Mill Valley Film Festival Announces Complete Lineup

The Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF), presented annually by the California Film Institute, is pleased to announced the complete lineup for the 40th edition of the festival. The festival will celebrate cinema throughout Marin County October 5-15, 2017 with a diverse array of acclaimed films, filmmakers, and events.

Opening Night –DARKEST HOUR
The festival will open with the Bay Area premiere of DARKEST HOUR, director Joe Wright’s story of Winston Churchill’s rise to power both as Prime Minister and as architect of the push against the imminent, inevitable Nazi invasion of Britain in WWII. Gary Oldman stars as Churchill and Kristin Scott Thomas co-stars as his wife Clementine. Scott Thomas will be in attendance opening night alongside director Joe Wright.

Thursday, October 5 at 7:00pm at CinéArts Sequoia

Following the film, the Festival will host the Opening Night Gala at Marin Country Mart with live music by Wonderbread 5

MVFF will close its 40 anniversary with two films. THE CURRENT WAR, from director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (ME, EARL, AND THE DYING GIRL) will make its Bay Area premiere. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse.

Sunday, October 15 at 5:00pm at CinéArts Sequoia

The Festival will also close with Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut LADY BIRD with Gerwig in attendance. The film, which stars Saoirse Ronan, follows “Lady Bird”, a senior at a Catholic High school in Sacramento, desperate to leave as she navigates the complex relationships in her life.

Sunday, October 15 at 5:00pm at Smith Rafael Film Center

For the Centerpiece presentation, MVFF40 will screen Richard Linklater’s latest film LAST FLAG FLYING starring Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne. The film, a sequel to Hal Ashby’s 1973 classic THE LAST DETAIL, follows three veterans who reunite to bury the body of one of their sons. Linklater will be in attendance for the screening.

Thursday, October 12 at 7:00pm at Smith Rafael Film Center

Tribute to Kristin Scott Thomas
Dame Kristin Scott Thomas will be presented with a Tribute, recognizing her astonishing career which has spanned decades and garnered her an Academy Award Nomination (THE ENGLISH PATIENT), and 26 other international awards. As part of the tribute program, there will be an onstage conversation with Scott Thomas, a screening of DARKEST HOUR, and a presentation of the MVFF Award. Following the program, the festival will host a celebratory reception at Il Fornaio in Corte Madera.

Friday, October 6 at 6:30pm at Smith Rafael Film Center

Tribute to Sean Penn
The festival will recognize American film icon Sean Penn and his career spanning three decades with a Tribute presentation. Penn has been nominated five times for an Academy Award and won twice for MYSTIC RIVER in 2003 and MILK in 2009. A longtime-guest and friend of the festival, Sean Penn will return for the 40th edition of the festival. The program will feature an onstage conversation, a clip reel of Penn’s work and the presentation of the MVFF award.

Saturday, October 7 at 3:00pm at Smith Rafael Film Center

Tribute to Holly Hunter
MVFF is proud to honor Academy Award Winning actress Holly Hunter with a special tribute. Hunter’s career on the stage and screen spans back to the early 1980’s winning recognition for her performance in RAISING ARIZONA, BROADCAST NEWS, MISS FIRECRACKER, ALWAYS and ROE VS. WADE. Hunter has earned raves for her latest performance in 2017’s THE BIG SICK. Hunter will be present for the program which will feature an onstage conversation, a clip reel of her work and the presentation of the MVFF Award. A special celebratory reception at Tiburon Tavern will follow.

Sunday, October 8 at 6:30pm at Smith Rafael Film Center

Tribute to Todd Haynes
Considered one of the pioneers of the New Queer Cinema movement and an auteur of outstanding American Independent films, Todd Haynes will be celebrated for his body of work with a Tribute and screening of his latest film WONDERSTRUCK, which will make its California premiere at MVFF40. The tribute program will feature an onstage conversation with Haynes, a screening of WONDERSTRUCK and the presentation of the MVFF award. A reception at Green Chile Kitchen in San Rafael will follow the program.

Friday, October 13 at 7:00pm at Smith Rafael Film Center

Spotlight on Dee Rees
The festival will recognize powerhouse director and screenwriter Dee Rees with a special Spotlight presentation honoring her latest directorial effort MUDBOUND, a powerful tale of two families whose fates intertwine in the 1940’s Jim Crow South. The Spotlight program will feature an onstage conversation with Rees, the Bay Area premiere of MUDBOUND, and the presentation of the MVFF Award. Following the presentation, the festival will host a reception at the Out-Door Art Club in Mill Valley.

