MVFF38, set for October 8–18 in Mill Valley, San Rafael and venues across Marin, looks to maintain and grow that reputation. The California Film Institute has unveiled the full MVFF38 lineup, including opening and closing night films that will surely garner a bevy of Oscar nominations, with an array of events featuring appearances by both legendary and emerging actors and directors, a nine-day run of live music at the Sweetwater Music Hall and “Mind the Gap – Women, Work and Film,” a festival-wide focus on inspiring women in film.
Here’s a rundown of the major events, including trailers:
OPENING NIGHT | Spotlight and The Danish Girl
For Opening Night, the Mill Valley Film Festival presents the Bay Area premieres of Tom McCarthy’s investigative drama Spotlight, starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, and Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech, MVFF 2010)
transgender drama The Danish Girl, which stars Academy Awardâ Winner Eddie Redmayne (MVFF 2014 with The Theory of Everything) and Alicia Vikander. Both directors will be present for their respective screenings.
Spotlight Screens Thursday, October 8 at 7 & 7:15PM at the Cinéarts Sequoia
The Danish Girl screens Thursday, October 8 at 7 & 7:15PM at the Century Larkspur
Screenings followed by Opening Night Gala at 9PM at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur
Also featured on the first night of MVFF38 is the World Premiere of director John Roecker’s an intimate look at Bay Area based rock group Green Day recording their album American Idiot, their Grammy Award-winning punk rock opera.
SPOTLIGHT | Sarah Silverman & I Smile Back
MVFF38 honors actress/comedian/writer Sarah Silverman with a Spotlight presentation. The event features a screening of her latest film I Smile Back and will be followed by a live on-stage conversation and presentation of the MVFF Award. In the film, Silverman gives a career-defining performance as a woman in a downward spiral of reckless hedonism seeking a chance for redemption.
Friday, October 9 at 7PM at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
Spotlight followed by Reception at 9PM at Pizza Antica
New to MVFF this year will be nine nights of live music exclusively curated for the Mill Valley Film Festival at the landmark Sweetwater Music Hall. Rock, pop, roots, folk, swing and much more will provide a soundtrack for MVFF38 in the heart of Mill Valley.
Friday, October 9 – Saturday, October 17 at Sweetwater Music Hall
Director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Thirteen, Tank Girl) will be honored with a Tribute which includes a special screening of her latest film Miss You Already, starring Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette as two life long friends who are put to the test when one starts a family as the other falls ill. Following the screening will be a live on-stage conversation with Catherine Hardwicke and presentation of the MVFF Award.
Saturday, October 10 at 7:30PM at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
Tribute followed by Reception at 9:30PM at Tiburon Tavern
TRIBUTE | Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen’s lauded career spans decades and genres, garnering countless awards and honors. A celebrated thespian of stage and screen, he has delivered commanding performances in everything from Shakespeare to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy to the popular X-Men series, most recently inhabiting the quintessential role of Sherlock Holmes in Mr. Holmes. A passionate advocate for equality, McKellen admirably utilizes his role in the media to champion the rights of all.
Sunday, October 11 at 7PM at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
Tribute followed by Reception at Il Fornaio
For the Centerpiece Presentation, acclaimed Iranian-born, Swiss based filmmaker Barbet Schroeder will be in attendance for his latest film Amnesia. A protégé of French New Wave masters Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Rivette, Schroeder’s latest film follows a young music composer who travels from Berlin to Ibiza in the hopes of becoming a DJ at a nightclub. While there, he befriends an older German woman living on the island in solitude.
Tuesday, October 13 at 7PM at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
Centerpiece followed by Reception at 9PM at Il Davide
MVFF38 presents the California Premiere of Room, which will be accompanied by a Spotlight on star Brie Larson, and a presentation of the MVFF Award. Larson has built an impressive career as a versatile young actress with her work in such films as Short Term 12, Trainwreck, The Gambler, The Spectacular Now, 21 Jump Street and Rampart. In Room, Larson stars as Ma, a mother who has raised her son in a single room his entire life.
