SPECIAL EVENTS ABOUND AT MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL
by Gary Meyer
There are many special events at the festival.
EatDrinkFilms is proud to co-present four fantastic documentaries at this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival. Two are about food, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table and Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent and are part of the Culinary Cinema selection. The other two have bay area connections, Mifune: The Last Samurai directed by Steven Okazaki and California Typewriter with a focus on a wonderful repair shop in Berkeley. These are among the many other strong non-fiction works gathered in Valley of the Docs.
Tributes to Nicole Kidman and Julie Dash are augmented by Spotlights on Ewan McGregor, Gael Garcia Bernal and Aaron Eckhart. I am not sure what the difference between a Tribute and a Spotlight is but this year it appears to be gender.
If you have to choose only one I urge you to see the Tribute to director Julie Dash with a screening of a stunning restoration of her film Daughters of the Dust (1991
). This was the first feature-length film made by an African-American woman to get a full theatrical release. It is a most unusual and beautiful film telling about three generations of Gullah women on St. Helena Island in 1902. The visual imagery, music and unusual narrative take us into a world few have known. Recent interviews in Film Comment and Flavorwire provide intriguing insights about this superb filmmaker who has followed Daughters’ success with several theatrical and television features.
Two returning special programs with all new content are also “must see” offerings.
The 3-D Slideshow is selected and hosted by Marin-based stereo photographer Robert Bloomberg whose program in 2014 resulted in many requests for another show. This time he will take us on a journey from inside a snowflake to the surface of Mars plus visits with microscopic monsters, giant bats and great moments in sports. There will be some classic 3D rarities plus Pixar’s latest, Piper and the US 3D premiere of Disney’s Inner Workings. It is a family-friendly show but do not be put off by that tag. This is also a sophisticated show of both wonder and humor.
Two showings, both at the Rafael Theater. Special 3D glasses included.
Sunday, October 9 at 12:30 pm (“Inner Workings” filmmakers in person)
Sunday, October 16 at 11:15 am (“Piper” filmmakers in person)
An annual treat for many years is The Hi De Ho Show hosted by John Goddard (famed for his Village Music store and vast collections of vinyl and video. Each year he chooses a theme and this year Goddard delves into the strangest depths of pop music. The program book suggests John could be renamed the Ed Wood of Rock ’n’ Roll. He will “veejay some of the unclassifiable moments from his personal music video archive—performances that defy definition but have, perhaps, a certain resonance with Plan 9 From Outer Space. In this “Cabinet of Curiosities,” oddities abound in weird combos (Joan Baez and Phil Spector? Tom Jones and Little Richard?); in suave duds (who’s that in the Nehru jacket?); and in performances that stretch the notion of rock ’n’ roll and go, let’s say, against type (Boris Karloff? Yes, that Boris). And, let’s not forget: Dyan Cannon. Expect to see the good, the bad, and the simply bizarre.”
And speaking of music, Mill Valley is famous for hosting live music events that often relate to several cinematic offerings. The films and the live events.
And so much more. Looking for family films? There is quite a selection and the California Film Institute brings students and filmmakers together during the festival and year around.
There will be a focus on women, film and tech called Mind the Gap, Spanish language and Latin American films with Viva El Cine, engaging audiences in grassroots activism in Active Cinema, Culinary Cinema, and Kinowerks with edgy contemporary German cinema with an emphasis of women on screen and behind the camera.
Behind the Screens offers panels, master classes and conversations with experts from across the motion picture industry and beyond.
And people will no doubt visit the the concession stand often —possibly renamed the “Munchies Bar”— during Smoke Screens, a full day of movies and conversations about cannabis.