The 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival Experience


Harvest student Emily O’Rourke is surrounded by news media while covering a red carpet event at the 2017 Napa Valley Film Festival at the Uptown Theater in Napa.

          From November 8-12, several Eyes of the Hawk reporters were invited to participate in the Teen Press experience at the Napa Valley Film Festival.  It is often difficult to get up close and personal with movie industry celebrities, but these students had the opportunity to interview many of the actors and directors whose films were featured in competition. This week of food, wine, and film brings many cinema enthusiasts to the Valley. The following are personal accounts of the week:


Ida Killebrew

The first event I covered was with Lea Thompson and Madelyne Deutch, a mother-daughter pair who produced and acted in a movie together titled Year of Spectacular Men.  Madelyn’s sister, Zoey Deutch, was not present at this event but also acted in the film. They discussed how exciting it was, getting to share the thrills of filmmaking with loved ones.

The following day we were sent to meet Elijah Wood, a celebrity actor best known for his main role as Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Elijah had been featured in a documentary about the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.  He talked about his love for Hitchcock’s filmmaking and how he produced such memorable films.  After being told the key to a good British accent (much more complicated than it sounds) we took a few pictures and Day 2 came to a close.

The final event I had the fortune to attend featured the most sought-after celebrity of the week, Will Ferrell, a comedian starring in many different movies.  I had the role of filming the interview.  Will Ferrell cracked many jokes and spoke of his childhood.  Afterward, we decided to stay for the actual event.  Will answered questions about his many movies and his past role on Saturday Night Live.  

The Napa Valley Film Festival proved to be a week filled with new experiences for me.  From interviewing celebrities to getting home late evenings, the event showed me the chaotic but rewarding role the media has in red carpet events like this one.

Doug Bozzini

My experience this year at the Napa Valley Film Festival was amazing! I think it was a great opportunity for me to see other professional journalists and see how they would normally do their jobs.

It was great to meet Nnamdi Asomugha, an actor and former NFL star, as well because he seemed like a guy that is a great role model to young athletes like myself.

I wish I would have had more time to go on other days because my other NVFF colleagues said it was awesome. I thought it was great to go because I got to do it with my school journalism class and I got to interview a celebrity.

Jed Rubin

I had an amazing time at NVFF 2017. It was really an awesome experience and I learned so much. I started off just doing photography and shooting video. Doing that was surprisingly nerve-racking because I was really worried that I was going to mess up.

My first video assignment with actor Nnamdi Asomugha’s  was a small event because he was the only one crossing the red carpet and it was very low key, but even then I was super nervous.

My next time on the red carpet was at the Lincoln Theatre where I was even more nervous because I was taking pictures of super famous people.

Surprisingly the least scary part was when I was interviewing people because once my adrenaline kicked in I had no fears and I think that I asked some really good questions. Overall it was a really incredible experience and I am really glad I did it.


Emily O’Rourke Wall

For my first interview/red carpet showing we went to the Uptown Theater for Lea Thompson and Madelyn Deutch. I went with Ida and Amelia. We showed up at the theater about 45 minutes before the actual interview so we did wait around for a while. It was really crowded, much more crowded than I expected. After an hour or so, Lea Thompson and Madelyn Deutch showed up. When I first realized they were here in the same place as me, I became nervous, but not the scared nervous, the excited nervous. They first posed for pictures and then got interviewed by a few people before coming over to me. I  asked two questions and after that I got a picture with them :).

On Day 2 the first red carpet I went to was with Amelia and Jed at the Lincoln Theater. At that event I was only recording video. There weren’t as many people, but it sure was crowded. There was a full-on camera to the left of us and Blue Oak School to the right. There wasn’t much space to record and I kept getting bumped by other journalists. Amelia and I decided to leave early because it seemed to be running later than we had expected, and we had another event to attend. That event  was with Elijah Wood. I was taking pictures, Ida was interviewing, Amelia was recording and Jed was taking more pictures.

Nathaniel Alvelo

My experience with the Napa Valley Film Festival was amazing. Since we had media passes that let us go anywhere, it was pretty cool. I personally loved that we got to meet and interview lots of celebrities. I got to interview Will Ferrell! It was awesome, but I was really nervous. At first I thought this can’t be that hard, and when I saw him I was like, “Oh my god, that’s Will Ferrell, he’s right there!” It was a once in a lifetime experience and I am glad that I got to be a part of the Napa Valley Film Festival group.

Katie Haubold 

Being able to go to, and interview, at the Napa Valley Film Festival was a great opportunity.  I’m really grateful that I got to interview actors Alex Wolff and Will Ferrell. I’m also so happy to see what real journalism was like and how it can be really crazy and fun. I think that it was really cool to see a movie made by the person we were interviewing or they were acting in it, and then we got to meet them right after.

It was also really cool that they worked super hard to make a movie and people paid to see it. I liked that even though they were celebrities, they were still really down to earth, funny, and super nice to the interviewer, because it made me feel more comfortable interviewing them.