MVFF41 will also feature “Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait,” a look at life in the Southeast in the 1930s and 40s, with live musical accompaniment by Jenny Scheinman, Robbie Fulks, and Robbie Gjersoe.

Carey Mulligan as Jeanette Brinson, and Jake Gyllenhaal as Jerry Brinson in Paul Dano’s “Wildlife.” Photo courtesy IFC Films.
As the end of summer approaches, the folks at the California Film Institute took the time to remind us this week that the arrival of autumn means the return of the 41st Mill Valley Film Festival, long established in the global landscape of film as an event with a consistent slate of Academy Award contenders, star-studded events featuring both Hollywood legends and emerging talents and a laser-like focus on putting independent films – and the small town that bears its name – on the map.

MVFF41 organizers announced this week that it will host a screening of Wildlife, actor Paul Dano’s directorial debut about a family in 1960s Montana from the viewpoint of a teenage boy observing the gradual dissolution of his parents’ marriage, on Friday, Oct. 5. Adapted by Dano and Zoe Kazan from Richard Ford’s novel of the same name, Wildlife stars Carey Mulligan (Drive, Shame, The Great Gatsby, Mudbound), who last attended MVFF in 2015 as the star of Closing Night film Suffragette, as “Jeanette, a complex woman whose self-determination and self-involvement disrupts the values and expectations of a 1960s nuclear family” as her husband Jerry, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, joins the effort to fight a wildfire near the Canadian border. The film opens in theaters Oct. 19.

The screening will be accompanied by an MVFF Spotlight event highlighting the careers of both Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood, 12 Years A Slave) and Mulligan featuring an onstage conversation with both to explore “the director-actor relationship, and how they work together to distill the anatomy of the creative process that leads to great onscreen performances. The evening will also feature a presentation of the MVFF Award to them “in acknowledgement of the creative collaboration between Dano and Mulligan.” Mulligan was also the subject of a Spotlight event in 2015.
Here’s the trailer for Wildlife:

While MVFF41 organizers have promised more blockbuster announcements in the coming weeks, they also unveiled a unique screening of Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait, a look at life in the Southeast during a period of unprecedented change – from the Great Depression through the post WWII manufacturing boom, as seen through the eyes of photographer and filmmaker H. Lee Waters. The screening, set for Oct. 10 at the Lark Theatre, will feature live musical accompaniment by violinist, fiddler and singer-songwriter Jenny Scheinman, guitarist and singer-songwriter Robbi Fulks and multi-instrumentalist Robbie Gjersoe.

Bay Area native Finn Taylor’s film “invites us into the captivating visual world of H. Lee Waters, who documented over 118 small towns in the southeast between 1936-42. Waters’s films are of regular people going about their lives – mill workers streaming out of factories, a mother and daughter dancing on a dirt road, an old man reading a war-time headline, children racing in slow motion toward a huge wooden teeter totter.

Scheinman and Taylor have re-edited these images to Scheinman’s music, to create the film, which premiered at the National Gallery at the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is touring the U.S. through 2019. His most recent feature film, Unleashed, won six audience awards, at festivals across the country, including MVFF39.

Here’s the trailer for Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait:

Festival organizers previously unveiled that former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker will be among the performers of the festival’s series of MVFF Music shows at the Sweetwater Music Hall. Cocker is set to perform under the theme JARV IS on Oct. 6. His most recent album, Further Complications, was dubbed by Pitchfork upon its release in 2009 a “jutting, joking, hard-riffing jolt filled with raw self-deprecation.” 

​The 411: The 41st Mill Valley Film Festival runs October 4-14, 2018 at the CinéArts@Sequoia in Mill Valley, the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael and venues throughout the Bay Area. MORE INFO & TIX.

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