Monday, December 1, 2014

Napa Valley Film Festival

Last year, while I was at the Slamdance Festival in Park City, Utah, I met the head programmer of the Napa Valley Film Festival.  I mentioned to him that I'd always wanted to visit the famed Napa Valley, plus I have relatives in Sacramento that I could also visit.  So he invited me to come this year and hold a Master Class at his festival.

On November 13, I visited beautiful historic Napa Valley for their 4th annual film festival.  I was amazed - for such a young festival, it's already become a powerhouse event, with tons of celebrities like Mike Myers, Kevin Costner, and Michelle Monaghan, among others.  Almost all the shows were sold out, even those with 1000-seat venues. Plus, they had parties galore.

Part of the attraction is the beautiful location and of course, there's also the wine.  It seemed that whereever I was, someone was offering me a delicious glass of wine, and not the cheap kind of wine I usually drink.  No, this was the GOOD stuff.  From 10 am straight through to 3 am - this was definitely not the place for any AA members to be.

The highlight for me was my last day, when I took a side trip and visited the Lasseter winery - I'd read about it many times - and of course I know John Lasseter of Disney/PIXAR fame from the old Spike & Mike days.  So my cousins from Sacramento drove me to the Lasseter Winery in Glen Ellen (of course I made a reservation first).  It's a beautiful location and because I was a friend of John, we got a first-class tour and a complete tasting of their primo wines, along with local cheeses and nuts.

I was hoping to say hello to John & Nancy, being old friends and such - however they told me they had lost their dog and were out searching for him.  I wasn't totally disappointed, after all John runs two of the biggest entertainment entities in the world, and I'm sure he needs some time to be with his family -

But definitely check out the Napa Valley Film Festival, especially if you like drinking wine and eating great food. You'll love it there.

--Bill Plympton

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