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Napa Valley Film Festival

The Napa Valley Film Festival takes place November 11 - 15 (Wednesday - Sunday) in the four walk-able villagesof Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga. Each year the festival features 125 new independent films, 300+ filmmakers and film industry guests, 150 wineries, 30 chefs, and an array of culinary demonstrations, wine tasting pavilions, and special events.

The Napa Valley Film Festival is produced by Cinema Napa Valley, a registered 501c3 non-profit organization headquartered in Napa, California. The festival's co-creators (and Cinema Napa Valley Founders) are Brenda and Marc Lhormer, producers and distributors of the feature film BOTTLE SHOCK, about the historic upset victory by Napa Valley wines over the French at the infamous 1976 wine-tasting competition in Paris. BOTTLE SHOCK premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival before going on to international theatrical distribution. The husband-and-wife team also ran the successful Sonoma Valley Film Festival from 2001 through 2008. In addition to producing the annual Napa Valley Film Festival, Cinema Napa Valley presents special film programs throughout the year and provides support to student filmmaking programs in Napa Valley schools. To learn more, visit


Interview With Writer/Director Thiago Dadalt for 'Chocolate' (2017)


Interview With Writer/Director Thiago Dadalt for 'Chocolate' (2017)


Multi award winning short 'Chocolate' (2017) is the latest work by Brazilian writer/director/producer Thiago Dadalt. Thiago's career began with the stage as a play director; after which, he switched to film. Since producing and directing his first short film, 'The Postman', (2007), he also made films 'Life on a Leash', 'On My Way'', '2nd Time Around' and headed commercials for Unilever and Mercedes Benz. Thiago is currently based in Los Angeles where he and the executive producer Dru Miller are at work on a feature film version of 'Chocolate'.


In a recent interview with Thiago, here is what he had to say about 'Chocolate'.


What made you choose the name 'Chocolate'?

THIAGO: I think food, in general, is a very powerful reminder of the past. Food connects me a lot with Brazil. Sometimes I'll eat something that takes me back to memories of when I was 13 years old playing on our farm in Brazil. So when I was writing 'Chocolate', I thought that since the mother is a baker, the relationship between mother and daughter should have a connection with chocolate. That's how everything came together.


Is your story based on real events?

THIAGO: Chocolate came to me from events in Brazil where I grew up seeing a lot of homeless people on the streets. I always wanted to talk about that, but just didn't know how. When I arrived in the USA, I was surprised to see so many homeless people in LA, the city of the stars ... I then started to write about somebody who had a great life and suddenly ended up on the streets. In my mind, that was the only way the audience would feel connected. Alzheimers was completely new to me, and a great match for the story.


Why do you suppose the homeless population of LA has grown exponentially in recent years?

THIAGO: I was a volunteer in downtown LA at the Lamp community for two months where I had the chance to speak with people who know much of the homeless community in LA. The numbers are growing exponentially and many are with early onset Alzheimer's. This is very scary.


Was it tough to film around LA on freeways and alleys?

THIAGO: It was tough because we filmed in the beginning of July. It was super hot.


Your actors are fabulous! How did you go about casting the film?

THIAGO: It was a tiring two month process to cast. I held auditions with more than 120 actresses up until the last day, and at the last audition I found Piercey Dalton who played Eve beautifully. Joao Bounassar and Amy Argyle both worked hard to get their role.


Do you intend to make a feature on this subject?

THIAGO: Yes. The script for the feature film is ready. We are in the process of sending it to some possible investors and distributors. We plan to shoot in 2018.


Being a Brazilian filmmaker living in the US, do you think there are more opportunities in Hollywood?

THIAGO: I feel more comfortable here in the US. The equipment and professional people are more available and at a reasonable price. In Brazil, everything is still too expensive. Plus, it's not easy with all the bureaucracy, etc ...


You recently attended the Napa Valley Film Festival. How was that experience?

THIAGO: It was so far the best film festival we have been until now. Films and wine is the best combination. I also had the opportunity to meet amazing people and watch fantastic films that inspired me.


You also recently won a prestigious prize at Paramount. Can you speak about that?

THIAGO: We won most impactful short film at the Hollywood film festival at Paramount Studios. That was a great experience. Festivals and awards are a great way to bring attention to the cause and also to help make the film into a feature. I'm very grateful for all that is happening with this "little" movie.


What will you be working on next?

THIAGO: I'm working on a couple of different projects. I just shot another short film called 'Duke' about autism. I'm also working on two documentaries for 2018, as well as the feature film of 'Chocolate'. Lots to come in 2018/2019. I cannot wait for that!

For more information access







United International Film Festival L.A 2017 - BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (Andre Cheisni)





"Is given to filmmakers that use the power of film

to promote peace, justice, equality, and humanity.

A Film that has the unique ability to raise awareness and bring change".


Interview by Vanessa McMahon


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About Napa Valley Film Festival