Mill Valley Fest Kicks Off in California
by Brian Brooks
Northern California's Mill Valley Film Festival opened with a roster that includes eleven world premieres and fourteen U.S. premieres. Director Tom McCarthy attended the opening night of the festival for a screening of Sundance 2003 award-winner, "The Station Agent," which ushered in the 11-day event, one of three films screening last night for the festival's launch. Also unspooling was director Carl Franklin's "Out of Time" starring Denzel Washington and John Sayles' Toronto 2003 feature, "Casa de los Babys." Lili Taylor, who stars in the film, will be a recipient of one of the festival's 'Tributes' this year.
Also receiving 'Tributes' are director Denys Arcand, who will screen his latest film, Toronto winner "Les Invasions Barbares," (The Barbarian Invasions), which will close the fest, as well as actor Peter Coyote ("Femme Fatale," "Northfork"). This year's centerpiece film is Campbell Scott's "Off the Map." Sam Elliott, who stars in the film, will be present at the screening. The directorial debut of James Redford's "Spin" starring Stanley Tucci and Ruben Blades (who will both attend the event) will have its world premiere, while Christine Jeffs' "Sylvia" starring Gwyneth Paltrow will have its U.S. premiere at Mill Valley.
For this year's 26th edition of the fest, Mill Valley will spotlight films from Africa in its Cinema Africa! sidebar. Screening in the series is the world premiere of "Beat the Drum" and Nick Hughes' "100 Days" as well as other features, docs and shorts. Documentaries will screen in the Valley of the Docs section of the festival including Tseten Phanucharas' "Dreaming of Tibet" and the world premiere of Brigitte Brault's "Afghanistan Unveiled." Following the screening of that film, a panel discussion will be held on topics addressed in the film with at least one of the Afghan women involved in the project taking part in the panel.
The festival will take place at CineArts@Sequoia in downtown Mill Valley and the Christopeher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael as well as other venues. The festival ends October 12th.
[For more information, please visit: http://www.cafilm.org ]