The Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF) will showcase a diverse lineup of 204 films with 45% of all film directed by women, for the 41st edition of the festival, from October 4 to 14, 2018. The Festival will open with a double header – the U.S. Premiere of A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike, and Green Book starring Mahershala Ali.
Opening Night – U.S. Premieres of A PRIVATE WAR and GREEN BOOK
Opening night kicks off Thursday, October 4 with the U.S. Premiere of Aviron Pictures’ A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike as Marie Colvin, one of the most celebrated war correspondents of our era, and Universal Pictures’ Green Book, a sharply observed drama, inspired by real-life events, featuring Mahershala Ali as a classically trained Black jazz piano prodigy Dr. Don Shirley on a 1962 concert tour of the American South. Director Matthew Heineman and Rosamund Pike will be in attendance for A Private War and Oscar® winner Mahershala Ali and director Peter Farrelly for Green Book. Centerpiece Presentation – ROMA
MVFFs 2018 Centerpiece presentation, ROMA, is the most personal project to date from Academy Award®-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Gravity). ROMA follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s. Attending will be director/writer Alfonso Cuarón.
Closing Night – IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
MVFF41 will close with the Bay Area premiere of IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, Barry Jenkins’ much anticipated follow up to his Oscar winning MOONLIGHT (MVFF39). Jenkins will be present for the screening. The film, based on James Baldwin’s novel of the same name, was adapted by Jenkins’, and follows a pregnant African-American who sets out to clear her fiance’s name after he is falsely imprisoned. The Closing Night Party following the film will be held at Elks Lodge in San Rafael.
MVFF41 will bestow a number of Spotlights throughout the Festival including: honoring rising star Amandla Stenberg for her work in The Hate U Give; Joel Edgerton for his work directing and co-starring in Boy Erased; Karyn Kusama for her directorial effort Destroyer; esteemed actor Richard E. Grant for his performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me?; acclaimed actress Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Kindergarten Teacher; and acknowledge Paul Dano and Carey Mulligan for their creative collaboration on Wildlife.
Tribute – Pawel Pawlikowski
Academy Award winning Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida) will receive a special Tribute from the Festival to celebrate his latest film Cold War, a star-crossed romance set during 1950s Cold War in Poland. Pawlikowski will be present for the awards presentation and an onstage conversation following the film.
Special Presentation – BEAUTIFUL BOY
The Festival will present a Special Presentation screening of Beautiful Boy with Academy Award nominated actor Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Academy Award Nominated actress Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), and Academy Award nominated Belgian director Felix van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown).
Behind the Screens – Panels | Master Classes | Workshops
The Festival will present another strong slate of Panels, Master Classes, and Workshops to supplement the outstanding film programming and to continue the discussion for Festival attendees. They include: back for a second year, the Mind The Gap Summit will again feature an extraordinary lineup of thought leaders and creatives in film and tech for a full day intensive to help work and share ideas as the Festival advocates gender equity in film; the annual State of the Industry panel will feature leaders of the independent film world to talk about the current pulse of the independent film community; the From Scene to Screen For Teens workshop, facilitated by Tom Franco and Iris Torres, will allow teenage participants the chance to workshop scenes from Gerrard Conley’s memoir Boy Erased; the Crowdfunding to Build Independence workshop teaches filmmakers the essentials for engaging their audience at every stage of their project; Tom Schlesinger will facilitate the workshop The Heroine’s Journey Onscreen Dramedy, a dive into utilizing the Heroine’s Journey for storytelling; the Medical Marijuana panel, following a screening of Weed the People will focus on the medical uses of marijuana and the many benefits to utilizing cannabis to treat a host of ailments; 420: Welcome The Waldos will illuminate the story behind the origins of the term 420; and finally, Graphic Novel Writing for Teens, is a hands-on workshop following the screening of the film Virus Tropical, and will introduce students to the work of several cartoonists and guide them through the process.