Wednesday, October 14 at 7PM at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
Spotlight followed by Reception at 9PM at Green Chile Kitchen
The Netflix original film Beasts of No Nation directed by Cary Fukanaga (True Detective, Jane Eyre) follows the young Agu who is forced to join a group of rebel fighters in an unnamed African country led by Commandant (Idris Elba). Based on Uzodinma Iweala’s book of the same title. Oakland native Fukunaga will be in attendance.
Oscarâ Winning Documentary filmmaker Marcel Ophuls will receive a special Tribute at the festival in recognition of his 60 plus years in the film industry. His documentary Hotel Terminus: The Life And Times Of Klaus Barbie won an Academy Awardâ for Best Documentary Feature. As part of the Tribute, the festival will screen his Oscarâ nominated documentary The Sorrow and The Pity and his filmed autobiography Ain’t Misbehavin’.
Thursday, October 15 at 7PM at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
Tribute followed by Reception at 9PM at Il Davide
Academy Awardâ Nominated actress Carey Mulligan will be presented with a Spotlight program which will feature an on-stage conversation, a clip reel of her many film roles (An Education, Drive, Never Let Me Go, Shame, The Great Gatsby), clips from her latest film Suffragette, and the presentation of the MVFF Award.
Saturday, October 17 at 6PM at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
Spotlight followed by a reception at 9PM at Frantoio Restaurant
CLOSING NIGHT | Suffragette
For its Closing Night Film, the 38th Mill Valley Film Festival has chosen Suffragette, the story of the women who were foot soldiers in the fight for the right to vote in the early 20th century, ordinary women who risked their jobs, homes, children and even their lives. The film stars MVFF Spotlight Awardee and Academy Awardâ Nominated actress Carey Mulligan, former MVFF Tributee Academy Awardâ Nominated actress Helena Bonham Carter and MULTIPLE Academy Awardâ WINNER actress Meryl Streep.
Sunday, October 18 at 5PM at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
Sunday, October 18 at 5PM and 5:15PM at Cinéarts Sequoia
Screenings followed by Closing Night Party at 7PM at Terrapin Crossroads
Mind the Gap – Women, Work and Film | MVFF’s Women’s Initiative
MVFF takes its longstanding commitment to women filmmakers one step further in a festival-wide focus on inspiring women in film. Screenings and onstage conversations with directors, producers and actors; big nights (Spotlights on Sarah Silverman, Brie Larson and Carey Mulligan, Tribute to Catherine Hardwicke); stories driven by female characters (including an inter-generational classic, The Wizard of Oz); docs addressing inequalities and issues (CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap; La Prenda/The Pawn); panels (Dr. Stacy Smith of USC’s Annenberg School returns to MVFF38 to report on her newest research) and educational screenings are all being curated with a view to raising awareness and celebrating women’s work.
The Saga of Ingrid Bergman | An Exhibition Honoring the Centennial of Her Birth
An exclusive exhibition from Sweden will celebrate the magnificent, three-time Oscarâ winning actress Ingrid Bergman on the centennial of her birth. Consisting of 30 photographic prints and a multimedia installation, the exhibition chronicles the path of Bergman’s remarkable career. After its exhibition at the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., the Mill Valley Film Festival will host its sole additional presentation in the United States prior to its return to Europe.
Friday, October 9 – Thursday, October 22 at 1020 B Street in San Rafael
Families are encouraged to tour the world at the MVFF Children’s FilmFest. Now in its 21st year, the festival will showcase the finest family films from around the world.
Additional Highlights for MVFF38 include:
- Sexual repression and supernatural entities make uneasy bedfellows for Constance Barton (Jena Malone) in Angelica (US Premiere), a playfully twisted period drama, which had its world premiere at Berlinale. It’s not that Constance doesn’t want to make love with her husband Joseph (Ed Stoppard); it’s that she’s been forbidden to after the difficult birth of their daughter Angelica. Overwrought by this enforced physical separation, the young mother sees nightmarish visions that threaten her and her child, so she turns to a formidable spirit hunter named Mrs. Montague (Janet McTeer) for assistance. Star Jena Malone and director Mitchell Lichtenstein will be in attendance in support of the film.
