The 45th Mill Valley Film Festival began on Oct. 6 with the star-studded whodunit of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and ended 10 days later with the spine-tingling tale of The Good Nurse. In between those two was an avalanche of amazing film that provided an early look at upcoming Academy Award contenders, some of the best films from around the globe, many talented Bay Area filmmakers and acclaimed filmmakers from countries all around the world.
“The 45th Mill Valley Film Festival brought the community back to the cinemas in great numbers; the energy and excitement of our audiences were palpable, and I couldn’t be happier that we were able to come together to celebrate the magic of cinema,” MVFF Founder and Director Mark Fishkin says. “This year, we had an exceptional program that showcased not only the best films coming out of Hollywood, but also influential films that addressed the most pressing issues of our time, such as Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Till, Deconstructing Karen, and The Young Vote. I believe it is more important than ever to offer a safe and inclusive environment where everyone can exchange ideas and discuss the fragile state of our world. We were very fortunate to be able to bring some of the most talented and dynamic filmmakers and industry experts to the festival, who were more than happy to share their passion and expertise with our audiences.”
In addition to having our community immersed in great film for nearly two weeks, the breadth and depth of MVFF45 was encapsulated by the sheer raw numbers: it drew more 32,000 attendees in person and 9,300 virtually, including 49 premieres and 146 films, 75 features, and 71 shorts, representing 34 countries. Fifty-four percent of the films were directed or co-directed by women. MVFF educational arm reached more than 10,000 students across the US with virtual programming, and in-person screenings and school visits in Marin County, San Francisco, and the East Bay.
Check out the images below of some of the talented actors and directors who graced MVFF45 over the past 10 days, and click the images to see more info and the movie trailer for each of the associated films. All photos by Kirke Wrench.
FULL LIST OF MVFF 2022 AUDIENCE FAVORITES
MVFF Overall Audience Favorite – TÁR
Audience Favorite | US Cinema – THE WHALE
Audience Favorite | US Indie –OUR FATHER, THE DEVIL
Audience Favorite | World Cinema – THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
Audience Favorite | World Cinema (foreign language) – CLOSE
Audience Favorite | Documentary – THE GRAB
Audience Favorite | Family – ERIN’S GUIDE TO KISSING GIRLS
Audience Favorite | Active Cinema – PATH OF THE PANTHER
Audience Favorite | Mind the Gap – WOMEN TALKING
Audience Favorite | ¡Viva el cine! – SANTOS – SKIN TO SKIN
Other awards given during MVFF this year include:
Nikyatu Jusu – MVFF Award for Debut Feature | NANNY
Brendan Fraser – MVFF Award for his Exceptional Performance | THE WHALE
James Gray – MVFF Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing | ARMAGEDDON TIME
Daniel Giménez Cacho – MVFF Award for Acting | BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS
Noah Baumbach – MVFF Award for Screenwriting | WHITE NOISE
Evgeny Afineevsky – MVFF Power of Cinema Award | FREEDOM ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
WOMEN TALKING – Mind the Gap Award Ensemble
Chinonye Chukwu and Danielle Deadwyler – Mind the Gap Award for Creativity & Truth | TILL
Ellie Foumbi – Mind the Gap Creation Prize for Directorial Debut | OUR FATHER, THE DEVIL
Opening Night, Thursday, October 6, was the Premiere of Rian Johnson’s rollicking Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, which featured an in-person conversation with Johnson, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, and Ram Bergman; the Centerpiece presentation Tuesday, October 11, was Chinonye Chukwu’s profoundly emotional drama Till, with a discussion moderated by human rights activist, poet, educator, and former Black Panther Party leader Ericka Huggins; and Closing Night, Sunday, October 16, was the West Coast Premiere screening of Tobias Lindholm’s The Good Nurse with an in-person conversation with Eddie Redmayne, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Tobias Lindholm.
Many local films and filmmakers were celebrated during MVFF45, including the World Premieres of The Art of Eating: The Life of M.F.K. Fisher, directed by Bay Area filmmaker Gregory Bezat, Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? directed by Yvan Iturriaga and Francisco Núñez Capriles, Faultline directed by Bay Area Auteur Rob Nilsson, and Town Destroyer directed by Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow. Other notable premieres by local filmmakers included the North American Premiere of Tukdam-Between Two Worlds, directed by Donagh Coleman, who is currently attending UC Berkeley, and The Grab, a gripping documentary that follows a group of Bay Area journalists who uncover a global group secretly gobbling up scarce resources in a time of climate chaos.
“It’s so affirming, as we get back into the life of film and festivals, to witness—and to remember—how inspired, uplifted, engaged, and excited people are by the experience of film and conversation in real life,” said Director of Programming Zoë Elton. “Mind the Gap continues to be a well-respected, important hub for equity in the film landscape: MTG screenings, panels, and mixers became a magnet for the burgeoning Bay Area film community and invoked great discussions and networking. A MTG tradition is that award winners do a reading that inspires them: this year, audiences were riveted by readings from Frances McDormand (Run Towards the Danger, Sarah Polley), Chinonye Chukwu (Movement in Black, Pat Parker) and Ellie Foumbi (Choices, Nikki Giovanni). There were amazing conversations across the board at MVFF45, at screenings like Sunnyland, with Xavi Medina, Maria Cotarelo, and 8-year-old star Isabella Wilkie; Close, where Belgian filmmaker Lukas Dhont moved us to tears with his conversation about teenage friendship, masculinity, and queerness; and Boy From Heaven, Tarik Saleh’s conspiracy thriller set in a Cairo university, and Sweden’s official submission to the 2023 Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film, where Saleh has lived since being banned from his native Egypt.”
MVFF Music returned with two live music shows at downtown Mill Valley’s historic Sweetwater Music Hall. These live music nights included performances by artists featured in MVFF films and local, national, and international musicians. The music shows this year included Bay Area Latin jazz icon John Santos performing with a few select friends to celebrate the California Premiere of Santos ~ Skin to Skin; and San Francisco-based avant-garde group The Residents performed a set from Faceless Forever, their upcoming 50th-anniversary tour and screened a selection of their classic and more recent videos. Their first feature film, Triple Trouble, melted everyone’s minds as part of MVFFs special programming at The Roxie Theater in San Francisco.