The 38th Mill Valley Film Festival opened in grand fashion Thursday night, with the Bay Area premieres of Tom McCarthy’s investigative drama Spotlight, starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, and Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech, MVFF 2010) transgender drama The Danish Girl, which stars Academy Award Winner Eddie Redmayne (MVFF 2014 with The Theory of Everything) and Alicia Vikander. Both directors were in attendance for their respective screenings and the Opening Night Gala at the Marin Country Mart in Larkspur afterward.

Now in its 38th year, the Mill Valley Film Festival has long since established its place in the global landscape of film festivals, 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.

MVFF38 runs through October 18 in Mill Valley, San Rafael and venues across Marin, looking to maintain and grow that reputation. Here’s a rundown of the festival’s vast and unique lineup, including a nine-day run of live music at the Sweetwater Music Hall and “Mind the Gap – Women, Work and Film,” a festival-wide focus on inspiring women in film.

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