MVFF Music returns for a fourth year with a diverse series of concerts at the Sweetwater Music Hall. Nine nights of live music include performances by artists featured in MVFF films, as well as local, national, and international musicians. Musicians include: Freddy Jones Band, Jarvis Cocker introducing Jarv is…, Holly Near with Tammy Hall and Jan Martinelli, Michael Franti, Black Zeppelin, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Half Pint, and Honus Honus.
¡VIVA EL CINE!
MVFF’s ¡Viva El Cine! Initiative showcases prize-winning Spanish Language and Latin American films that seek to engage and embrace our Spanish speaking and loving audiences. Highlights in this section include: Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma from Mexico, Birds of Passage from Columbia, El Ángel from Argentina, Richard Levien’s Collisions featuring Mexican American characters, Ernesto from Cuba, Too Late to Die Young from Chile, and The Silence of Others from Spain.
Once again the MVFF’s Active Cinema initiative will showcase film’s power to inspire people to take action to create positive change. Screenings throughout the Festival support the grassroots activism of the filmmakers and engage with the work of the special guests, co-presenters and partners. Highlights include: Charm City in association with Ritter Center; From Baghdad to the Bay in association with the international Rescue Committee, Horizons Foundation, LGBT Asylum Project and Human Rights Watch; Harvest Season in association with La Luz Center; Stay Human in association with Do It For The Love; Time For Ilhan in association with Marin County Young Democrats; Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? In association with Investigative Reporting Program at the Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley and the Center for Investigative Reporting; Wild DaZe in association with Wildlife Works; and the Active Cinema Hike, a free networking in nature event.
Mind The Gap Award – Stacy L. Smith
Mind The Gap, MVFF’s gender equity initiative, amplifies and champions work by women filmmakers, who are changing the narrative that shapes the culture. The Festival is committed to programming 50/50 by 2020 – 50% women directors across all Festival sections by 2020. As part of Mind The Gap this year, the Festival will give Stacy L. Smith the Mind the Gap Award for Visionary Leadership. Smith is a visionary leader in the movement towards gender equity in the film industry. She is an associate professor at USC Annenberg and Founder and Director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the leading think tank globally studying issues of inequality in entertainment. Smith will receive the Mind the Gap Award during the Mind the Gap Summit on Saturday, October 6 where she will also present some of her most recent work.
Focus | Black Is
MVFF’s Focus Black Is will showcase emotionally and socially resonant films that explore what it means to be Black in the contemporary world. Films in this Focus include: the co-opening night film Green Book; The Hate U Give; the Closing Night film If Beale Street Could Talk; Little Woods; Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story; and Obey.
Focus | Teens & 20’s
The Festival’s Focus Teens & 20’s, is a focus on young adult films about that defining – and sometimes challenging – post-adolescent/pre-adult time of life. Films in this Focus include: the short program 5@5 The Way It Is; Angst; the Special Presentation Beautiful Boy; Ben is Back; The Hate U Give; Rafiki; The Silent Revolution; Too Late to Die Young; and Virus Tropical.
Focus | Queer-ish
Diverse stories of queer representation found in a wide, genre-twisting array of films will be showcased in the Festival’s Focus Queer-ish. Films in this Focus include: Alifu The Prince/ss; El Ángel; Border; Joel Edgerton’s Spotlight presentation film Boy Erased; Richard E. Grant’s Spotlight presentation film Can You Ever Forgive Me?; The Favorite; From Baghdad to the Bay; Holly Near: Singing For Our Lives; The Parting Glass; and Rafiki.
Focus | Animation Nation
An assemblage of gorgeous, entertaining, and occasionally kooky animation fiction and non-fiction films from around the globe highlight the Focus Animation Nation. Films in this Focus include: the short program 5@5 Circle Game; The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales; Chris The Swiss; Coco; Seder-Masochism; A Ton O’Toons; Virus Tropical; and Zootopia.