Saturday, October 7 at 6:30pm at CinéArts Sequoia

Spotlight on Andrew Garfield
Academy Award Nominated actor Andrew Garfield will receive a Spotlight presentation honoring his past work, but also recognizing his remarkable performance in Andy Serkis’ BREATHE. Garfield will be on hand for the Spotlight presentation which will feature an onstage conversation, a screening of BREATHE, and the presentation of the MVFF Award. Following the presentation, the festival will host a reception at the Out-Door Art Club in Mill Valley.

Saturday, October 14 at 7:00pm at Smith Rafael Film Center

Behind the Screens – Panels | Master Classes | Workshops | VR
The festival is pleased to present a diverse array of panels, master classes, workshops and VR presentations to round out the festival experience for attendees. These events include: panels on gender parity in the film industry; screenwriting workshops for teenagers; cannabis culture discussions; a retrospective master class on John Sanborn; a VR experience about trees; a talk about teen suicide; an overview of the state of VR in the industry; and an industry panel discussing the state of independent film.

MVFF Music
MVFF Music returns for a third year with a diverse series of concerts at the Sweetwater Music Hall. Ten nights of live music include performances by artists featured in MVFF films, as well as local, national, and international musicians. Festival attendees can drop in and discover their new favorite act, or make a night of it and pair a screening about an artist with their corresponding live show.

MVFF’s ¡Viva el Cine! initiative showcases prize-winning Spansh-language and Latin American films and stories. This season, we feature eight new films including the inspiring true story of a Berkeley middle school teacher’s mentorship of a promising Hispanic student. Other films tackle the thorny political issues of historical culpability and the disenfranchised seeking justice from corrupt governments. Additional highlights include, personal stories of a child’s adjustment to family loss, a fantastic transgender waitress/singer, and a young Cuban boy yearning to play the piano.

Active Cinema – Question | Engage | Transform
MVFF’s Active Cinema films are united in their commitment to explore the world and its issues, engage audiences, and trans- form ideas into action. Join the festival for screenings throughout the Festival, support the grassroots activism of filmmakers, and engage with the admirable work of special guests, co-presenters, and partners. Additionally, the festival will host the annual Active Cinema Hike: Networking in Nature, a chance for filmmakers and festival guests to share ideas and strategies.

Mind the Gap – Women | Film | Tech
In anticipation of MVFF’s 40th anniversary, the festival committed to the goal of 40% female directors across the whole spectrum of the Festival—world, US, docs, shorts—and 50/50 by 2020. (To put this in perspective, only 7% of Hollywood films are directed by women.) The festival found no shortage of amazing women making terrific films, and incredible female-forward storytelling. The festival exceeded its goal—with 44% women directors at MVFF40! Mind the Gap at MVFF40, the gender equity initiative, focuses on the intersection of film and tech, and launches with our first ever Mind the Gap Summit.

Mind the Gap Summit
This full-day intensive of presentations, discussions, master classes and networking will be led by an extraordinary line-up of thought leaders and creatives in the film and tech industries. The program includes a deep dive into the creative process with director Catherine Hardwicke (director, TWILIGHT), a panel with the team behind the film MUDBOUND, and presentations by the filmmakers of recent top female-driven movies. Examining the intersections between film and tech and what each can learn from the other, this is an amazing opportunity to engage, connect—and be inspired.

CFI Education turns the Festival into a classroom, bringing thousands of Bay Area students to the theater and sending filmmakers out to local schools.
MVFF EDUCATION SCREENINGS feature weekday matinees of narrative features, documentaries, and shorts programs selected from the general Festival program for school-age audiences, with special guests for post-screening Q&As and accompanying curriculum guides.

BOYHOOD. GIRLHOOD. CHILDHOOD. ADULTHOOD… WELCOME TO filmHOOD! filmHOOD is a place where filmgoers of every age can come to experience great cinema from around the world. This is a place where children, teens and young adults are an essential part of the conversation—both on screen and off. The festival invites all to filmHOOD for a carefully curated array of intergenerational, eye-opening programs.

Focus | Cannabis Culture
The festival will present a series of mind-expanding films, music and conversations about cannabis including: MARY JANES: WOMEN OF WEED, MVFF Music: Wailing Souls, Panel: Cannabis Culture & the New Entrepreneur, a Private Reception (Canna-Pass holders only, ages 21+) and WOODSTOCK. Additionally, the festival will be selling a $40 Canna-Pass which grants access to all Cannabis Culture programs.

