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A selection of photos from the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival. Photo credits: Tommy Lau, Aaron Thompson, Drew Altizer, Bobby Pin.

Organizers of the Mill Valley Film Festival have set the bar remarkably high as they eye the iconic local event’s 40th Anniversary in 2017.

The festival, which has made its name on a handful of attributes with an incredibly eclectic selection of films from all over the world, an almost eery ability to showcase films that end up garnering Academy Awards and celebrity appearances by actors and directors to receive tributes and to accompany awards-worthy screenings.

The 39th edition, which ran Oct. 6-16 in downtown Mill Valley and at venues all over Marin, knocked it out of the park in the first two categories and set the bar at an all-time high in the third, rounding up a constellation of big names to appear at screenings at sit down for Q&As afterwards, including Emma Stone, Damien Chazelle and Justin Hurwitz for La La Land, Amy Adams for Arrival, Nicole Kidman for Lion – the winner of the MVFF Audience Favorite 2016 Award – as well as actors Ewan McGregor (“American Pastoral,” director and star), Gael García Bernal(“Neruda”), Aaron Eckhart (“Bleed for This”) as well as groundbreaking filmmaker Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust”).

MVFF39 closed Sunday night with the Bay Area premiere of Jeff Nichols’ acclaimed historical drama Loving, with Nichols was in attendance for the screening along with actors Joel Egerton and Ruth Negga, with special guest Alice Walker in the audience.

The festival drew over 74,000 attendees, organizer said.

“As we close the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival, I am continually amazed by our audiences’ response to our film program – and of course – the incredible support we have (year after year) from filmmakers, sales agents and distributors,” MVFF Founder and Director Mark Fishkin says. “Without their recognition that the MVFF is one of the most significant non-competitive film festivals in the US, it would be impossible to present the most highly anticipated award season films, cutting-edge American indies, thought-provoking documentaries, and remarkable international films … The breadth and depth of the programming truly shined this year.”

Audience Award Winners 2016
OVERALL FAVORITE
The MVFF Audience Favorite 2016
LION
Garth Davis
Audience Favorite – US Cinema
Gold Award
MOONLIGHT
Barry Jenkins

Audience Favorite – US Cinema
Silver Award
LOVING
Jeff Nichols
 
Audience Favorite – US Cinema Indie
Gold Award
UNLEASHED
Finn Taylor
 
Audience Favorite – US Cinema Indie
Silver Award
DIANI AND DEVINE MEET THE APOCALYPSE
Etta Devine, Gabriel Diani

Audience Favorite – World Cinema
Gold Award
A MAN CALLED OVE
Hannes Holm
 
Audience Favorite – World Cinema
Silver Award
LAND OF MINE
Martin Zandvliet

Audience Favorite – World Cinema Indie
Gold Award
FUKUSHIMA, MON AMOUR
Doris Dörrie
 
Audience Favorite – World Cinema Indie
Silver Award
LAND LEGS
Samuel Collardey
ALLEY OF THE DOCS
Audience Favorite – Valley of the Docs
Gold Award
MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE 
Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack
 
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS
Otto Bell

Audience Favorite – Valley of the Docs
Silver Award
YASUNI MAN 
Ryan Patrick Killackey

Audience Favorite – Family Films
Gold Award
ODDBALL
Stuart McDonald
 
Audience Favorite – Family Films
Silver Award
KEPLER’S DREAM
Amy Glazer

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Emma Stone appeared at a VIP event at the Outdoor Art Club on Oct. 6, 2016 before a screening of her new film “La La Land” at the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival. Photo by Kirke Wrench.


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