Mill Valley Film Festival

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Mill Valley Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival logo
LocationMill Valley, California, United States
Founded1977; 44 years ago (1977)
Hosted byCalifornia Film Institute
Festival dateOctober

The Mill Valley Film Festival is an annual American film festival founded in 1977.

The Rafael Film Center, one location of the Mill Valley Film Festival.


In October 1977, Mark Fishkin, Rita Cahill and Lois Cole organized a three-day film festival. It featured three film tributes, Francis Ford Coppola's The Rain People and George Lucas' Filmmaker.[1] The first official festival took place in August 1978.[2]

About the Festival[edit]

The San Francisco Bay Area continues to be a significant market for independent and international film,[1][3] and MVFF provides a forum for introducing new films to West coast audiences.[4]

Presented by the California Film Institute, the Mill Valley Film Festival takes place in early October. 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.

Notable attendees have included Robin Williams, Jim Jarmusch, Kevin Smith, Jon Voight, Roberto Benigni, Alfre Woodard, Gael García Bernal, Helen Mirren, Steve McQueen, Annette Bening, Glenn Close, James Franco, Edward James Olmos, Jared Leto, Lily Taylor, Mike Leigh, Ben Stiller, Carey Mulligan, Mira Nair, Dustin Hoffman, Geoffrey Rush, Marcel Ophuls, Jane Russell, Les Blank, Barbet Schroeder, James Woods, Sissy Spacek, Jonathan Winters, Robert Altman, Nicholas Ray, Roger Corman, Jeanne Moreau, Karen Black, Barry Levinson, Sarah Silverman, Costa-Gavros, Jan Troell, William H. Macy, Milos Forman, Dianne Weist, Edward Norton, Uma Thurman, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alan Arkin, Amanda Plummer, Darren Aronofsky, Laura Linney, Gena Rowlands, Albert Maysles, Donald Sutherland, John Sayles, Bradley Cooper, Jeff Daniels, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Ismail Merchant, Carroll Baker, Malcolm McDowell, Joan Allen, Dick Cavett, Hilary Swank, Jason Reitman, John Hawkes, Laura Dern, Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, Clive Owen, Eddie Redmayne, Forest Whitaker, Tim Robbins, Billy Bob Thornton, Sir Ian McKellen, Woody Harrelson, Harry Dean Stanton, John Walsh, Waldo Salt, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ang Lee, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Todd Haynes, Holly Hunter, Sean Penn, Danny Huston, Joe Wright, Peter Marshall, Dee Rees, Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Richard Linklater, Aaron Sorkin, Simon Curtis, Kristin Scott Thomas, Andrew Garfield, Connie Nielson, Catherine Hardwicke, Sean Baker, Jason Clarke, Sophie Nelisse, Lou Diamond Phillips, Brie Larson, Kenneth Branagh, Simon Rex, Denis Villeneuve, Jane Campion and Joe Wright.[5][6]

Festival Sections include the World Cinema, US Cinema, Valley of the Docs, filmHOOD, 5@5 (shorts programs) and MVFF Music.

Festival Initiatives include Mind the Gap: Women | Film | Tech, Viva El Cine! and Active Cinema.[1][7][8]

The festival also features tributes and spotlights to acclaimed filmmakers, screenwriters and actors.[9] Screenings are usually held at the Christopher B Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, the Sequoia Theatre in Mill Valley, the Cinema in Corte Madera, and the Lark Theatre in Larkspur.[1]

Screen International has named Mill Valley Film Festival a Top 10 US film festival.[10] The 2020 Festival is scheduled for October 8–18, 2020.[11]

Audience Awards 2017[edit]

Overall Favorite[edit]

The MVFF Audience Favorite 2017—Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees

US Cinema[edit]

Audience Favorite - US Cinema, Gold Award—Molly's Game, directed by Aaron Sorkin

Audience Favorite - US Cinema, Silver Award—Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig

Audience Favorite - US Cinema Indie, Gold Award—Quest, directed by Santiago Rizzo

Audience Favorite - US Cinema Indie, Silver Award—The Light of the Moon, directed by Jessica M. Thompson

World Cinema[edit]

Audience Favorite - World Cinema, Gold Award—Goodbye Christopher Robin, directed by Simon Curtis

Audience Favorite - World Cinema, Silver Award—The Invisibles, directed by Claus Räfle

Audience Favorite - World Cinema Indie, Gold Award—An Act of Defiance, directed by Jean van de Velde

Audience Favorite - World Cinema Indie, Silver Award—The Divine Order, directed by Petra Volpe

Valley of the Docs[edit]

Audience Favorite - Valley of the Docs, Gold Award—Kim Swims, directed by Kate Webber

Audience Favorite - Valley of the Docs, Silver Award—City of Joy, directed by Madeleine Gavin

Mind the Gap[edit]

Audience Favorite – Mind the Gap, Gold Award—Faces Places, directed by Agnès Varda


  1. ^ a b c d Cahill, Greg (October 1–7, 1998). "A Life in Film: Mark Fishkin ushers in Mill Valley Film Fest". Sonoma County Independent. Metro Publishing. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  2. ^ "Mill Valley Film Festival 1978" (Press release). Mill Valley, CA. 1978.
  3. ^ Zinko, Carolyne (October 9, 2004). "Mill Valley Film Festival skips prizes, keeps focus on celluloid". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  4. ^ Manos, Gus (October 10, 2008). "Joe Wright at MVFF Insight Event". CineSource Magazine. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  5. ^ Vigil, Delfin (September 13, 2006). "Mill Valley Film Festival looks to be fit for royalty". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  6. ^ Johnson, G. Allen (September 9, 2021). "Mill Valley Film Festival returns with Kenneth Branagh among big names and major emphasis on safety". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2021-09-12.
  7. ^ "Mill Valley Film Festival: The United States' Largest Fall Celebration of Indie and International Films Wraps One of its Most Successful Years". Archived from the original on 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  8. ^ Welte, Jim (August 5, 2011). "MVFF Unveils Children's FilmFest Lineup". Mill Valley Patch. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  9. ^ Manos, Gus (November 27, 2008). "MVFF Tribute to Eric Roth". CineSource Magazine. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  10. ^ "Mill Valley Film Festival announces SHANGHAI CALLING Northern California premiere!". September 13, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  11. ^ "Mill Valley Film Festival". Retrieved 2019-02-15.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°58.3903′N 122°31.7152′W / 37.9731717°N 122.5285867°W / 37.9731717; -122.5285867