Film Independent, MUBI Present a Live Read of ‘Napoleon Dynamite’

Press Contact: Seanna Hore, Ginsberg/Libby

Gladys Santos, Ginsberg/Libby


Directed by Natalie Morales at The Wallis on June 12

Atsuko Okatsuka, Rachael Leigh Cook, Sam Richardson, Rachel Bloom,
Annie Gonzalez, Keyla Monterroso Mejia, Anthony Hill,
Cyrina Fiallo, Britt Morgan and Justin Kirk to star

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 10, 2024) — Make yourself a dang quesa-dilluh and grab some tots… Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and Film Independent Presents – a year-round program offering screenings, conversations and other unique cinematic experiences – has partnered with MUBI and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts to present a Live Read of Napoleon Dynamite. Get ready for plenty of laughs (and glamour shots) at Searchlight Pictures’ 20th (gosh!) Anniversary celebration of this unforgettable classic.

Actor, writer and director Natalie Morales (Plan B, Language Lessons, Parks and Recreation, Dead to Me) will direct this quirky comedy written by Jared and Jerusha Hess, and directed by Jared Hess. Join Napoleon and his eccentric friends and family (Kip, Grandma, Uncle Rico, Deb, Pedro, Tina the llama) for their wonderfully awkward adventures in small-town Idaho, reinvented by a cast of outstanding actors. Hilarity and iconic dance moves await you at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts’ Bram Goldsmith Theater on Thursday, June 12. Confirmed performers include Atsuko Okatsuka (The Intruder) Rachael Leigh Cook (She’s All That), Sam Richardson (The Afterparty), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Annie Gonzalez (Flamin’ Hot), Anthony Hill (Grey’s Anatomy), Keyla Monterroso Mejia (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Cyrina Fiallo (Life in Pieces), Britt Morgan (Riverdale) and Justin Kirk (Succession).

“I am honored to get to direct a live reading of the most influential film of the last generation with a cast of incredible performers. Napoleon Dynamite let us all be okay with being weird and, on June 12, we get to celebrate that weird in full form for its 20th anniversary, and I couldn’t be more gosh darn excited.” said Natalie Morales.

Natalie Morales is an actor, writer and award-winning director and activist, who made her simultaneous directorial debut in 2021 with the Hulu Original film Plan B, and the SXSW Audience Award-winning feature Language Lessons, which she co-wrote and co-starred in.

On television, Natalie can be seen as Doctor Monica Beltran in season 20 of Grey’s Anatomy. Natalie also appeared in the 3rd season of Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, and she recently reprised her role as “Michelle” alongside Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in the final season of the Netflix series Dead to Me. She starred in NBC’s Abby’s as the titular character, and recurred on HBO’s The Newsroom and Girls, NBC’s Parks & Recreation and Mr. Mayor, as well as Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet, where she was reunited with her Going the Distance co-star, Drew Barrymore. She also voices “Yolanda Buenaventura” on Netflix’s popular animated series BoJack Horseman and “Betty DeVille” on Paramount+’s Rugrats. You may also remember her from the Fox comedy The Grinder and Trophy Wife on ABC, as well as the USA series White Collar and the ABC Family series The Middleman. She has directed episodes of NBC’s Mr. Mayor, HBO’s Duplass Brothers’ anthology Room 104, and the Go90’s hit series Mr. Student Body President.

Natalie stars opposite Academy Award winners Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris in the feature film My Dead Friend Zoe. The film premiered this year at SXSW and won the Narrative Spotlight Audience Award. Natalie can also be seen on Netflix starring alongside Jennifer Lawrence in the R-rated comedy No Hard Feelings, and on Hulu opposite Jake Johnson in Self-Reliance and Anthony Mackie in If You Were The Last.

It’s the high school reunion you don’t want to miss: 20 years after we first met him, we’re reintroduced to Napoleon Dynamite, an outcast high school student in Idaho who spends his days drawing mythical beasts, duking it out with his fragile brother Kip, and avoiding his Uncle Rico, who is stuck in his “glory” days of high school football. When friends Deb and Pedro come into Napoleon’s life, the trio launch a campaign to get Pedro elected class president. Together, they must rely on their knowledge of cows, wigs and piñatas – and a surprise special talent – in order to defeat the stuck-up frontrunner, Summer Wheatly. Sporting sweet Moon Boots and elite tetherball skills, when Napoleon Dynamite finds himself thrust into the spotlight, he emerges as a new kind of hero.

Past Live Read guest directors and their chosen scripts include Justine Triet (Anatomy of a Fall), Marlee Matlin (Sunset Boulevard), Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body), Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness), Ben Schwartz (Back to the Future), Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight), Olivia Wilde (Hannah and Her Sisters) and Marvin Lemus (L.A. Story), among others.

