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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 Chris Paine for 'Do You Trust this Computer' (2018) @ NVFF

A graduate from Colgate University, writer and director Chris Paine also studied documentary film at Stanford University. He is most known for his two documentary features 'Revenge of the Electric Car' (2011) and 'Who Killed the Electric Car?' (2006), which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Paine also works as a prolific producer. Some of his producing titles include independent documentaries- 'Bikes vs Cars' (2015), 'Faster' (2003) and 'No Maps for these Territories' (2000). His latest film as director 'Do You Trust this Computer' (2018) is shaking up audiences at international film festivals and screened most recently at the 8th Annual Napa Valley Film Festival. It is being sold to international markets by Cinetic Media and distributed domestically by Sony. 


You interview some very significant people in your films. Is it difficult and does it take years to track people down to speak/interview?

CHRIS: Very difficult. It takes weeks and months, especially with a high profile industry for the participants and their schedules. That is one of the key jobs of producers.

How much footage did you have at the end and did it take you a long time to film and edit? 

CHRIS: It took a year to edit down to 76 minutes run time with hundreds of hours of interviews, sidelined for future projects.

Do you think there is a solution to Frankenstein syndrome or do you think this is the beginning of the end?

CHRIS: It’s always the beginning of the end or vice versa, but these are precarious times. Mary Shelley was right. We invent our creations but they often become our masters. Solutions as ever are awareness, education action and personal action. Sitting on the sidelines is not recommended.


What advice can you give for people to at least slow down or retract the process? 

CHRIS: Ban autonomous AI weapons (even if that is not successful, it will at least expose it as the menace it is so we can be aware of ethical results and we can maybe better prep for it), democratization of AI, regulation of data and AGI efforts, bringing more women into the field, public education and exposure of hidden AI everywhere. If folks like the film, recommending to go others and reviewing it online is really helpful and will bring more people to the topic. That is REALLY appreciated.


How did you start your career as a doc filmmaker? 

CHRIS: Making films with friends in school, making videos for business clients, a year of film school, temp jobs in Hollywood (aren't they all temp jobs in Hollywood?), training as an actor and improvisor (invaluable), good liberal arts teachers and chasing my passion as an activist.


You also made 'Who Killed the Electric Car'. Do you think anything has changed since then? 

CHRIS: Fossil fuel forces are still at work slowing our better, cleaner, faster future. But electric cars are back in such a great way. Check out 'Revenge of the Electric Car' to see how it started. In short, public and private pressure plus personal leaders made a big difference. EVs are also super upgrades to the car experience. Even the big car companies know that now. Tesla is no small piece of this evolution.  


You recently attended NVFF. How was that experience?

CHRIS: Excellent! Artistic directors there brilliant and the event is very well produced. The wine and food were super. And it was fun to show our film with 'Valley of the Boom' (2018) premiering in January.


How have people responded to the film?

CHRIS: The idea was “what are smart people actually afraid of?” And most people are pretty dazzled by the answers. Our team went to lengths to make it as accurate, cohesive and entertaining as possible while compressing a lot of information and insight from some very bright people. Of course, there is some push back from some, but we are taking on a beast that represents a huge amount of electoral, military and economic power and eventually control. A few critics want more solutions from us in the film, but I believe filmmakers don’t have all the answers and I believe in audiences being able to do their own work when presented with a credible well told story.


Can you tell us about your next project?

CHRIS: More AI, human history, electric mobility,energy, philosophy and sexuality are all big interests. So many stories, so little time and always the challenges of finding enlightened financing.


View the film's website here:


Interview by Vanessa McMahon



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