies to accompany all exhibition formats. By entering your film you agree to work with NVFF to provide compatible exhibition format(s) and back ups.

Foreign language films must be made available with English subtitles.

Prior Screenings:
NVFF does not require premiere status. Entries may not be televised or widely available online before November 15, 2021. IF UNSURE OF STATUS PLEASE INQUIRE.

Distribution Status:
Films with U.S. distribution may be considered but are not eligible for the core feature competition. NVFF does not pay screening fees for films.

Support Materials:
Accepted films are requested to provide an electronic press kit including:
- Production still photos, images that accurately represent the look of the film (NOT on set photos)
- Director’s photo and biography/filmography
- Director’s statement
- Credits list
- All photos should be print-quality (300dpi) files.

Shipping Costs:
Submitters of accepted films agree to pay for shipping the exhibition copy of their film to NVFF to arrive to the festival office at least two weeks prior to the start of the festival, or by the date requested by the NVFF technical team (whichever is earlier). NVFF covers return shipping of accepted films’ exhibition copies and back up materials only. NVFF does not return marketing materials such as posters or postcards after the conclusion of the festival.

*NVFF does not provide feedback for films that are not selected for the 2021 program.

By submitting your film for consideration to the 2021 Napa Valley Film Festival, you are telling us that you have full authority to do so, that the film is cleared for potential festival exhibition, and that you accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. Submitting your film to us constitutes permission to exhibit your work at the 2021 Napa Valley Film Festival. If your film is accepted to be part of the program, you will do your best to work with us to have the film’s director and other key personnel (actors, writers, producers, etc) attending the festival to present the film and interact with the Napa audience. The Napa Valley Film Festival is also hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. You shall also indemnify and hold harmless the Napa Valley Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

Overall Rating
  • Nate Ward

    Fantastic festival. Excellent communion especially from Ian. Have had the pleasure of attending the last two years and it just keeps getting better.

    November 2019
  • taryn southern

    TOP NOTCH in every way! From the programming and events to the food & accommodations, everything was five star. We were honored to have I AM HUMAN at the festival and hope to be back in the future!

    November 2019
  • Sean Cisterna

    Napa Valley had it all. Smart film programming, enthusiastic audiences, vibrant wine/film/food panels and top-notch evening events, dinners and networking session. The 2019 edition was incredible.

    November 2019
  • Slony Sow

    What a beautiful festival! I fell in love with it, it's definitely my favorite... Excellent selection of the movies. I want to be in selection each year ;) Bravo!

    November 2019
  • Thiago Dadalt

    Great Festival, always fun, Can't wait to come back :)

    July 2019