Wine country hosts Napa Valley Film Festival just months after quake

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Some big stars are in wine country Friday night for the return of the Napa Film Festival. It?s a big step in a return to normalcy after the big earthquake in August.

Some big stars are in wine country Friday night for the return of the Napa Valley Film Festival. It's a big step in a return to normalcy after the big earthquake in August.

There's been a lot of scrambling to get ready and on Friday night, the red carpet is out.

This is the festival's fourth year and organizers had some concerns because of the quake.

Napa has 200 fewer hotel rooms and a reputation for being damaged.

Still, this weekend, the festival will draw some 10,000 people -- mostly people who like watching movies, others who want to make them.

Every person inside the arena, or pressure cooker, is an aspiring writer, pitching movie plots to a panel of experts who might give them a break.

"It's a story about two brothers who race back in time to current day 2013 to try to stop a nuclear terrorist from destroying Los Angeles," screenwriter Jeff Grace said of his film.

Or maybe there's an even better script about a small city that suffered an earthquake just a couple of months ago and how it is now the centerpiece for a film festival across the Napa Valley.

Only it's not a movie, it's reality.

PHOTOS: Bay Area earthquake damage

"It is still fresh for the locals, definitely. Anytime a big truck goes by or any car with a tremendous amount of bass, you have your instant little freeze up," Cynthia Yallop said.

Yallop is the general manager of the beautiful and classically restored Uptown Theater. It was restored twice, actually.

From photographs, it can be seen that the quake decimated the showplace. Now it's back -- just in time to show films.

Napa is almost ready for its close-up.

One window has "Thank you Napa" written on it. For weeks after the quake, the window didn't look that good.

Thanks Napa

The store charged a dollar per picture to raise money for a new one. Just a couple of weeks ago, it was replaced.

Employee Linda Coffee describes this as being symbolic. "It says, 'This is a town that cares about its community as a whole,'" she said.

Better yet, one getting back on its feet, with people on sidewalks, eating in restaurants and, yes, pitching their movies.

"It is hard enough to write a screenplay that's 90 pages. It's a lot harder to tell the story in a minute," film writer Patti Parisi said.

But not as hard as recovering from the Quake of 2014.

This film festival isn't just in Napa. It's in Yountville, it's in Saint Helena, it's in some 15 venues with 150 screens. Everyone is expecting to watch a lot of movies this weekend.
Related Topics:
entertainmentcelebrityfilm festivalearthquakesouth napa earthquakenapa countydestroyed businessesdestroyed homesYountvilleNapa
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