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Notes on the 36th Mill Valley Film Festival

Notes on the 36th Mill Valley Film Festival

The 36th
Mill Valley Film Festival had over 125 screenings, over
75 directors in attendance, and over 1600 California Film
Institute members have attended films. It’s been a busy 8 days and I’m
not counting on any
sleep until Monday.

The past few nights have included some serious high profile
talent: Jared Leto came with Dallas Buyers Club‘s US premiere. For his
first acting role in
five years, he showed no rust. The audience must have been
undoubtedly different than a Thirty Seconds to Mars concert with an
arena filled with
screaming teens. Few ticket holders knew him from his his raw
performance in Requiem for a Dream and even fewer remembered him as
dreamy Jordan
Catalano from My So-Called Life (I almost got out my Angela
Chase costume from last year’s Halloween but thought it might clash with
my staff badge).
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see the film but neither was Leto
who revealed to the audience in the Q&A that he had still not seen
Dallas Buyers
and wasn’t planning to anytime soon.

Following the screening of his film 12 Years A Slave (which
just won the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival), director
Steve McQueen sat
down this morning with colleagues J.C. Chandor (All is Lost),
Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace),
and John Wells
(August: Osage County) for “

Variety Focus on Director’s Panel

,” or, my favorite hour and a half of the festival. The five
directors spoke with moderator Peter Caranicas from Variety about their
recent projects
and the process of working with distributors and actors. The
five had great energy and honesty. Coogler told us how he wore a tie and
backpack to his
initial meeting with the film’s producer Forrest Whitaker and
Scott Cooper gave a gracious shout out to legendary independent
filmmaker Rob Nilsson who
was in the audience. For me, I enjoyed the panels comments on
scoring a film whether it was the challenges of working with composers
or the power of an
absence of music in film to let the sound design do the magic.

With a great morning behind me, I’m excited to take on the last
two days of the festival. Maybe I’ll even be able to fit in a movie!


Dallas Buyers Club

12 Years a Slave

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