Hilary Swank, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Jason Reitman, Elle Fanning and Eddie Redmayne are among the stars set to appear, with each of the four members of legendary Bay Area rock band Metallica serving as Artists in Residence.

The California Film Institute unveiled its 37th Mill Valley Film Festival on Tuesday, a lineup loaded with Academy Award winning actors, likely 2015 Oscar contenders, Hollywood luminaries, emerging stars and a slate that is chock-full of far-reaching range of international flair and documentaries, including a robust menu of music docs.

The 11-day event, set for Oct. 2-12, will once again take over venues in downtown Mill Valley and across Marin. The festival has attracted appearances from a number of big name stars, with Hilary Swank, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Jason Reitman, Elle Fanning, Eddie Redmayne all set to appear. In addition, each of the four members of legendary Bay Area rock band Metallica are serving as Artists in Residenceindividually selecting a film to screen at MVFF37 and appearing at that event. Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong will appear at the US Premiere of Like Sunday, Like Rain, in which he makes his acting debut alongside Leighton Meester and Debra Messing. Meester will be in attendance with Armstrong and director Frank Whaley.

The festival has become one of the key predictors of Oscar success, as five out of the last six Academy Award winners for Best Picture (Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, The Artist, Argo and 12 Years A Slave) were screened at MVFF with filmmakers and cast members in attendance.

Opening Night – Oct. 2

The Homesman – Two-time Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank stars as the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy, tasked with saving three women living on the edge of the American frontier and transporting them by covered wagon to Iowa. Cuddy employs a feisty low-life drifter, George Biggs (director Tommy Lee Jones), to join her. The film screens at CineArts at Sequoia Theatre in downtown Mill Valley, and will be followed by an Opening Night Gala at the Corte Madera Town Center, with Swank expected to appear at both events. Thursday, October 2 at 6:45PM & 7PM at the CinéArts@Sequoia. Click here for more info.

Men, Women & Children – Director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up In The Air) will premiere his latest film, the story of a group of teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-images and their love lives. Reitman and Ansel Elgort, best known for his starring role in hit film The Fault in Our Stars, will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening. Thursday, October 2 at 7PM at Century Cinema Corte Madera. Click here for more info.
Opening Night Gala – After those screenings, the party moves to the Corte Madera Town Center, with food from Balboa Café, Big Jim’s BBQ, Caribbean Spices, Equator Coffees, Il Fornaio, Johnny Doughnuts, Judy’s Breadsticks, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Pig in a Pickle and Pizza Antica. Lagunitas Brewing Company and local wineries are providing libations, with live music from The Brothers Comatose, hot off their performance at Outside Lands and US tour, and tunes spun by The Crackerjack DJs. Thursday, October 2 from 9PM – Midnight at Town Center Corte Madera. Click here for more info
Spotlight on Elle Fanning: Low Down – Elle Fanning launched her career at the age of three, and now, at the age of 16, has built an accomplished body of work and is the subject of a Spotlight event. The evening will feature a screening of her latest film, Low Down, and will be followed by a live on-stage conversation. Elle Fanning stars in the film as Amy-Jo, the teenage daughter to the gifted but troubled jazz-pianist Joe Albany (John Hawkes). Saturday, October 4 at 7PM at Smith Rafael Film Center. Click here for more info
Soul of a Banquet special screening with Wayne Wang and Cecilia Chiang – The Mill Valley Film Festival is proud to honor the contributions of renowned local filmmaker Wayne Wang and the subject of his new film, legendary culinary artist Cecilia Chiang, with a special screening of Soul Of A Banquet. The film, a moving tribute to Cecilia Chiang, the celebrity chef who changed the face of Chinese food and culture in the Bay Area, will be followed by an on-stage conversation with Wayne Wang and Cecilia Chiang. Sunday, October 5 at 5PM at Smith Rafael Film Center. Click here for more info
Centerpiece Film: Black and White – Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer star in Mike Binder’s latest film, which follows an attorney (Costner) who becomes entangled in a custody battle with his bi-racial granddaughters paternal grandmother (Spencer) following the death of his wife and daughter. Mike Binder will be in attendance for the screening. Wednesday, October 8 at 7:30PM at Smith Rafael Film Center. Click here for more info.
Spotlight on Eddie Redmayne: The Theory of Everything – Having already won an Olivier and Tony Award for his work on John Logan’s acclaimed Red, and garnered recognition for his roles in Les Miserables, and My Week With Marilyn, actor Eddie Redmayne has established himself as one of the most promising actors of his generation. The Spotlight program on Redmayne features a screening of his latest film, The Theory Of Everything in which he plays a young Stephen Hawking. A discussion with Redmayne follows the screening. Thursday, October 9 at 7PM at Smith Rafael Film Center. Click here for more info.
Tribute to Chuck Workman: Magician – In addition to creating short films and openings for 20 Academy Award presentations, Chuck Workman has directed the Oscar-winning short Precious Images, produced several documentaries, and edited main titles and sequences for countless film and television series. With his latest film Magician, Workman pays homage to Orson Welles, and MVFF37 is recognizing his work with a special Tribute. Workman will be in-person for the screening and a post-screening conversation. Friday, October 10 at 7PM at Smith Rafael Film Center. Click here for more info.

Closing Night – Oct. 12 

Wild with a Tribute To Laura Dern – Academy Award-nominated actress Laura Dern will be presented with a special Tribute. Born into the movie business as the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, Laura Dern has starred in numerous acclaimed films including Wild At HeartRambling RoseInland Empire and Blue Velvet. This event will feature an onstage conversation with Dern and a clip reel highlighting her past work including previews of her latest film Wild, in which Reese Witherspoon stars in Jean-Marc Vallée’s (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB) adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best selling memoir, a striking account of the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail trek she undertook to grieve the death of her mother (Dern) and give closure to her troubled past. Sunday, October 12 at 5PM at CinéArts@Sequoia and Smith Rafael Film Center. Click here for more info.

