There are, of course, a number of ways to attack film festivals. (In fact, there are a number of ways to write that sentence. The verb could also be “approach.” Or “enjoy.” Or “parse.”)
“I hope,” my editor said, “that you write about more small movies in your second piece on the Mill Valley Film Festival.” I knew what he meant. I’d written about looking forward to seeing the movies I’d missed in Telluride and Toronto, and most of them were movies that would be showing up at multiplexes within days or weeks – certainly by the end of the year, if they harbored Oscar hopes.
“I moved to Bradford in England’s West Yorkshire because it was the City of Film and, to me, a large part of that heritage was the annual film festival.” says Griffin. “I thought the City of Film should have at least one festival celebrating the newest most interesting films being made around the world.” A lifelong cinephile and PhD student in film, she was not going to let her town go without some sort of series of screenings, but where to show them? At the time there were only 2 movie theaters in Bradford, and they would require venue fees and ticket revenues, but there are many more pubs, which are free to enter. So she put 2 and 2 together and the Drunken Film Fest was born.
I have a mantra that’s meant to soothe myself as I surf the roiling waves of the fall film festivals I’m lucky enough to attend:
In Telluride, the bucolic, intimate, user-friendly festival held in a one-horse town, I repeat “If I miss it here, I’ll see it in Toronto.”
In Toronto, a well-oiled huge, baggy, and increasingly corporate festival, where I mostly am relegated to the shadow and less festive festival of press-and-industry screenings, I say “If I miss it here, I’ll see it in Mill Valley.”
Mill Valley benefits from its timing in the festival year, and its location: it can cherry-pick from every festival held earlier in the year, and its proximity to Los Angeles (and the Bay Area’s high number of Academy members, i.e. Oscar voters) means that a number of directors and stars will appear on its stages.
BREWMASTER (U.S.A., 2018). Douglas Tirola directed 2013’s HEY BARTENDER, a documentary about the classic cocktail renaissance. He tackles a similar subject with his latest film, on the burgeoning craft beer scene.
(The maestro of the “lost continent” continues to astonish those of us “out there in the dark” with the hidden treasures of French film noir. His “keeper” Anastasia Lin captures his latest discovery—the “Goth Girl” of 1940s French cinema getting her centennial close-up at a “one night stand” on Thursday, July 26 at the Roxie in San Francisco.