Mill Valley Film Festival Focuses on Women Directors and Stories.

The Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF) is proud to present the third year of our gender equity Initiative Mind The Gap: Women | Film | Tech, a festival-wide celebration and call to action, focused on the intersection of film and tech, culminating in an all-day Mind The Gap Summit at the Outdoor Art Club (OAC) on Saturday, October 7th, 2017.

In anticipation of MVFF’s 40th anniversary, the Festival committed to the goal of 40% female directors and female-driven storytelling across the whole spectrum of the Festival—World, US, Docs, Shorts. MVFF programmers tracked three things: women directors, women creatives (directors, writers, producers) and story: Are the stories female forward? Do the female characters have agency? What we confirmed: There is no shortage of amazing women making terrific films, and there is incredible female-forward storytelling to be found. This year, we exceeded our goal—with 44% women directors at MVFF40!

Mind the Gap at MVFF40 launches with our first ever Mind the Gap Summit on Saturday, October 7th at the Outdoor Art Club from 10am to 6pm with an amazing line-up of female talent.

Saturday, October 7th, 10:00am – 6:00pm, Outdoor Art Club
Achieving Gender Parity in Film and Tech

This full-day intensive of presentations, discussions, master classes and networking opportunities will be led by an extraordinary line-up of key thought leaders and creatives in the film and tech industries. The program includes a deep dive into the creative process with director Catherine Hardwicke, a panel with the incredible 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.

Some invited guests include: Blye Faust (producer, Spotlight), Lynne Hale (Lucasfilm); Robin Hauser (director, CODE); Stephanie Lampkin (Blendoor); Dawn Lion (Glassdoor) Amber Kirsch (visual effects producer, Wonder Woman); Pratibha Parmar (director, Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth); Tiffany Shlain (filmmaker, 50/50); Osnat Shurer (producer, Moana); and the creative team from Mudbound. See for a complete list and schedule. Registration is available for a morning session, afternoon session, or the full day at
Watch out for programs by and about extraordinary women throughout the Festival – more to be announced!
 5@5 All the Madmen (shorts program): Creswick (Australia, dir. Natalie Erika James) A daughter’s return home is not all it seems; The Dark of Night (US, dir. Robin Wright) Leslie Bidd and Sam Rockwell star in the b&w film noir; Fry Day (US, dir. Laura Moss) Ted Bundy’s execution is the backdrop for a girl’s unnerving night out; Napalm Mayhem (Netherlands, dir. Oscar) Allegorical film is probably the most bizarre animated film you’ll see all year; Nothing a Little Soap & Water Can’t Fix (US, dir. Jennifer Proctor) The sensual and sinister history of the bathtub in movie culture gets an incisive exploration; Pix (Germany, narrative short, dir. Sophie Lennenbaum) Breaks down the fourth wall in our nostalgia-fueled photo-obsessed culture; Real Artists (US, dir. Cameo Wood) Takes us into a job interview of the future
After the War (Italy, narrative feature, dir. Annarita Zambrano) With suspense and emotional acuity, After the War depicts the interpersonal aftermath of political turmoil with sensitivity and balance.

Bill Frisell, A Portrait (US, documentary feature, dir. Emma Franz) Emma Frantz’s portrait of the unassuming Grammy winning guitarist and composer is an insightful glimpse into an eclectic musical mind of genius caliber.

Ciao Ciao (France, narrative feature, dir. Song Chuan) Twentysomething city dweller Ciao Ciao is killing time in her backwater birthplace. Bored, she begins flirting with both a screw-up and a kindly hairdresser.

City of Joy (US, documentary feature, dir. Madeleine Gavin) This enthralling documentary follows Jane, a Congolese woman who lives at a sanctuary for female victims of sexualized violence in a country long devastated by war.

The Corridor (US, documentary feature, dirs. Annelise Wunderlich and Richard O’Connell) Orange may be the new black, but films that take us behind real jailhouse walls can still provide revelations.

The Desert Bride (Argentina, narrative feature, dirs. Cecilia Atan and Valeria Pivato)
Teresa is a reserved woman who journeys across rural western Argentina towards a new job in this warm and delicate film.

The Divine Order (Switzerland, narrative feature, dir. Petra Volpe) A bucolic alpine village becomes a battleground for social change in 1970 Switzerland in writer/director Petra Volpe’s feel-good drama.

Faces, Places (France, documentary feature, dir. Agnès Varda) Film auteur Agnès Varda and street photographer JR are creators of images from different generations.

Félicité (France, narrative feature, dir. Alain Gomis) Franco-Sengalese filmmaker Alain Gomis (Tey, MVFF 2012) crafts an incredible story of maternal endurance, driven by a vibrant soundtrack of rump-shaking Afro-pop.

