Special Report: Mill Valley Film Festival no. 28 - Tributes and Spotlight

By Joan K. Widdifield, Psy.D
Movie Magazine International
Mill Valley Film Festival no. 28 – Tributes
Special Report

Attending a film festival can be a lot of work… navigating complex schedules and jockeying for sought-after tickets. Then, once you score the tickets, scrambling to film after film, can be exhausting. It seems like each year – since I started attending 10 years ago - the Mill Valley Film Festival gains momentum and excitement, not to mention prestige-- and is well worth the work.

The Mill Valley Film Festival no. 28 runs from October 6 to 16 with more than 200 films and 116 programs. I've been told by filmmakers that it is the "Filmmakers' Film Festival" because lots of people show up in one of the strongest markets in the country for independent films.

Each year the Mill Valley Film Festival presents Tributes and a Spotlight honoring exceptional filmmakers and actors. I attended the Michael Powell Tribute in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth. Michael Powell partnered with Emeric Pressburger, and directed tour de force films such as "Black Narcissus" and "The Red Shoes," and inspired directors, like Martin Scorcese. Mr. Powell's widow, Thelma Schoonmaker, showed clips from Powell's films and from Scorcese's films, which clearly show Powell's influence. Thelma Schoonmaker, Academy Award-winner and Scorcese's masterful editor, was funny and interesting, giving us an insider's view and fascinating details about how some scenes came about. Michael Powell’s watchword was boldness, which showed in his strong colorful characters in his World War I era film, "I Know Where I'm Going!" After the film festival the Rafael Film Center will screen many of Powell's films in a retrospective.

The Spotlight this year focused on "Desperate Housewives'" Felicity Huffman who has a new film, "Transamerica" to be released in the fall about the journey of a transsexual woman who meets the grown son she learns she fathered a few decades before. Huffman was quick-witted and gracious at the screening.

The Mill Valley Film Festival event receptions are always intimate affairs with bountiful food and flowing drink. Receptions are held at various venues, including the Maybeck- designed Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley at the foot of beautiful Mount Tamalpais or the well-known Frantoio restaurant. The opening and closing galas are always stylish and fun. Check the Mill Valley Film Festival website for more information and tickets at: mvff.com

There are lots of events to come including receptions, music events, films, and three Tributes -- for the director of "Amelie," Jean-Pierre Jeunet, film icon Donald Sutherland, and the affable veteran actor Jeff Daniels. A lot of work, but maybe my favorite 10 days each year!

In Mill Valley, this is Joan Widdifield for Movie Magazine. ©
Air date: October 12, 2005
More Information:
Mill Valley Film Festival no. 28 - Tributes and Spotlight
Tributes for Michael Powell, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Donal Sutherland, Jeff Daniels; Spotlight for Felicity Huffman