Previous Live Read guests include Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary), Riley Keough (Under the Bridge), Nicholas Braun (Succession), Ayo Edebiri (The Bear), Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso), Troy Kotsur (CODA), Alison Brie (Apples Never Fall), Simona Tabasco (The White Lotus), Tessa Thompson (Creed III), Taika Waititi (Thor: Love and Thunder), Steven Yeun (Nope), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Maya Erskine (Mr. and Mrs.Smith) and many more.

Discounted tickets for Wallis subscribers and Film Independent Members went on sale Thursday, May 30 at 12:00 pm PT and were made available to the public starting Monday, June 3 at 12:00 pm PT. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. To purchase tickets and for more information, please call 310-746-4000 or visit

Film Independent Presents is supported year-round by Lead Sponsor The Golden Globe Foundation. Additional support for this special event at the Wallis is provided by MUBI. Special thanks to Searchlight Pictures for making this event possible.


For over 40 years, Film Independent has helped filmmakers get their projects made and seen. The nonprofit organization’s core mission is to champion creative independence in visual storytelling in all its forms, and to foster a culture of inclusion. We support a global community of artists and audiences who embody diversity, innovation, curiosity and uniqueness of vision.

In addition to producing the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the organization supports creative professionals with Artist Development programs, grants and labs. Signature mentorship program Project Involve fosters the careers of talented filmmakers from underrepresented communities. Education events and workshops equip filmmakers of all ages and experience levels with tools and resources. Global Media Makers, a cultural exchange program produced in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, provides career-building opportunities for international film professionals. And year-round screening series Film Independent Presents offers a robust program of unique cinematic experiences, including screenings, conversations, Live Reads and Bring the Noise musical events.

For more information or to become a Member, visit

About MUBI

MUBI is a global streaming service, production company and film distributor dedicated to elevating great cinema. MUBI creates, curates, acquires and champions visionary films, bringing them to audiences all over the world.

MUBI is a place to discover ambitious films, from both iconic directors and emerging auteurs. All carefully chosen by MUBI’s curators. With MUBI GO, members in select countries can get a free ticket every week to see the best new films in cinemas. And Notebook explores all sides of cinema culture — both in print and online.

Some recent and upcoming MUBI Releases include: Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance, Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, Ira Sachs’ Passages, Pedro Almodóvar’s Strange Way of Life, Molly Manning Walker’s How to Have Sex, Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves, Kevin Macdonald’s documentary High & Low — John Galliano, Rodrigo Moreno’s The Delinquents, Felipe Gálvez’s The Settlers, Aftersun from Charlotte Wells, Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave, Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World, Lukas Dhont’s Close, and Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman.

MUBI Productions include Karim Aïnouz’s Rosebushpruning starring Kristen Stewart, Josh O’Connor and Elle Fanning; Christopher Andrews’ Bring Them Down starring Christopher Abbott and Barry Keoghan; Elizabeth Sankey’s Witches; Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross’ Gasoline Rainbow; and Zia Anger’s My First Film starring Odessa Young and Devon Ross. MUBI Co-productions include Michel Franco’s Memory starring Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard; Mia Hansen-Løve’s One Fine Morning starring Léa Seydoux; Ekwa Msangi’s Sundance prize-winner Farewell Amor and Rachel Lang’s Our Men.

Founded in 2007 by Efe Cakarel, MUBI is the biggest community of film lovers, anywhere. Available across 190 countries, with more than 16 million members around the world. MUBI acquired renowned sales agent and production company The Match Factory and Match Factory Productions in January 2022, and a majority stake in leading Benelux film distributor Cinéart in February 2024.

About the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is a dynamic cultural hub and community resource where local, national and international artists share their artistry with ever-expanding audiences. The campus, located in the heart of Beverly Hills, CA, is committed to robust and distinctive presentations and education programs curated with both creativity and social impact in mind. Distinguished by its eclectic programming that mirrors the diverse landscape of Los Angeles and its location in the entertainment capital of the world, the Wallis has produced and presented more than 350 theater, dance, music, film, cabaret, conversation, and family entertainment programs since its doors opened in October 2013. Hailed as “au courant” (LaLa Magazine), the Wallis was lauded by Culture Vulture, which proclaims, “if you love expecting the unexpected in the performing arts, you have to love the Wallis.” Its programming has been nominated for 79 Ovation Awards and nine L.A. Drama Critic’s Circle Awards. The campus itself, a breathtaking 70,000-square-foot facility, celebrating the classic and the modern, has garnered six architectural awards. Designed by acclaimed architect Zoltan E. Pali (SPF:architects), the restored building features the original 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office (on the National Register of Historic Places), which serves as the theater’s dramatic yet welcoming lobby, and includes the contemporary 500-seat, state-of-the-art Bram Goldsmith Theater; the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater; an inviting open-air plaza for family, community and other performances; and GRoW @ the Wallis: A Space for Arts Education, where learning opportunities for all ages and backgrounds abound. Together, these elements embrace the city’s history and its future, creating a performing arts destination for L.A.-area visitors and residents alike. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is led by Chairman of the Board Michael Nemeroff and Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer Robert van Leer.