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Festival Focus: Mill Valley Film Festival

Festival Focus: Mill Valley Film Festival

This is the first of a series of blogs to be written during the Mill
Valley Film Festival
(October 3-13) which we are honored to be posting.

Founded in 1978 by California Film Institute Director Mark
Fishkin, the Festival is well known for the quality of its programming.
It has established
an impressive track record for launching new films and new
filmmakers, and has earned a reputation as a filmmakers’ festival by
offering a
high-profile, prestigious, noncompetitive environment for
celebrating the best in independent and world cinema.

Each year, the 11-day Festival sells over 40,000 tickets and
welcomes more than 200 filmmakers from around the world. Festival
sections include: World
Cinema; U.S. Cinema; Valley of the Docs; Children’s FilmFest; 5@5,
a daily shorts program; and Active Cinema, our activist films
initiative. Gala
celebrations, tributes to actors and filmmakers, workshops,
panels and seminars, as well as opportunities to mingle with filmmakers
in the spectacular
setting of the San Francisco Bay Area are just a few of the
reasons Screen International named Mill Valley one of its top 10 U.S. film

The Festival is also an important industry resource, both for
its emphasis on films that have not yet secured U.S. distribution and for
fall launches and
northern California Academy Award® campaigns. The Bay Area
continues to be a significant market for independent and international
film, and MVFF
consistently provides a forum for introducing new films to West
Coast audiences.

Presented by the California Film Institute, the 36th Festival
will take place at the CinéArts@Sequoia and 142 Throckmorton Theatre
(Mill Valley),
Century Cinema (Corte Madera) and the Christopher B. Smith
Rafael Film Center (San Rafael). The non-profit California Film
Institute celebrates and
promotes film as art and education through the presentation of
the Mill Valley Film Festival and year-round exhibitions at the
Christopher B. Smith
Rafael Film Center, and by building the next generation of
filmmakers and audiences through CFI Education, which reaches over 6,500
students in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Smith Rafael Film Center annually serves approximately 150,000 attendees.

Here is the firsts installment by Jennie-Marie Adler, Membership Manger of the California Film Institute:

Part of my job as the Membership Manager of the Mill Valley Film
Festival is to stop into either of our filmmaker lounges and talk to
members. The
converted art gallery space in Mill Valley is filled with
oversized leather arm chairs, chocolate, fresh fruit (which is a rare
thing at a festival),
and plenty of wine (we are in Marin after all). It’s a tough job
but someone has got to do it!

I was talking to a member today over my glass of wine and she
commented that the reason why she loved the Mill Valley Film Festival so
much is because
she could submerge herself into so many different cultures, all
in a day. She described her early morning trip to a Bolivian circus on a
rescue mission in “The Lion Ark” and then off to France to watch
two plucky young girls find friendship and shenanigans in “The

It’s true. A film festival is not like watching a movie on your
couch with a bowl full of microwave popcorn or even a trip to the
multiplex. It’s an
experience. Days filled with subtitles, lines, ballots,
volunteers in matching t-shirts and the most wonderful of all: Q&As.
With a 11-day
festival, my metaphorical passport will be full.

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