Wed. Oct 21st, 2020

Awards Season Hopefuls, Closing the Gender Gap Highlight the 40th Mill Valley Film Festival

The Current War, Darkest Hour, Rose Marie, Dee Rees, Last Flag Flying and Greta Gerwig highlight the announcement of the lineup of the 40th Mill Valley Film Festival

The Mill Valley Film Festival is entering its 40th season and while it may not have the early instant recognizability of Toronto or Telluride it more than makes up for that with its wealth of awards season films, incredible documentaries and foreign films, Bay Area locals and its push to close the gender gap in film making and festival representation of women. In fact, this year Mill Valley boasts a 44%-female directed lineup across the entire span of films. It looks their hope for a 50/50 split by 2020 should be able to be met.

The 11-day festival has set up some impressive films and talent this season. The two opening night films are Darkest Hour (with director Joe Wright and star Kristin Scott Thomas present), the Winston Churchill bio starring Gary Oldman, for which he is the odds-on favorite for the Best Actor Oscar and Wait For Your Laugh, the acclaimed documentary about acting legend Rose Marie whose career has spanned an astonishing 90 years. You might know her best from The Dick Van Dyke Show but her life story is the stuff of movies itself; from being a bigger earner than Shirley Temple as a child performer to opening the Flamingo Hotel for gangster Bugsy Seigel to loves and friendships with Carl Reiner, Johnny Carson, Milton Berle and more, this is truly a story to be told. Director Jason Wise will be present.

Closing Night is also split between two films; the Edison/Westinghouse dramatic thriller The Current War starring Academy Award nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon. Director Alfonso Gomez Rejon is expected to attend. Also, Lady Bird, the directorial debut of actress/writer Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan in a semi-autobiographical tale of a girl growing up in Sacramento. Gerwig is expected to attend and receive the MVFF award. 

The Centerpiece film is Last Flag Flying with director Richard Linklater expected to attend.

Spotlights and Tributes also punctuate a packed schedule. Spotlights for Dee Rees (Mudbound) and Andrew Garfield (Breathe) and Tributes for Sean Penn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Holly Hunter and Todd Haynes (Wonderstruck) are set.

Festival favorites already this season and awards hopefuls like Call Me By Your Name, The Shape of Water, The Florida Project, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will be there as well as Foreign Language Film Oscar contenders like The Square (Sweden), The Divine Order (Switzerland), In the Fade (Germany), Thelma (Norway), Spoor (Poland) and Summer 1993 (Spain) round out the lineup.

But there’s more than just films at the festival; panels on women in the industry, tech, film making for kids, musical performances and a spectacular VR installation you have to see to believe will highlight this already exciting festival.

Check for the full schedule. The 40th Mill Valley Film Festival runs October 5-15, 2017.

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