Cinema Napa Valley, which presents the Napa Valley Film Festival, has named Michael Polenske as new CEO and creative director. Polenske, who assumes the role immediately, will be responsible for overseeing the creative direction of Cinema Napa Valley and the Napa Valley Film Festival.
Polenske is the creative director, chairman and founder of the ÆRENA Galleries & Gardens with locations in downtown Napa, St. Helena and Healdsburg, as well as the sculpture garden at Auberge du Soleil. He is the founder of Bespoke Collection composed of three wine projects: Blackbird Vineyards, ÆRENA Wines and Recuerdo Wines. Bespoke Collection has created private label wines for musicians such as The Foo Fighters, The Killers and Martina McBride, as well as global brands like Lyft, Morton’s Steakhouse and Salesforce.
In 2008, Polenske created Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, which he sold to RH in 2014. Previously, he had a career in financial services and served as president and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank & Trust Co., N.A., heading up the private banking business in the western U.S. Polenske is a founding board member of Festival Napa Valley.
The annual festival, canceled this year by the Covid-19 pandemic, will return Nov. 10-14, 2021.
Meanwhile, for this year, Cinema Napa Valley will present a “Dinner and a Movie” series on Nov. 12-14, showing three films that played at the festival in previous years with virtual appearances from the films’ filmmakers and stars.