Nab Your Pass: Napa Valley Film Festival

Mid-November may be off in the distance, but spots at this cinema fave are filling up.

AUGUST AT THE MOVIES... is a funny time of the year. Sometimes actually funny, as in ha ha ha, as in being tickled and delighted, but also funny because the films, and what the film goer wants, is in transition. Unlike May, June, and July, where blockbusters and big budgets rule the multiplexes, August serves as something of a hybrid month, spanning the giant films of early summer and the award-nod fare that tends to arrive in the fall. Throw in an occasional surprise sleeper of an offbeat genre -- "The Sixth Sense" was an August film -- and you have a month where moviedom feels a bit looser, a bit livelier, a bit more anything-can-happen. That movie-based anything-can-happen-ness should be applied to film happenings you may want to attend in the fall, for now is the time to book your seat, your place, your ticket, your pass, without delay. Telluride and Toronto are nearly here, but Napa Valley Film Festival is a bit further out on the horizon, a middle-of-November treat that gives both the film industry and food-and-wine players equal airtime. It shouldn't surprise anyone, in the surprising month of August, that passes are going at this autumn legend of a party, so if you want to go, and hobnob, and sip, and see sleepers and possible Oscar winners, clear your calendar on...

NOV. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15: If you can do all five days, well, hooray -- that's quite the vacation full of cinema and chardonnay. But you can dip into the panel-packed, party-packed to-do, for just a day, if you wish. The 2015 guide is still to come, but the 2014 shindig screened some 127 films and presented a diverse slate of talks and happenings. Women Behind the Camera, The Chef and The Farmer, and Celebrity Tributes galore have filled out past NVFF grids. You know the good stuff is coming, both filmly and foodly, so why wait if you're going to go? Go here and pass up, soon. August's quirky film character reminds us that autumn is nigh and, with it, so is a mondo meal-and-movie brouhaha in Napa Valley.

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