Focus | Polish Cinema
Classic animation, beautiful restorations and contemporary fiction highlight the festival’s focus on Polish Cinema. Films in the program include: LOVING VINCENT, THE SANDGLASS, SPOOR and UNDER THE RADAR: 70 YEARS OF POLISH ANIMATION.

Focus | Hiding & Seeking
The festival will also present a special focus on films that explore the price of freedom and the search for hope in challenging times. These films include: AN ACT OF DEFIANCE, AFTER THE WAR, I STILL HIDE TO SMOKE, IN SYRIA, THE INVISIBLES, THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE and YEVA.

Focus | Stewards of the Earth
As part of the Focus on Stewards of the Earth, the festival will present film and media experiences that support the survival and salvation of all forms of life on our planet.

Additional Festival Highlights
Additional festival highlights include: Jonas Carpignano’s 2017 Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight selection A CIAMBRA; Mark Tchelistcheff’s portrait of the “dean of American wine” Andrea Tchelistcheff, ANDRE: THE VOICE OF WINE; THE BALLAD OF LEFT BROWN, which features a masterful performance by Bill Pullman; Robin Campillo’s 2017 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix, FIPRESCI Prize and Queer Palm winner 120 BPM; Luca Guadagnino’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, starring Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg; Petra Volpe’s THE DIVINE ORDER, Switzerland’s official submission for the Foreign Language Oscar; FACE, PLACES, Agnès Varda’s look at two singular artists traveling together; Sebastián Lelio’s masterful drama A FANTASTIC WOMAN; Alain Gomis’ FÉLICITÉ; Paul McGuigan’s FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL, starring Annette Bening; Sean Baker’s humanist look at childhood in THE FLORIDA PROJECT; Simon Curtis’ GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN, a look at the backstory behind Winnie the Pooh, starring Domhnall Gleeson and Margo Robbie; Ai Weiwei’s heartbreaking look at the migrant crisis HUMAN FLOW; Diana Kruger’s 2017 Cannes Best Actress Winning performance IN THE FADE; Ziad Doueiri’s Golden Lion nominated THE INSLUT; Paolo Virzì’s THE LEISURE SEEKER, starring Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren; Claire Denis’ LET THE SUNSHINE IN starring Juliette Binoche; Andrey Zvyaginstev’s 2017 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize winner LOVELESS; Noah Baumbach’s THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES, starring Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Emma Thompson; acclaimed screenerwriter Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut MOLLY’S GAME, starring Jessica Chastain; Sally Potter’s THE PARTY, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall, and Patricia Clarkson; Guillermo del Toro’s highly anticipated THE SHAPE OF WATER starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, and Octavia Spencer; Ruben Östlund 2017 Palme d’Or Winner THE SQUARE; Martin McDonagh’s THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI starring Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell; and the world premiere of Christopher Coppola’s TORCH.

Complete Press Materials are available at:
MVFF40 Marketing Materials

About the Mill Valley Film Festival
Presented by the California Film Institute, the 40th Festival runs October 5-15, 2017. Locations this year include: CinéArts@Sequoia (Mill Valley), Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (San Rafael), Lark Theatre (Larkspur), Cinema Corte Madera and other theatres throughout the Bay Area. With a reputation for launching new films and creating awards season buzz, MVFF has earned a reputation as a “filmmakers’ festival” by celebrating the best in American independent and world cinema alongside high profile and prestigious award contenders.

About the California Film Institute
The non-profit California Film Institute (CFI) celebrates and promotes film by presenting the annual Mill Valley Film Festival and DocLands Documentary Film Festival, exhibiting film year-round at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, and building the next generation of filmmakers and audiences through CFI Education.  CFI relies on the generosity of its community to sustain these core programs. The invaluable support of our sponsors, foundations, and individual donors ensures our continued success as we celebrate our 40th year. For more information please visit

CFI is once again proud to acknowledge the leadership support of Christopher B. and Jeannie Meg Smith, Jennifer Coslett MacCready and the Ken and Jackie Broad Family Foundation, and the continued major support of Marin Community Foundation and The Bernard Osher Foundation, The Gruber Family Foundation, The EACH Foundation and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. We are also fortunate to have the contributions of the following Signature and Major Sponsors of the Mill Valley Film Festival: Wells Fargo, Jackson Square Partners, Lucasfilm, Ltd., Maroevich, O’Shea & Coghlan Insurance Services, Wareham Development, Bellam Self Storage and Boxes, Ghilotti Construction Company, Project No. 9 | Truckstop Media and San Francisco Chronicle.