Closing Night Gala – The festival will wrap following the screenings at the Elks Lodge where film goers will enjoy live music performed by Danny Click and the Hell Yeas and tunes spun by DJ Richard Habib. Food from Sol Food, Teresa & Johnny’s Comfort Food, Big Jim’s BBQ, and West End Café among others. Sunday, October 12 at 7:30PM at Maple Lawn Estate at the Elks Lodge. Click here for more info.

Metallica: MVFF Artists in Residence – Metallica, locals and longtime friends of the festival, are serving as Artists in Residence for MVFF37. Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Robert Trujillo have each selected a film to host at the festival and will be present to introduce and discuss their chosen films.

  • Kirk Hammett, a noted horror movie aficionado presents an unadulterated, schlock-filled, Z-movie euphoria, late night screening of the 1971 favorite Dracula Vs. Frankenstein.Friday, October 3 at 10PM at Smith Rafael Film Center.
  • Robert Trujillo brings MVFF audiences a sneak peek at Jaco, the new documentary that brings the story of legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius to the screen; produced by Trujillo with John Battsek of Passion Pictures.  Monday, October 6 at 6PM at CinéArts@Sequoia.
  • Lars Ulrich makes a cutting-edge selection with Whiplash. This indie feature about an aspiring drummer and his ruthless teacher won multiple awards at Sundance this year. Following the screening, director-screenwriter Damien Chazelle will join Lars on stage for a conversation. Tuesday, October 7 at 7PMat Century Cinema Corte Madera.
  • James Hetfield’s classic pick The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is in all its restored, big-screen glory. Wednesday, October 8 at 7PM at Century Cinema Corte Madera.

Children’s Film Fest

Music dominates this year’s family films. Whether it’s the hip-shaking beat of Brazil or the lilting of 1940s swing, most of our programs will have you dancing your way out of the theater after the credits roll. The Boy And The World starts with simple washes of color and samba and ends with neon cityscapes, hip-hop, and scarcely a word spoken. In France’s 3D animation Minuscule: Valley Of The Lost Ants, there are no frantic melodies but instead a lovely, upbeat score that complements the action as our ant friends move sugar cubes across perilous landscapes. 

Movies in the Park
In partnership with the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce and the City of Mill Valley’s Recreation Department, MVFF37 is presenting a free screening of the 1941 animation by the Fleischer Brothers, Hoppity Goes To Town, a takeoff on Jimmy Stewart films that will have everyone swinging to jazz and crooning love songs. Click here for more info.
Live Events 
A Musical Celebration of Jaco honors the pioneering jazz musician Jaco Pastorius and feature a work-in-progress screening of Jaco, a documentary from Stephen Kijak, which captures the story of Jaco Pastorius. The evening will be hosted by Robert Trujillo and will feature MAERIC with Mary Pastorius, David Pastorius and Eric Young, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo of Metallica, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, L. Shankar and other special guests. The event is a benefit for the California Film Institute. Monday, October 6 at 9PM at Sweetwater Music Hall. Click here for more info.
Professional comedians and award-winning filmmakers weave together film and live stand-up comedy for a unique storytelling experience in 3 Still Standing – On Stage!. The evening will be part film, and part stand up with the world premiere of 3 Still Standing, a documentary about local comedians Will Durst, Larry “Bubbles” Brown, and Johnny Steele. Following the film, the 3 comedians will take the stage for a live stand-up act. Saturday, October 4 at 8PM at 142 Throckmorton Theatre. Click here for more info.
With Robin Williams: A Celebration, MVFF37 hosts an informal celebration of the life of one of the most beloved and brilliant members of the Bay Area film community. The event will feature footage from his appearances at the Mill Valley Film Festival, including a spontaneous routine with his mentor Jonathan Winters, as well as his 1988 MVFF trailer, in which, playing campy film critic Lex Leed, he interviewed himself as five different filmmakers. More details and guests TBA. This is a free event, but will be ticketed. Sunday, October 5 at 1PM at 142 Throckmorton Theatre. Click here for more info

Other Major Film Screenings

In addition to the bevy of special events, MVFF37 features screenings of a number of major films, including:

  • Director Bennett Miller won the Best Director Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for his latest film Foxcatcher, a dark drama starring Steve Carrel, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.
  • Director Morten Tyldum directs Benedict Cumberbatch as the British mathematician Alan Turning in The Imitation Game.
  • The German drama Beloved Sisters about two aristocratic sisters who find themselves in a love triangle with poet Fredrich Schiller.
  • Olivier Assayas’ Cannes Film Festival selection Clouds Of Sils Maria starring Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloë Grace Moretz.
  • The Israeli drama Gett: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem which will make its US Premiere at the festival.
  • David Dobkin’s drama The Judge starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall.
  • Lynn Shelton’s latest film Laggies starring Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell and Chloë Grace Moretz.
  • Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong will be in attendance for the US Premiere of Like Sunday, Like Rain in which he makes his acting debut alongside Leighton Meester and Debra Messing. Meester will be in attendance with Armstrong and director Frank Whaley.
  • Xavier Dolan’s Cannes Jury Prize Winning film MOMMY
  • Timothy Spall won Best Actor honors at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in Mr. Turner; the Dardenne Brothers’ (Jean-Pierre and Luc) latest film Two Days, One Night starring Marion Cotillard.
  • special screening of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back with Skywalker Sound veterans Matthew Wood and David Acord on hand to discuss the sounds of the Star Wars universe.