The 43rd Annual Mill Valley Film Festival and DocLands Documentary Film Festival (previously postponed) to Run in Tandem October 8-18
Mark Fishkin, Founder/ Director of the Mill Valley Film Festival, today announced the complete list of honorees for the 43rd Mill Valley Film Festival and DocLands Documentary Film Festival. This year, the MVFF, DocLands, and Mind the Gap Awards will be presented virtually.
Offering film lovers in-depth conversations with many of the leading contenders for the Academy Award, this year’s line-up of honorees includes some of the year’s most extraordinary talent, including multi-hyphenate actor, producer, and advocate Viola Davis, the first Black woman to attain that great trifecta of acting: two Tony Awards, an Oscar and an Emmy; Academy, Emmy and Grammy award-winning luminary Kate Winslet; Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Freida Lee Mock; Oscar and Grammy award-winning international star Sophia Loren; acclaimed icon of stage and screen Dame Judi Dench; multi-award-winning writer/director Aaron Sorkin; iconic Bay Area actor and award nominee Delroy Lindo; radiant stage actor Clare Dunne, who makes a triumphant transition to the big screen; and multi-award-winning actor Regina King, who makes her feature directorial debut in 2020.
Every year the MVFF Award is presented to the recipients of our MVFF Tributes and Spotlights, special programs which honor and celebrate the work of distinguished artists and innovators in the filmmaking community. The MVFF Tribute program celebrates lifetime achievements in an honorees’ career and the Spotlight program features exceptional work by an artist in their most current project, whether in early, mid, or late career.
The DocLands Honors Award is presented to a filmmaker in recognition of exceptional storytelling within the documentary genre, an artist whose films resonate universally and emphasize our common humanity—no matter the subject.
The Mind the Gap Award honors creatives and leaders whose work has helped close the gender gap in the film industry and in our lives. Recognizing talents both above and below the line, the Award celebrates their groundbreaking achievements and acknowledges their importance as role models.
2020 MVFF honorees:
Clare Dunne, Spotlight & MVFF Award // HERSELF
Available Online: Oct 09 – 18
Delivering an uncompromisingly powerful performance, beloved Irish stage actor Clare Dunne makes a triumphant transition to the silver screen, working from a beautiful and deft script she co-wrote with Malcolm Campbell (What Richard Did). Sandra (Dunne) finds herself and her two spirited young daughters floating between temporary living situations, none of them ideal or sustainable. One night, at the height of desperation, Sandra’s witty and precocious eldest daughter Emma tells a bedtime story and unwittingly gifts her mother an idea—if the perfect home doesn’t exist, why not build it herself? The third feature from Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!; The Iron Lady), which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is a stirring and profoundly empathetic tale of empowerment and reclamation. Offering its subjects and themes the complexity and sensitivity they deserve, Lloyd infuses the film with an uplifting and life-affirming temper, as Dunne gives this soulful drama its tremendous heart.
MVFF Conversation: Viola Davis, Tribute & Mind the Gap Award – Actor of the Year
Available Online Oct. 10 – 18
Viola Davis has rightly gained incredible recognition for her work. She’s the first Black woman to attain that great trifecta of acting: two Tony Awards, for Fences and King Hedley II; an Oscar, also for Fences; and an Emmy for How to Get Away with Murder. She is an artist of the highest order, whose brilliance as an actor and producer and whose dedication to speaking out with eloquence and wisdom on issues of equality, especially for women and Black women, have established her as one of the great performers and spokespeople of our time. She finds the heart and soul of her characters, giving them a fullness of life, a sense of their hopes and aspirations, so that we as audiences understand the human spirit more deeply. Think of Mrs. Miller in Doubt, the complexity of Annalise in How to Get Away with Murder, and her deep work as characters written by August Wilson. Her breathtaking, powerful, sensual rendition of the title character in the upcoming Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, directed by George C. Wolfe, again confirms she is the perfect embodiment of Wilson’s work. Mind the Gap continues to shine light on issues that 2020 has laid bare—systemic racism, inequity, and the deep need to reframe narratives in film and life. Davis founded JuVee Productions with her husband to give voice to the voiceless through strong, impactful, and culturally relevant narratives. She speaks truth, she lives truth, through her embodied characters and the sustained commitment of her extraordinary life.
MVFF Conversation: Delroy Lindo, Spotlight & MVFF Award
Available Onine Oct. 11 – 18
In Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, Delroy Lindo is a Vietnam vet who returns to the country on a treasure hunt for gold. But the film’s real treasure is its cast, particularly Lindo, haunting in his portrayal of a war-damaged soul. It is only the latest triumph for the Oakland actor whose roles resonate with his wide emotional palette and attention to the smallest character detail. The American Conservatory Theatre-trained Lindo was already a 1988 Tony nominee for August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone when he began his long association with Lee and rose to screen stardom as numbers kingpin Indian Archie in Lee’s Malcolm X. Parts in Clockers, Get Shorty, The Cider House Rules, Heist, TV’s The Good Fight, and more continue to reveal Lindo as one of our most gifted actors. Join us as we celebrate this Bay Area icon with a Spotlight that includes Lindo in conversation with Clarke Peters on Da 5 Bloods and his esteemed body of work. Director Spike Lee will present Lindo with the MVFF Award.
