On the Red Carpet: HMS Journalism Students at NVFF 2018


Jemma Ceja Delgado and Frida Diaz-Esquivel interview actor Geena Davis at a tribute celebration in the Lincoln Theater in Yountville at the 2018 Napa Valley Film Festival on November 10.

     Napa Valley Film Festival 2018 invited young journalists from Harvest Middle School to join the working media as members of Teen Press for the third consecutive year.

     Our journalists participated in both sit-down and red carpet interviews with nearly 20 Hollywood celebrities. The following narratives detail the film festival experience for these students:





Frida Diaz-Esquivel

Actor Billy Bob Thornton is interviewed by Eyes of the Hawk journalist Frida Diaz-Esquivel on November 9 at the Lincoln Theater.

My experience at the Napa Valley Film Festival was very rewarding. As I hope to pursue journalism as a career, I got to take a peek at how journalism, media, and how the environment of professional interviews look. The first night I interviewed many celebrities walking down the red carpet from well-known actors such as Laurence Fishburne, Billy Bob Thornton, Alice Eve and Rising Star actors, Tye Sheridan and Rosa Salazar. I felt that when interviewing Laurence Fishburne ( who said I had a good question, which is a huge honor in my opinion) he was as serious as he seems on camera, and he came up with short but very genuine and thoughtful answers.  On the drive there, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be, but when the cameras were rolling and the celebrities were walking down the red carpet, I realized I was nervous and I couldn’t shake hands with celebs! I got over the wave of nerves and pushed through it with the result of great interviews.

The second night at The Film Festival, we had waited for a little over two hours for the much researched and exciting, Geena Davis. She is known mostly for playing Thelma in Thelma and Louise, amongst many other roles. She had been the celebrity that I had hoped to have a sit-down interview with, but it didn’t work out because of the flight delay caused by wildfires in Southern California. I had many questions for her and I had to narrow it down to only three (I ended up asking two long questions). Though I was disappointed by such a short time with her, I felt that Jemma (my partner) and I worked together to build our confidence and prepare ourselves for her, and she gave very detailed and encouraging answers. She was impressed by our questions. Jemma and I were also congratulated and praised for our great skills and confidence, by the media and others there. The wait was worth every minute.

The last day I mostly filmed while Jemma asked questions of the Rising Stars celebrities such as Camila Mendes, Rosa Salazar, Taissa Farmiga, and Billy Magnussen.  After she interviewed, I had my last interview of the year with another Rising Star actress, Alexandra Shipp. She was very confident with her answers and therefore, gave me confidence. Overall, this experience was everything I had hoped for, and more. This experience gave me a boost of confidence, knowledge and overall, a memory/experience I can always look back on.


Jemma Ceja Delgado

Jemma and Frida on the backstage red carpet waiting for their interview with Hollywood celebrity Geena Davis.

Attending the Napa Valley Film Festival was a fun and exciting experience. At the first red carpet event, I recorded the interviews. I was nervous about the possibility of the microphone not working, or not having sufficient lighting from where we were standing next to the red carpet which would then make it difficult to see the face of the interviewee. We had the honor of interviewing six celebrities: Alice Eve, Billy Bob Thornton, the Host, Laurence Fishburne, Tye Sheridan, and Rosa Salazar. Listening to the celebrities responses was very exciting and interesting, I feel like I did a fairly well recording the interviews.

The second day there was another red carpet with a celebrity tribute: Geena Davis. Frida and I both interviewed her for about ten minutes. We arrived there at around 4:00, however, Geena Davis’s flight had been delayed and she arrived there at around 6:30, but it was worth the wait. She seemed very impressed with our questions and her responses were very inspiring. 

The third day there was also a red carpet, but this time I interviewed the celebrities. I was mostly prepared with questions for each person and had a lot of fun. That day I interviewed Taissa Farmiga, Billy Magnussen, Camila Mendes, and Rosa Salazar. Interviewing them was very nerve-wracking but fun and interesting. When I interviewed Taissa Farmiga and Rosa Salazar they were nice to talk to and I wasn’t that limited with time so I was able to ask a few questions. Then, when I interviewed Camila Mendes I was only allowed to ask two questions. Interviewing Billy Magnussen was fun because he had said he was just as nervous as me and was trying to “articulate” his response as much as possible. It was a great experience to talk to and interview celebrities.


Carson Goodrich

My experience at the Napa Valley Film Festival was amazing. I think it was a great learning experience and being around professional journalists and seeing first hand how it works on a professional level has helped me learn a lot. In the beginning, I was nervous. I was mostly afraid that I would stutter or mess up one of my questions, but everything went well.

Joe O’Donnell and Carson Goodrich pose for a photo with actor Tye Sheridan at Cunat Vineyards during the Napa Valley Film Festival.

We started our experience on Monday, November 5 with a sit-down interview with Science Bob. It was at the Lincon Theater and Science Bob was doing some fun experiments after we viewed threes films related to science.  Joe and I were working in a pair for this interview and that gave me some confidence and in the end, it went well.

My next experience was on Saturday. It was another sit-down interview with Tye Sheridan. Again, I was working with Joe for this interview switching back and forth every few questions. Tye Sheridan was at the Film Festival for a Rising Stars panel with Camila Mendes, Rosa Salazar, Billy Magnussen, Taissa Farmiga, Alexandra Shipp.

The final event I was able to attend was the red carpet before the Film Festival Gala at Copia. On the red carpet, I was able to interview a few celebrities and also record a few interviews. One of the most well-known people I was able to interview was Stephanie Courtney, Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials.  Since this was the red carpet, the interviews were fast and only about two to three questions long. It was a much different experience from the sit-down interviews but still very fun.


Joe O’Donnell

Joe and Carson in a sit-down interview with actor Tye Sheridan who recently starred in Ready Player One

I had a great time at the NVFF, it was such an amazing and eye-opening experience. It was really cool meeting real celebrities and having the opportunity to speak with them. It was also exciting to watch other journalists interview other people on the red carpet because it gave me an idea of what they did for a living.

The first event we attended was on the Monday of the week of the Film Festival when we went to the Lincoln theater and watched three documentaries: Kodiak Queen, a film about a ship that survived the Pearl Harbor attacks, Science Fair, about an international Science Fair circuit, and The Trouble With Wolves, about the controversial reintroduction of wolves to American ecosystems. After watching the three films, we interviewed Science Bob Pflugfelder, our first real filmed interview which got us ready for our other interviews.

Then, that Saturday, we went to Materra Cunat winery to interview Tye Sheridan after he had a panel with the other rising stars. He was very nice and fun to interview because he had long answers and told us about his career.

That night, we went to our last event at the film festival gala. We interviewed actors and filmmakers on the red carpet. Carson interviewed Flo from the Progressive commercials and I met Micheal Fichtner and other great actors. It was a great experience and I got to see first-hand the lifestyle and job of a professional journalist. I am so glad I got this opportunity.

The film festival week for me was very fun and I was able to learn a lot, and I am very grateful to have had the chance to participate in this event.