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CA Film Institute Celebrates Five Years at Rafael Film Center with Undiscovered Gems and More

CA Film Institute Celebrates Five Years at Rafael Film Center with Undiscovered Gems and More

CA Film Institute Celebrates Five Years at Rafael Film Center with Undiscovered Gems and More

by Eugene Hernandez

Woody Harrelson in “Go Further,” the opening selection in the Undiscovered Gems series, debuting this week at the Rafael Film Center. Image provided by Sphinx Productions.

The California Film Institute in Marin County, known for its long running Mill Valley Film Festival, is toasting the 5th anniversary of its Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center with a five-week celebration that kicked off last night in Northern California and will include “Undiscovered Gems,” a special two-week series showcasing films from indieWIRE’s annual list of the top undistributed films. Also on tap are new programs and notable appearances through early May.

Peter Coyote, a local resident and co-star of Jean-Paul Rappeneau‘s “Bon Voyage,” was invited to present a screening of the film on Sunday night, followed by a Q&A after the showing.

The California Film Institute’s “indieWIRE Undiscovered Gems” will present twelve films from April 1-15 at the Rafael, kicking off with Ron Mann‘s “Go Further” on Thursday. The team at the Film Institute invited all 20 films named by indieWIRE’s editors and writers as the best undistributed films of last year, scheduling a showing for those that were willing and available. Some have since secured a release.

“In programming the various events and special series for the festivities, we strove to show a selection of special programs that would represent a microcosm of our year-round programming,” explained Smith Rafael Film Center Associate Director of Programming and Public Relations Rama Dunayevich by email on Friday, “Celebrating independent international cinema and working together with wonderful partners is exactly the kind of programming we stand for. We anticipate that this year’s indieWIRE Undiscovered Gems is just the first year of what will become an annual celebration.

Films set to be screen in the series include: Mann’s “Go Further,” Allan Mindel‘s “Milwaukee, Minnesota,” Jesse Moss“Speedo,” Marco Bellocchio‘s “Good Morning, Night” (Buongiorno, Notte), Rodrigo Bellott‘s “Sexual Dependency” (Dependencia Sexual), Hany Abu-Assad‘s “Ford Transit,” Gyorgy Szomjas‘s “Vagabond,” Brad T. Gottfred‘s “The Movie Hero,” Randy Nargi‘s “G-Sale,” Laura Gabbert‘s “Sunset Story,” Ulrich Seidl‘s “Jesus, You Know” (Jesus, Du Weisst), Ross McElwee‘s “Bright Leaves.” Filmmakers will be sharing in revenues earned by the screenings. [indieWIRE will publish additional coverage of the series later this week.]

Also on tap for the fifth anniversary of the restored San Rafael venue is a new series, dubbed “The Films of My Life,” which will present notable film figures presenting screenings of favorite films. It will kick off on April 10th with Saul Zaentz presenting a screening of Jim Sheridan‘s “My Left Foot,” two weeks later George Lucas will screen Akira Kurosawa‘s “Seven Samurai.” In May, John Korty will screen Francois Truffaut‘s “Jules and Jim.” Other program highlights for the celebration include an exploration of movie censorship, an in-depth look at “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” and a tribute to visual effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen. The five-week anniversary period will conclude in May will a free outdoor sing-a-long screening of “A Hard Day’s Night,” projected onto the façade of theater itself.

“For many years the California Film Institute, through the Mill Valley Film Festival and now through the Smith Rafael Film Center, has been committed to showing works that are difficult to find anywhere else, either because they do not have distribution, or there is no venue for their display,” explained California Film Institute executive director Mark Fishkin in an email interview with indieWIRE. “The lack of quality venues that will nurture and exhibit hard to be seen films, is as inhibiting as the ability of these films to find money for production. For too many years independent movies have been relegated to the oldest, single-screen cinemas. The Rafael has changed that model by becoming a center for independent filmmaking putting as much effort and consideration into the quality of presentation as to its choice of programming.”

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