Scenes from the 43rd Mill Valley Film Festival. Courtesy images.

The 43rd Mill Valley Film Festival wrapped Sunday night after 11 days of virtual and drive-in screenings, panels, and special events, as did its conjoined DocLands Documentary Film Festival, which was postponed due to COVID-19 in May. Through the course of 11 days, MVFF featured virtual tributes to luminaries like Viola Davis, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sophia Loren, and Kate Winslet, as well as Festival Spotlights on Delroy Lindo, Clare Dunne, Regina King, and Aaron Sorkin with cast members from The Trial of the Chicago 7

Organizers touted the success of Mind the Gap, MVFF’s gender equity initiative that pledged to reach 50/50 women director representation by 2020 and surpassed that goal by reaching 57% women directors or co-directors represented across the entire festival.

“One could make the case that the 43rd MVFF was smaller — fewer films, no receptions — yet in fact, it felt grander, in a multitude of surprising ways,” Mill Valley Film Festival and California Film Institute Founder/Director Mark Fishkin. “Larger certainly in spirit, with ideas plucked from our board, staff, and community. Initially, the most common answer to any question asked of us was, ‘I don’t know.’ As staff settled on the concept of a virtual festival as well as a drive-In, trust never played a more important role than this year, a year of unknowns.”

“With no defined road map, together with our partners and supporters, the Mill Valley Film Festival was able to create a model that was needed during these challenging times, a program that would resonate with our community and audiences around the world,” Fishkin continued. “Smaller, bigger – who can say? What we can say is this: It was a model we can be proud of and continue to build upon as we move forward.”

“We’ve entered a new era for film festivals—and creating an online, drive-in festival reinforced the way we bring communities together, even in this socially distant time,” added MVFF Director of Programming Zoë Elton. “I never thought I’d be programming films for a drive-in, but experiencing a film like Nomadland outdoors, by a lagoon, under the stars, was amazing.”

Here are the winners of MVFF43’s AUDIENCE FAVORITE AWARDS:
Audience Favorite – Drive-In – NOMADLAND
Audience Favorite – Online – THE FATHER and ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI (tie)
Audience Favorite – US – UNCLE FRANK
Audience Favorite – World – MASTER CHENG
Audience Favorite – Valley of the Docs – THE BOYS WHO SAID NO!
Audience Favorite – DocLands – LAUREL CANYON: A PLACE IN TIME
Audience Favorite – Mind the Gap – NOMADLAND
Audience Favorite – ¡Viva el Cine! – THE HEIST OF THE CENTURY

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