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Update: Napa Valley 02-August-2005

Disarm Premieres at Napa Valley Film Festival

Disarm had its world premiere this weekend on the closing day of the Napa Valley Wine Country Film Festival, near San Francisco in California. Approximately 90 people including media, filmmakers, vintners, students, and film fans, attended the Sunday afternoon screening at Napa’s beautiful COPIA (American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts) venue. Festival Director Stephen Ashton moderated a Question and Answer session with Disarm Filmmaker Mary Wareham.

Events surrounding the screening included a reception at the San Rafael family home of Heidi Kuhn, Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace, a local group funding demining projects in Afghanistan, Angola, and Croatia. Roots of Peace is currently harvesting 800 tons of table grapes and melons from minefields cleared in the Shomali Valley by HALO Trust, one of the demining groups featured in Disarm.

The 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams, whose interview features prominently throughout Disarm, came to support the World Premiere. She received the Wine Country Film Festival’s annual “Humanitarian of the Year” award and spoke in a “Cinema of Conscience” panel discussion at Nickel & Nickel vineyard on the role of filmmakers in social justice issues.

Renowned Napa Valley vintners Grgich Hills and Shafer Vineyards hosted a luncheon at the home of Austin and Erika Hills, which was preceded by a symbolic planting of grapevines and a toast in the name of peace. Several Croatians attended including filmmaker Silvije Petranovich, whose film “The Society of Jesus” screened later in the evening, and legendary winemaker Miljenko “Mike” Grgich and their presence provided for interesting conversation as the next major meeting of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty is scheduled to take place in the Croatian capitol of Zagreb in late November 2005.

Thank you to everyone involved in making the premiere a success, especially Jody, Heidi, Stephen and Justine (to name just a few!).