- Orange is the New Black star Taryn Manning delivers an emotional performance as a woman struggling to stabilize her bipolar disorder in A Light Beneath Their Feet (World Premiere), a coming-of-age drama which sets itself apart in its bold exploration of mental illness. Director Valerie Weiss assuredly elicits strong performances from the entire cast, especially the young female lead, Madison Davenport, whose performance has firmly established her as a rising star to watch. Star Taryn Manning and director Valerie Weiss will be in attendance in support of the film.
- Following the screenings of Angelica and A Light Beneath Their Feet and the Tribute to Catherine Hardwicke, MVFF will host a special party for filmmaker guests and patrons at the Tiburon Tavern celebrating the combined work of all attendees.
- Academy Awardâ winners Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford play 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes and journalist Dan Rather in Truth, a riveting account of the 2004 television scandal that erupted after Rather’s report alleging George W. Bush received preferential treatment that allowed him to dodge the Vietnam War.
- Yosemite (California Premiere), based on short stories by James Franco, is the feature directorial debut from Gabrielle Demeestere. Set in suburban Palo Alto and starring a talented cast of Bay Area locals, this nostalgic ode to boyhood weaves together the intertwined tales of three fifth-graders precariously navigating the shifting emotional grounds of their young lives in the fall of 1985.
- Academy Awardâ winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s second English language film Youth will screen at the festival. The film stars Michael Caine as a retired orchestra conductor on holiday in the Alps who receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Phillip’s birthday. Harvey Keitel, Paul Dano, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda round out the cast.
- John Crowley’s Brooklyn follows Eilis Lacey’s (Saoirse Ronan) journey from Ireland to America in the search for a home in the early 1950’s.
- Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Prix, Son of Saul is a debut film from Hungarian director László Nemes. A prisoner of Auschwitz in 1944 is forced to burn the corpses at the concentration camp, and finds among them the body of a boy he takes for his son.
- Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Dheepan is the latest film from celebrated director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust & Bone). Featuring novelist, and former Tamil Tiger child soldier Antonythasan Jesuthasan in a leading role, the story focuses on three Tamil refugees that have fled war-ravaged Sri Lanka in the hope of reconstructing their lives in France.
- Todd Haynes’ (Poison, Safe, Velvet Goldmine, Far From Heaven) British-American romantic drama Carol stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara (tied for Best Actress at Cannes) and Kyle Chandler. This captivating, sensuous and richly observed film tells the story of a young shopgirl in the early 1950’s who falls for an older, married woman.
- Winner of the Best Director Prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Hou Hsiao Hsien’s The Assassin is set during the Tang Dynasty in China and follows a young woman who is ordered to kill the man she loves, or break definitively with the “order of Assassins”.
- Director Pablo Larrain’s follow up to his Oscarâ nominated No, The Club follows a crisis counselor who is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced priests and nuns, suspected of crimes ranging from child abuse to baby-snatching from unwed mothers, live in seclusion after an incident occurs.
- In 45 Years, a couple receives an unexpected letter, which contains potentially life-changing news the week leading up to their 45th wedding anniversary. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay won Best Actress and Actor at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival for their roles in Andrew Haigh’s film.
- Winner of the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlinale, Jafar Panahi’s Taxi is a look at a day with Panahi as a taxi driver chauffeuring passengers through the streets of Teheran. The acclaimed Iranian director has been banned from making films and is restricted from leaving his country.
- A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of historical events and directed by Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies centers on Brooklyn Lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) who is thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.
- Filmmakers including Wes Anderson, Olivier Assayas, Peter Bogdanovich, David Fincher and Richard Linklater discuss how Francois Truffaut’s 1966 Book “Cinema According to Hitchcock” influenced their work in Kent Jones’ documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut.
- Justin Kurzel’s dynamic rendition of Shakespeare’s classic Macbeth will have its U.S. Premiere at the festival. The film stars Michael Fassbender as Macbeth and Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth.
- Sembene! tells the story of the father of African film, dockworker and fifth-grade dropout Ousmane Sembene. His life unfolds through archival footage and interviews in this compelling tribute to his genius.
- The fascinating Tikkun depicts the gradual untethering of a young ultra-orthodox scholar in Jerusalem. The film won the top prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival this past year.