I Still Hide to Smoke (France, narrative feature, dir. Rayhana Obermeyer) This tight, tense, and riveting drama, is set in an Algerian women’s bathhouse that serves as both warm sanctuary and steamy political crucible for a group of culturally and religiously diverse women over the course one momentous day.

In Syria (Belgium, narrative feature, dir. Philippe Van Leeuw) A woman holds her family together, assuring them they will survive the siege, as they remain trapped inside their apartment in war-torn Damascus.
The Inland Road (New Zealand, narrative feature, dir. Jackie Van Beek) While hitchhiking across New Zealand’s South Island, 16-year-old Tia (Gloria Popata) finds unlikely shelter with a grieving family impacted by a fatal car crash.
In The Fade (Germany, narrative feature, dir. Fatih Akin) Diane Kruger shines in her first German-language film as a woman living in Hamburg with her Turkish husband and their son. When tragedy strikes, she must face prejudice and ignorance to ensure justice is served.
Jaha’s Promise (Ireland, documentary feature, dirs. Patrick Farelly and Kate O’ Callaghan) In this powerful and inspiring documentary, Gambian activist Jaha Dukureh leads a global crusade against the barbaric customs that nearly ended her life.
Jane (US, documentary feature, dir. Brett Morgan) No one had studied Africa’s chimpanzees in the wild before 26-year-old Jane Goodall set up camp in Tanzania’s Gombe forest. This documentary, using never-before-seen 1960s footage by famed National Geographic photographer Hugo van Lawick, captures that revolutionary encounter, which still rocks science.

Just One Drop (US, documentary feature, dir. Laurel Chiten) This timely examination of legitimacy and access to holistic healthcare proves the best medicine is open curiosity and more scientific research.

Kim Swims  (US, documentary feature, dir. Kate Webber) Despite the danger, swimmer Kim Chambers is determined to become the first woman to cross the 30 treacherous miles from the shark-infested Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge in the frigid San Francisco Bay.

The Last Animals (US, documentary feature, dir. Kate Brooks) War photographer Kate Brooks documents another kind of conflict: the illegal ivory trade versus the anti-poaching rangers, scientists, and activists dedicated to protecting and preventing the extinction of rhinoceroses and elephants.
The Last Pig (US, documentary feature, dir. Allison Argo) A pig farmer cares humanely for his herd, which he recognizes as fellow sentient beings.

The Light of the Moon (US, narrative drama, dir. Jessica M. Thompson) While walking home alone from a party late one night, the life of a confident and successful young Brooklyn-based architect is tragically changed when a stranger sexually assaults her.

Liyana (Swaziland, narrative animated feature, dirs. Aaron Kopp and Amanda Kopp) Creative sparks fly when young Swazi orphans are invited to tell their own story, inspired by harsh life experience and rich imagination.

The Long Shadow (US, documentary feature, dir. Frances Causey) In this powerful documentary, journalist and activist Frances Causey seeks the roots of our current racial conflicts.

Los Perros (Chile, narrative feature, dir. Marcela Said) When her riding instructor is charged with human rights abuses stemming from the Pinochet era, a wealthy, fortysomething woman is faced with the systems of privilege and denial that she has accepted and encouraged.
Loving Vincent (UK, narrative feature, dirs. Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman) The animated Loving Vincent audaciously chronicles Vincent van Gogh’s life and art.
Mankiller (US, documentary feature, dir. Valerie Red-Horse Mohl) This profile in courage illuminates the life and times of Wilma Mankiller, first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Mary Janes: The Women of Weed (US, documentary feature, dir. Windy Borman) From farms to labs to dispensaries and beyond, this fascinating and immersive documentary sheds light on the female researcher and entrepreneurs blazing a trail in today’s legalized marijuana industry.

Metamorphosis: Junior Year (US, narrative feature, dir. Elysium Bandini Studios) Created by Palo Alto High School students in collaboration with James Franco and based on a Young Adult novel by Betsy Franco, this coming-of-age tale takes on the themes that define youth: identity, sex, purpose, drugs, self-image.

Moana (US, narrative animated feature, dirs. John Musker and Ron Clements) Oscar®-nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, this dashing adventure set in long-ago Polynesia follows a brave teen’s quest to save her island and restore ecological balance to the planet.

Mr. Roosevelt (US, narrative feature, dir. Noel Wells) After escaping the velvet rut of Austin to pursue a comedy career in LA, Emily returns to deal with a cat and life crisis.

Mudbound (US, narrative feature, dir. Dee Rees) Two families, one white, one black, warily share space on a sodden Mississippi farm in Jim Crow south.

My Happy Family (Germany, narrative feature, dirs. Nana Ekvtimishvli and Simon Gross) Frustrated by the needs of her raucous intergenerational family, middle-aged teacher Manana yearns for a life of her own.

