Mission & Vision

The Mission of the Napa Valley Film Festival, a non-profit cultural organization, is to celebrate the cinematic arts and enrich the community by presenting an annual world-class festival and year-round education and outreach programs.

We produce the annual Napa Valley Film Festival, present special film programs throughout the year, and bring the power of cinematic storytelling to local students through Education & Outreach. Cinema Napa Valley, dba Napa Valley Film Festival, is a 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Napa, California.


Origin Story

Brenda & Marc

The Napa Valley Film Festival was founded in the summer of 2009 by Brenda and Marc Lhormer. Brenda is a San Francisco Bay Area native and a 1983 graduate of Stanford. She spent the first 15 years of her career working in marketing, public relations and special events. Marc is a native of Pittsburgh and a 1982 graduate of Yale who worked for Bain & Company and then ventured west to earn his MBA at Stanford (1986).

Brenda and Marc met while working together in 1987 at a Palo Alto-based company called Amazing Events. The pair quickly discovered shared passions for film, food, wine and travel, and frequently spent weekends in the wine country. Their romance led to a July 1991 wedding celebration in the heart of Napa Valley. In 1999, when Brenda and Marc chose to make their permanent home in wine country, they settled in neighboring Sonoma. Learning that the local film festival was in danger of shutting down, they volunteered to take charge. Brenda and Marc produced seven Sonoma Valley Film Festivals (2001 – 2008), along the way building a strong audience for independent film and showcasing the wonderful food, wine and hospitality of the Sonoma Valley.

Brenda and Marc also developed an interest in making movies, an interest which led to producing the iconic movie Bottle Shock, about California vintners triumphing over the French at the infamous 1976 Judgment of Paris. Bottle Shock was filmed over 30 days in multiple Napa and Sonoma locations during August 2007. The film enjoyed its world premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and then went on to play in 400 theaters around the country later that Fall.



In early 2009, Brenda and Marc and some local friends were pondering why there wasn’t a Napa Valley Film Festival where a movie like Bottle Shock — which tells the story of Napa’s triumph and ascendancy into winemaking prominence — would naturally have enjoyed its world premiere? They met with a few leaders in the food, wine and hospitality industry, all of whom encouraged them to go for it. The discussions revealed a fresh appetite for a signature cultural event that could unite the Valley, taking place simultaneously in Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga.

Despite an array of logistical and financial challenges, Brenda and Marc decided this would be their next entrepreneurial adventure. That summer they founded the non-profit 501c3 organization Cinema Napa Valley. Complementing their own investments of time and money, Brenda and Marc recruited a modest band of Founding Patrons and business partners who were inspired by their vision: a Fall festival that would exhibit the year’s best new independent films and preview likely Oscar and Golden Globes awards contenders, while simultaneously leveraging Napa Valley’s outstanding food, wine and hospitality to deliver an unparalleled immersive and transformative festival experience; and an organization that would support the art of independent filmmaking while also providing educational and career opportunities for local students.

In 2010, Brenda and Marc staged three single screening special events leading to the production of a six-film mini-fest that November, with a line-up that included The King’s Speech (which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture). With more support behind them and a lean and mean team on board, Brenda and Marc produced the first full-scale Napa Valley Film Festival in November 2011, with over 100 films, 250 film industry guests, 150 participating wineries, 30 chefs, and a total attendance of 24,000 over five days. Over the years, festival attendance and appreciation for independent film have grown, and Napa Valley’s cultural vitality has been enriched with an exciting new signature event.


Meet the rest of the team!


Board of Directors


Our Creative Advisors

The NVFF relies on our valued Creative Advisors in planning and executing the event each year. Here are some of the brilliant minds who influence our creative decisions.

Questions? Check out our FAQ’s


Get in touch with NVFF


PO BOX 10994 NAPA, CA 94581

(707) 226-7500

FED TAX ID #: 27-1064967