Since it kicked off on Oct. 3, the Mill Valley Film Festival has screened an array of star-studded films featuring acclaimed actors, many of whom came to town to support their films and, in many cases, receive heartfelt honors and tributes from MVFF organizers. 

The first of those was actress-producer-director Olivia Wilde, who has starred in a number of films, including Alpha Dog, TRON: Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens, Butter, Drinking Buddies, Better Living Through Chemistry and Her, among others. Wilde has drawn widespread praise for her directorial debut, Booksmart, a timely coming-of-age, whip-smart feminist comedy. She’s soon set to play a role in Clint Eastwood’s next feature and will direct and star in her sophomore film, a psychological thriller called Don’t Worry, Darling. At the Oct. 4th MVFF42 event, Wilde delved into the process of developing Booksmart and explored her distinguished acting career and her personal activism. 

One day later, the MVFF Spotlight turned on Robert Pattinson, who burst onto the scene with the juggernaut Twilight series and has successfully embraced myriad independent projects since then, with a wide array of challenging roles from cinema’s finest auteurs including David Cronenberg (Maps to the Stars), Claire Denis (High Life), Werner Herzog (Queen of the Desert), James Gray (The Lost City of Z), and the Safdie brothers (Good Time).

His latest film, The Lighthouse is director Robert Eggers’ anticipated follow-up to The Witch, enlisting Pattinson and Willem Dafoe for a Gothic thriller set on a tumultuous isle off the coast of New England. Shot on black-and-white 35mm film and loosely inspired by the writings of Herman Melville and poet Sarah Orne Jewett as well as the diaries of late-19th century lighthouse keepers, Eggers sets the stage for an acting showdown between two powerhouse artists. According to Variety, Pattinson will compete in the lead actor category for during awards season.

Acclaimed actress Alfre Woodard came to town on Saturday, Oct. 5, for a tribute to her and a screening of Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency, a Death Row drama in which Woodard plays prison warden Bernadine Williams, who has presided over many executions but reaches a breaking point when a presumably innocent cop killer is slated to die.

On Monday, Oct. 6, Pattinson’s former Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart arrived in Marin for a Spotlight event and a screening of her new film, Seberg. Stewart’s post-Twilight career has seen her achieve international acclaim, in films like Certain Women, Personal Shopper, Lizzie, JT LeRoy, and Clouds of Sils Maria, for which she won a César Award. In Seberg, Stewart transforms into tragic screen legend and fashion icon Jean Seberg, an American actress who became an instant international film darling following Godard’s Breathless and whose progressive political ties to the Black Panther party made her a person of interest for the FBI.

​In subsequent days, director and Oscar and Emmy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and producer Phil Tippett appeared at MVFF42 on behalf of the film Mad Dreams & Monsters, a documentary about his career-spanning work. MVFF also screened The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmaodirector Karim Aïnouz’s melodrama about the life of two sisters in 1950s Rio de Janeiro, first inseparable and then very much not. And legendary actor Edward James Olmos appeared in support of Windows on the World, a film that shares its name with the former restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center that perished on the morning of September 11th, 2001.

Wilde also recorded a shout out to MVFF42: