Mill Valley Film Festival Will Include Several LGBTQI Films

The MIll Valley Film Festival (MVFF) is pleased to screen the following LGBTQI-themed films as part of the 41st edition of the festival which returns October 4-14, 2018.

The struggle between upholding tradition and moving forward in the modern world is beautifully depicted in this heartfelt tale of the only son of an indigenous tribal leader in present day Taiwan. Alifu (newcomer Utjung Tjakivalid, who won a Best New Talent award at the Taipei Film Festival) lives in two worlds: In Taipei, she’s a hairdresser with a chosen family saving up to have sexual reassignment surgery; in rural Taitung, she’s still known as the son of the ailing tribal leader who is unaware of Alifu’s other life and wishes to pass the reigns onto his only son. With high production values and a number of sensational drag performances, Alifu, the Prince/ss intercuts the title character’s story with intersecting tales of romance among her chosen family, painting a diverse portrait of LGBTQ life in Taiwan and capturing the universal feeling of longing for love and connection, whether those feelings are reciprocated or not.

  • Expected Guest: Director Wang Yu-Lin
  • Screens at MVFF on Saturday, October 13th 4:45 PM at Rafael 2; Sunday, October 14th 2:15 PM at the Lark Theatre

On the cusp of a sexual awakening, 19-year-old Carlitos (Lorenzo Ferro) meets a handsome classmate (Chino Darín), the son of a gun-toting father, and quickly graduates from adorable burglar to full-on sociopath. The titular “ángel” of Luis Ortega’s fourth feature, a box office smash in its native Argentina, is Carlos Robledo Puch, appearing barely post-pubescent with a soft white belly, golden ringlets, and a ruby-tinged pout—looking at odds with his starring role in a notorious 1970s crime spree. Bearing the artistic mark of Pedro Almodóvar (who co-produced the film), this true-crime tale deploys black humor, exuberant pop music, perfect period details, and some anachronistic art, providing subtle historical context in Argentina’s dictatorship and repressive machismo culture without excusing Carlitos’ behavior. Ferro and Darín deliver sensational turns as the criminal duo, with added support from the great Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother) and Mercedes Morán (La ciénaga) as their respective mothers.

  • Screens at MVFF on Sunday, October 7th 9:00 PM at Rafael 2; Monday, October 8th 8:45 PM at Century Larkspur 3

Customs agent Tina has a special talent for sniffing out all manner of malfeasance using her extraordinary sense of smell. Subjected to crude comments from co-workers and cruel treatment at home from her sponger boyfriend, Tina has become a target—for all the ways she is different from everyone else. But when she meets the mysterious Vore, the foundations of her universe begin to crumble. Based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In, MVFF 2008), Border is a gender- and genre-bending love story combining equal parts magical realism, dark humor, and spot-on contemporary social critique, whirled into a jaw-dropping tale in which absolutely nothing—and no one—is who, or what, they seem. Featuring the prodigious acting talents of Eva Melander (Sebbe, MVFF 2010) and Eero Milonoff (The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, MVFF 2016), director Ali Abbasi won the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes for this unforgettable film.

  • Screens at MVFF on Wednesday, October 10th 6:00 PM at Rafael 2; Thursday, October 11th 9:15 PM at Lark Theater

Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe deliver astonishing performances as a devoted Baptist family whose lives are turned upside down after a malicious phone call outs their teenage son, prompting them to send him to a church-sponsored gay conversion camp. Seventeen-year-old Jared reluctantly agrees to his preacher father’s ultimatum: Fix your same-sex attraction or leave the family. Quickly, Jared realizes that the camp’s aggressive, manipulative methods are doing little to shift his own sexual proclivities or those of his peers (which include Canadian auteur Xavier Dolan and pop superstar Troye Sivan), bringing him to a crossroads that will forever alter his life. In his second directorial outing, actor Joel Edgerton (Loving, MVFF 2016) takes the role of the camp’s leader. Edgerton’s adaptation of Garrard Conley’s harrowing memoir is a sensitive, elliptical coming-of-age tale that depicts a universal story of personal struggles that threaten to dissolve familial bonds.

  • Expected Guest: Joel Edgerton
  • Screens at MVFF on Sunday, October 7th 6:00 PM at Sequioa 1 (SPOTLIGHT: JOEL EDGERTON); Tuesday, October 9th 3:00 PM at Sequoia 2

When her once-lucrative career as a journalist and celebrity biographer hits hard times, Lee Israel (a marvelous Melissa McCarthy) discovers a new avenue for her literary skills that will help pay her mounting bills: the specialized art form (and criminal enterprise) of forging witty and salacious personal letters from the likes of Noël Coward and Dorothy Parker and selling them to collectors. With a penchant for rubbing people the wrong way and an unmistakable preference for cats over humans, Israel finds kinship in fellow outsider and streetwise British dandy Jack (a resplendently reprobate Richard E. Grant), and together they become partners in crime. Adapted from Israel’s memoir of the same name and co-scripted by Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), the sophomore feature from Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) offers a humorous and moving portrait of a dynamic oddball couple and their engaging misadventures in early 1990s New York City.

  • Expected Guest: Richard E Grant
  • Screens at MVFF on Wednesday, October 10th 6:30 PM at Rafael 1 (SPOTLIGHT RICHARD E GRANT); Saturday, October 13th 11:30 AM at Rafael 1

In the latest audacious offering from world cinema’s leading provocateur Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Oscar® winners Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone vie for the affections of—and influence over—sickly Queen Anne (a gloriously unhinged Olivia Colman) as England engages in the War of the Spanish Succession. Hardened and loyal Sarah Churchill (Weisz), the Duchess of Marlborough, rests easy knowing her favor with the Queen, but the arrival of her distant cousin Abigail (Stone)—an affable, spirited servant whose ladyship was gambled away by her father—in the castle creates a dangerous triad of lust, jealousy, and power plays. With nods to Peter Greenaway, Lanthimos infuses The Favourite with his signature brand of hilariously deadpan humor, with the three leads perfectly matched to his bawdy wit in yet another truly unforgettable dissection of the darker side of human nature.

  • Screens at MVFF on Saturday, October 6 4:00 PM at Sequoia 1; Wednesday, October 10th 2:15 PM at Sequoia 1

Wrongfully accused of being a double agent due to his family ties to the Ba’ath Party, Ghazwan Alsharif, an Iraqi translator for the US Army, winds up detained, tortured, and interrogated by US Military Police. Under great duress, Alsharif confesses to a truth that has been hiding in plain sight for his entire life: He is gay. Unable to stay in Iraq due to the danger his position brings upon himself and his family, he seeks political asylum in the US and lands in San Francisco. Despite newfound liberation and an exciting career as a chef, the loss of connection to his family and homeland is felt throughout the narrative. Utilizing nearly a decade of footage that is vulnerable, candid, intimate, and at times humorous, From Bagdad to The Bay touches upon themes easily recognizable to those who have had to flee their homes to save themselves: alienation, post-traumatic stress, despair, hope, and rebirth.

  • Screeners available
  • Expected Guests: Director/Producer Erin Palmquist; Producers Frances Reid, Kat Cole, Neva Tassan and Jennifer Huang; Talent Ghazwan Alsharif; Editors Andrew Gersh and Eli Olson
  • Screens at MVFF on Saturday, October 13th 2:00 PM at Rafael 2; Sunday, October 14th 2:15 PM at Sequoia 1

Singer, songwriter, and social activist Holly Near has been performing for well over 50 years and in the process created what Gloria Steinem called, “the first soundtrack of the women’s movement.” From small-town Northern California to sold-out shows on some of the most iconic stages to million-person peace marches, Singing for Our Lives documents the story of the activist and her art. It also serves as an important testament to a time—a time of protest and coalition building, and the weaving of a multicultural consciousness always rooted in contemporary activism. Featuring Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Ronnie Gilbert, and Tom Hayden with appearances by Pete Seeger, and others, this film, directed by Jim Brown (The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time), elevates Near to her deserved status of iconic artist and activist, and speaks to anyone who believes in peace, justice, feminism, and humanity.

  • Expected Guests: Director Jim Brown; Producer Donna Korones; Subject Holly Near
  • Screens at MVFF on Sunday, October 7th 3:00 PM at Sequoia 1; Monday, October 8th 3:15 PM at Rafael 2

An unexpected death. A family struggling with grief. An apprehensive cross-country road trip in winter. These events set the stage for a powerful, nuanced, and emotionally resonant drama centering on a grieving family’s pilgrimage to the apartment of Colleen (Anna Paquin) after her demise. The Parting Glass follows siblings Dan (Denis O’Hare), Mare (Cynthia Nixon), and Ally (Melissa Leo) as they reunite with their father (Ed Asner) and Colleen’s estranged husband (Rhys Ifans). The wonderful rapport of the stellar powerhouse cast makes them instantly believable as family—talking over each other, or bickering about something as simple as ordering breakfast, imbuing the film with an aura of honesty and tenderness in a deeply moving portrait of loss. This impressive directorial debut from acclaimed actor Stephen Moyer reunites him with fellow True Blood stars Paquin, who also co-produced, and O’Hare, who wrote the screenplay based on his own experience coping with his sister’s suicide.

  • Expected Guests: Director Stephen Moyer; Producer Cerise Larkin; Producer/Actor/Writer Denis O’Hare; Producer/Actor Anna Paquin
  • Screens at MVFF on Saturday, October 6th 6:45 PM at Sequoia 2; Sunday, October 7th 3:30 PM at Rafael 2, Friday, October 12th 9:00 PM at Century Larkspur 3

Life in Nairobi is pretty simple for Kena: make good marks in school, help her father as he runs for local office, take care of her forlorn mother, and play football with her guy friends. Though the lanky, androgynous teenager is more likely to be seen skateboarding around her housing estate than donning dresses like a “proper lady,” somehow no one ever questions her sexuality…possibly not even Kena herself. But when the beautiful pink-dreadlocked Ziki, the daughter of her father’s political rival, catches Kena’s eye, a world of possibilities opens up. As they share dreams of breaking free of familial and cultural expectations, it’s not long before local gossips’ tongues start wagging. And in a place where homosexuality is blamed on demon possession, being true to yourself can have dangerous consequences. Banned in Kenya for “legitimizing lesbianism,” this sweet, coming-of-age love story—the first Kenyan film to ever play at Cannes—is a revelation and an inspiration for all ages and genders.

  • Screeners available
  • Screens at MVFF on Friday, October 12th 6:00 PM at Rafael 2; Saturday, October 13 8:00 PM at Century Larkspur
Press/Media Contacts:
Shelley Spicer, Mill Valley Film Festival
Karen Larsen, Larsen Associates
Clara Franco, Hamilton Ink PR
 (Above number and email are not for publication)

Showcasing the Best in Independent and World Cinema
Thursday, October 4 – 14, 2018



Highlights include U.S. Premieres of GREEN BOOK, A PRIVATE WAR

SAN RAFAEL, CA. (September 6, 2018) – The Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF), presented annually by the California Film Institute (CFI), announced today the complete lineup of films, special guests, tributes & spotlights, special events, MVFF Music, and much more for the 41st edition of the festival. The Festival will showcase the finest cinema around Marin County October 4-14, 2018 with a diverse lineup of acclaimed films, filmmakers and special events.

The Festival will screen 204 films, representing 46 countries and will include 24 premieres, 108 features, 96 shorts, and 45% of all films across the 2018 Festival are directed by women.

Opening Night – U.S. Premieres of A PRIVATE WAR and GREEN BOOK

Opening night kicks off Thursday, October 4 with the U.S. Premiere of Aviron Pictures’ A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike as Marie Colvin, one of the most celebrated war correspondents of our era, and Universal Pictures’ Green Book, a sharply observed drama, inspired by real-life events, featuring Mahershala Ali as a classically trained Black jazz piano prodigy Dr. Don Shirley on a 1962 concert tour of the American South. Director Matthew Heineman and Rosamund Pike will be in attendance for A Private War and Oscar® winner Mahershala Ali and director Peter Farrelly for Green Book. Following both films, the Opening Night Gala will be held at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur.

Centerpiece Presentation – ROMA

MVFFs 2018 Centerpiece presentation, ROMA, is the most personal project to date from Academy Award®-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Gravity). ROMA follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s. Attending will be director/writer Alfonso Cuarón.


MVFF41 will close with the Bay Area premiere of IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, Barry Jenkins’ much anticipated follow up to his Oscar winning MOONLIGHT (MVFF39). Jenkins will be present for the screening. The film, based on James Baldwin’s novel of the same name, was adapted by Jenkins’, and follows a pregnant African-American who sets out to clear her fiance’s name after he is falsely imprisoned. The Closing Night Party following the film will be held at Elks Lodge in San Rafael.


MVFF41 will bestow a number of Spotlights throughout the Festival including: honoring rising star Amandla Stenberg for her work in The Hate U Give; Joel Edgerton for his work directing and co-starring in Boy Erased; Karyn Kusama for her directorial effort Destroyer; esteemed actor Richard E. Grant for his performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me?; acclaimed actress Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Kindergarten Teacher; and acknowledge Paul Dano and Carey Mulligan for their creative collaboration on Wildlife.

Tribute – Pawel Pawlikowski

Academy Award winning Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida) will receive a special Tribute from the Festival to celebrate his latest film Cold War, a star-crossed romance set during 1950s Cold War in Poland. Pawlikowski will be present for the awards presentation and an onstage conversation following the film.

Special Presentation – BEAUTIFUL BOY

The Festival will present a Special Presentation screening of Beautiful Boy with Academy Award nominated actor Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Academy Award Nominated actress Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), and Academy Award nominated Belgian director Felix van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown).

Director’s Night – BEN IS BACK

MVFF will present a special Director’s Night screening with director Peter Hedges and the US Premiere of Ben Is Back, starring Academy Award nominated Lucas Hedges (Manchester By The Sea, Lady Bird) and Academy Award winner Julia Roberts.


This year’s Festival features a bevy of Special Screenings with filmmakers in attendance, including director Jason Reitman with The Front Runner, director Stephen Moyer, writer/actor Denis O’Hare and producer/actor Anna Paquin with The Parting Glass, director Maryam Kesharvarz with Viper Club, and directors Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam with The Sweet Requiem. Many more local and international filmmakers will be in attendance throughout the Festival in support of their feature and short films.

Special Multimedia Event – KANNAPOLIS: A MOVING PORTRAIT

MVFF41 will feature the unique program Kannapolis, featuring a film screening of archival videography and photography restored from the 1930’s and edited to a live musical event of original songs performed by multi-instrumentalist Jenny Scheinman, and musicians Robbie Fulks, and Robbie Gjersoe. Director Finn Taylor (Cherish, Unleashed, The Darwin Awards) will also be in attendance.

Behind the Screens – Panels | Master Classes | Workshops

The Festival will present another strong slate of Panels, Master Classes, and Workshops to supplement the outstanding film programming and to continue the discussion for Festival attendees. They include: back for a second year, the Mind The Gap Summit will again feature an extraordinary lineup of thought leaders and creatives in film and tech for a full day intensive to help work and share ideas as the Festival advocates gender equity in film; the annual State of the Industry panel will feature leaders of the independent film world to talk about the current pulse of the independent film community; the From Scene to Screen For Teens workshop, facilitated by Tom Franco and Iris Torres, will allow teenage participants the chance to workshop scenes from Gerrard Conley’s memoir Boy Erased; the Crowdfunding to Build Independence workshop teaches filmmakers the essentials for engaging their audience at every stage of their project; Tom Schlesinger will facilitate the workshop The Heroine’s Journey Onscreen Dramedy, a dive into utilizing the Heroine’s Journey for storytelling; the Medical Marijuana panel, following a screening of Weed the People will focus on the medical uses of marijuana and the many benefits to utilizing cannabis to treat a host of ailments; 420: Welcome The Waldos will illuminate the story behind the origins of the term 420; and finally, Graphic Novel Writing for Teens, is a hands-on workshop following the screening of the film Virus Tropical, and will introduce students to the work of several cartoonists and guide them through the process.

MVFF Music

MVFF Music returns for a fourth year with a diverse series of concerts at the Sweetwater Music Hall. Nine nights of live music include performances by artists featured in MVFF films, as well as local, national, and international musicians. Musicians include: Freddy Jones Band, Jarvis Cocker introducing Jarv is…, Holly Near with Tammy Hall and Jan Martinelli, Michael Franti, Black Zeppelin, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Half Pint, and Honus Honus.


MVFF’s ¡Viva El Cine! Initiative showcases prize-winning Spanish Language and Latin American films that seek to engage and embrace our Spanish speaking and loving audiences. Highlights in this section include: Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma from Mexico, Birds of Passage from Columbia, El Ángel from Argentina, Richard Levien’s Collisions featuring Mexican American characters, Ernesto from Cuba, Too Late to Die Young from Chile, and The Silence of Others from Spain.

Active Cinema

Once again the MVFF’s Active Cinema initiative will showcase film’s power to inspire people to take action to create positive change. Screenings throughout the Festival support the grassroots activism of the filmmakers and engage with the work of the special guests, co-presenters and partners. Highlights include: Charm City in association with Ritter Center; From Baghdad to the Bay in association with the international Rescue Committee, Horizons Foundation, LGBT Asylum Project and Human Rights Watch; Harvest Season in association with La Luz Center; Stay Human in association with Do It For The Love; Time For Ilhan in association with Marin County Young Democrats; Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? In association with Investigative Reporting Program at the Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley and the Center for Investigative Reporting; Wild DaZe in association with Wildlife Works; and the Active Cinema Hike, a free networking in nature event.

Mind The Gap Award – Stacy L. Smith

Mind The Gap, MVFF’s gender equity initiative, amplifies and champions work by women filmmakers, who are changing the narrative that shapes the culture. The Festival is committed to programming 50/50 by 2020 – 50% women directors across all Festival sections by 2020. As part of Mind The Gap this year, the Festival will give Stacy L. Smith the Mind the Gap Award for Visionary Leadership. Smith is a visionary leader in the movement towards gender equity in the film industry. She is an associate professor at USC Annenberg and Founder and Director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the leading think tank globally studying issues of inequality in entertainment. Smith will receive the Mind the Gap Award during the Mind the Gap Summit on Saturday, October 6 where she will also present some of her most recent work.

Focus | Black Is

MVFF’s Focus Black Is will showcase emotionally and socially resonant films that explore what it means to be Black in the contemporary world. Films in this Focus include: the co-opening night film Green Book; The Hate U Give; the Closing Night film If Beale Street Could Talk; Little Woods; Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story; and Obey.

Focus | Teens & 20’s

The Festival’s Focus Teens & 20’s, is a focus on young adult films about that defining – and sometimes challenging – post-adolescent/pre-adult time of life. Films in this Focus include: the short program 5@5 The Way It Is; Angst; the Special Presentation Beautiful Boy; Ben is Back; The Hate U Give; Rafiki; The Silent Revolution; Too Late to Die Young; and Virus Tropical.

Focus | Queer-ish

Diverse stories of queer representation found in a wide, genre-twisting array of films will be showcased in the Festival’s Focus Queer-ish. Films in this Focus include: Alifu The Prince/ss; El Ángel; Border; Joel Edgerton’s Spotlight presentation film Boy Erased; Richard E. Grant’s Spotlight presentation film Can You Ever Forgive Me?; The Favorite; From Baghdad to the Bay; Holly Near: Singing For Our Lives; The Parting Glass; and Rafiki.

Focus | Animation Nation

An assemblage of gorgeous, entertaining, and occasionally kooky animation fiction and non-fiction films from around the globe highlight the Focus Animation Nation. Films in this Focus include: the short program 5@5 Circle Game; The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales; Chris The Swiss; Coco; Seder-Masochism; A Ton O’Toons; Virus Tropical; and Zootopia.

Complete Press Materials are available at:
MVFF41 Marketing Materials

About the Mill Valley Film Festival
Presented by the California Film Institute, the 41st Festival runs October 4 – 14, 2018. Locations this year include: CinéArts@Sequoia (Mill Valley), Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (San Rafael), Cinemark’s Century Theater Larkspur, Lark Theatre (Larkspur), 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 41st year. For more information please visit

CFI is once again proud to acknowledge the leadership support of Christopher B. and Jeannie Meg Smith and Jennifer Coslett MacCready, and the continued major support of Marin Community Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, The Gruber Family Foundation and The EACH 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, Project No. 9 | Truckstop Media, Lucasfilm, Ltd., Delta Air Lines, Netflix, Wareham Development, Bellam Self Storage and Boxes, and the San Francisco Chronicle.