Not Alone (US, narrative feature, dir. Jacqueline Monetta and Kiki Goshay) Conceived and created by, for and about teens, Not Alone is an inspiriting testament to the power of love and compassion.

Nothingwood (France, documentary feature, dir. Sonia Kronlund) Meet Salim Shaheen, iconic Afghan actor, prodigiously prolific filmmaker, producer, and all-around raconteur.

On the Beach at Night Alone (South Korea, narrative feature, dir. Hong Sangsoo) An actress licks her wounds after an affair with a married man falls apart.

One of Us (US, documentary feature, dirs. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady) Oscar®-nominated directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) reveal the insular and enigmatic world of Hasidim through the journeys of three very different individuals in various stages of departure from their ultra-orthodox Jewish communities in the United States.
Owls & Mice (Netherlands, narrative feature, dir. Simone van Dusseldorp) A quirky nature tale/kid-rock musical about a new girl in town.
Porcupine Lake (Canada, narrative feature, dir. Ingrid Veninger) The latest feature film by the DIY Queen of Canadian filmmaking brings wide-eyed, 13-year-old city dweller Bea to a small rural town where she meets brash, long-haired tomboy Kate. As Bea becomes enamored with all things Kate, the world opens up before her. But all summers must end.

Radiance (Japan, narrative feature, dir. Naomi Kawase) A woman who creates audio description for movies for the sight-impaired meets a photographer who’s lost his vision.

The Relationtrip (US, narrative feature, dirs. Renée Felice Smith and C.A. Gabriel) Apathetic towards relationships, loners Beck and Liam escape on a “friendship friend-trip,”

A Sibling Mystery (US, narrative feature, dirs. Rachel Wortell and Dan Erickson) A lively brother-and-sister team solve the mystery of a missing lottery ticket while attempting to throw the most awesome party of all time

Snowy Bing Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone (US, experimental feature, dirs. Rachel Wolther and Alex H. Fischer) This candy-colored intergalactic adventure is a dance routine, improv show, and performance-art installation all rolled into one outlandish joyride.

Spoor (Poland, narrative feature, dir. Agnieszka Holland) A mountainous Polish village provides the setting for thrice Academy Award®-nominated director Agnieszka Holland’s unusual murder mystery.

Strange Birds (France, narrative feature, dir. Elise Girard) Intoxication is in the air, literally, in this charmingly offbeat love story.

Summer 1993 (Spain, narrative feature, dir. Carla Simón) In Carla Simón’s sun-brushed autobiographical drama, six-year-old Frida is brought to live with her uncle and his family in the countryside after her parents’ death from AIDS.

Thelma (Norway, narrative feature, dir. Carla Simón) Gasp-inducing supernatural coming-of-age story about Thelma, a timid college student, whose attraction to her new friend Anja awakens a dark power beyond her control.
Tip of My Tongue (US, narrative feature, dir. Joachim Trier) Filmmaker Lynne Sachs celebrates turning 50 by creating a social experiment in history, memory and the shape of things, collaborating with similarly aged New Yorkers to explore the five decades leading to this moment.

Vazante (Brazil, narrative feature, dir. Daniela Thomas) Masterfully photographed in silvery black and white and directed at a mesmerizing pace by longtime Walter Salles collaborator Daniela Thomas, Vazante spins the tale of a middle-aged slaveholder in colonial Brazil who marries his young niece.

Vitch (US, documentary feature, dir. Sigal Bujman) Eddie Vitch, a Polish Jewish entertainer and Hollywood caricaturist, found fame in pre-war Paris as a comedian. But in a dark twist, he spent the war years entertaining Nazi troops throughout Europe.

Wendy (Germany, narrative feature, dir. Dagmar Seume) This picturesque film about a resilient young equestrian is a moving story punctuated with humor about friendship, compassion and courage.

Western  (Germany, narrative feature, dir. Valeska Grisebach) German filmmaker Valeska Grisebach returns with a tale of a German laborer (Meinhard Neumann) caught between his boorish co-workers and the Bulgarian locals they’re “helping” by bringing progress to a small village. It’s a cutting allegory for Europe’s identity crisis, as well as a refashioning of the titular genre as a backwards fight between the frontier and encroaching civilization.

Worst Case We Get Married (Canada, narrative feature, dir. Léa Pool) Montreal’s gritty Central-South neighborhood doesn’t offer much for teenage Aïcha until she meets dreamy Baz, a handsome neighbor twice her age.

Yeva (Armenia, narrative feature, dir. Anahid Abad) A single mother and her daughter arrive in a small Armenian village seeking protection from vengeful in-laws in this compelling dramatic portrait of a border town struggling with personal secrets and the aftereffects of war.

Sponsors for Mind The Gap include Glassdoor, Andalou Naturals, Lunafest, Tanji, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Marin Community Foundation.

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