DocLands Honors: Freida Lee Mock
Live Online Conversation: Sunday, Oct 11, 4:30pm (PDT)
The 2020 DocLands Honors Award is presented to five-time Academy Award® nominee Freida Lee Mock for her determination in bringing to light the stories behind some of the most remarkable American artists, politicians, humanitarians, and social justice activists. From Rose Kennedy: A Live to Remember; Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner; Anita: Speaking Truth to Power; and Return with Honor, to her 1995 Academy Award®-winning documentary feature Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision and her most recent film Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words, Mock’s intimate, yet powerful cinematic biographies allow us to experience extraordinary lives, often from contrasting walks of life. Freida Lee Mock, partner in the Los Angeles-based Sanders and Mock Productions and co-founder of the nonprofit American Film Foundation, was the first Governor elected to the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
MVFF Conversation: Kate Winslet, Tribute & MVFF Award
Available Online: Oct 12 – 18
Kate Winslet was still a teenager when she blazed across screens as an adolescent killer in Peter Jackson’s 1950s-set true crime drama Heavenly Creatures in 1994, establishing herself as a formidable talent to watch. A visage that could grace a vintage cameo made her a natural for period roles: at home in Jane Austen’s world in Sense and Sensibility, rising to international stardom in Titanic, playing an 18th-century laundress in Quills, and winning an Emmy for her portrayal of a Great Depression-era mother in Mildred Pierce. But Winslet’s tremendous range expands far beyond costume pieces, as she has showcased vibrant, of-the-moment women in such films as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Little Children, Contagion, and Steve Jobs. Nominated for seven Oscars, Winslet won for The Reader in 2009. She is back in period form as a 19th-century fossil hunter in Ammonite, which plays MVFF Oct. 11 at the Drive-In. Join us as we pay tribute to this chameleon of the silver screen and engage her in conversation on her outstanding career.
Regina King, Centerpiece Spotlight & MVFF Award // ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
Available Online: Oct 13 – 18
Multi-award-winning actress Regina King has a decades-spanning career in Hollywood and shows no sign of slowing down. From early eye-catching roles in Jerry Maguire and Boyz N the Hood, King’s steady rise exploded in recent years with burn-the-house-down performances in Barry Jenkins’ powerful If Beale Street Could Talk (MVFF41) and Damon Lindelof’s incendiary HBO series Watchmen. King continues to conquer Hollywood and the cultural map with her latest achievement: first time feature director of the highly anticipated American drama One Night in Miami. On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music, and activism gather to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. When underdog Cassius Clay, soon to be called Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), defeats heavyweight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall, Clay memorialized the event with three of his friends: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom, Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). Based on the award-winning play of the same name, One Night in Miami is a fictional account inspired by the historic night these four formidable figures spent together. It looks at the struggles these men faced and the vital role they each played in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 1960s. More than 40 years later, their conversations on racial injustice, religion, and personal responsibility still resonate. Join us as we celebrate King’s directorial debut with a Centerpiece Spotlight that includes King in conversation on One Night in Miami and her acclaimed body of work.
MVFF Conversation: Sophia Loren, Tribute & MVFF Award
Available Online Oct. 15 – 18
Sophia Loren’s first big movie was the Biblical epic Quo Vadis in 1951 as an uncredited extra at the age of 17. By 20 however, she had already become a star in her native Italy, breaking through in Vittorio De Sica’s L’oro di Napoli and starting her long association with leading man Marcello Mastroianni in La bella mugnaia. By 1960, Loren was a major international star, renowned for her incandescent talent. In Hollywood, she starred opposite Cary Grant in Houseboat in 1958. Returning home and to De Sica, she won an Academy Award for Best Actress as a widow and a mother in WWII Italy in Two Women, making her the first actor to win an Oscar for a performance not in the English language. Over the decades, she continued to burnish her radiance in such movies as El Cid, Boccaccio ’70, Marriage Italian Style, Arabesque, Man of La Mancha, A Special Day, Ready to Wear, and Nine. Now, still luminous at 86, she stars as a Holocaust survivor in her son Edoardo Ponti’s upcoming drama The Life Ahead. Join us as we salute this icon of the silver screen and engage her in discussion of her brilliant career.
MVFF Conversation: Judi Dench, Tribute & MVFF Award
Available Online: Oct 16 – 18
Dame Judi Dench took her first steps toward becoming a living legend in 1957 when, at the age of 22, she debuted at the Old Vic as Hamlet‘s Ophelia. She went on to become one of the best actors of her—or any other—generation. An Oscar-winner for her role as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998), Dench is a master of the Bard, performing multiple acclaimed roles from Juliet to Lady Macbeth. Long established as a theater luminary, Dench added film star to her resume with the one-two punch of Wetherby and A Room with a View. Onscreen, she mingles art-house roles with mainstream fare, becoming a pop culture immortal for her turn as 007’s boss M in seven James Bond movies. At 85, she stars in MVFF’s Opening Night Film at the Drive-In, Blithe Spirit. Her awards must fill a trophy room: that Oscar, a Tony, ten BAFTAs, seven Oliviers, and many, many more. Join us as we fête this Dame with her latest honor and conduct a lively discussion regarding her singular career.
MVFF Conversation: Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Ensemble Spotlight & MVFF Award
Available Online Oct. 17 – 18
The riots that accompanied the 1968 Democratic National Convention ended in a show trial like no other, as the counterculture squared off against a conservative court. Who better to bring this watershed moment in our history into the light than Aaron Sorkin with The Trial of the Chicago 7? The writer-director applies the sharp wit and insight that have been the hallmarks of a career that brought us the classic TV series Sports Night, The West Wing, and The Newsroom, and movies like A Few Good Men, The Social Network, and Moneyball. Join us in what is sure to be an electrifying conversation touching on politics past and present with Sorkin and invited cast.