“Situated just beyond Sausalito as you cross the Golden Gate Bridge northbound from San Francisco, Mill Valley is many things to many people: part dot-com millionaire bedroom community, post-hippie enclave, Arcadia for Bay Area rock royalty and bucolic getaway in the midst of the redwoods.” For Variety, Steve Chagollan talks with Mill Valley Film Festival founder and director Mark Fishkin about why MVFF “has been increasingly favored by Hollywood, which looks at such desirable destinations relatively close to home as hassle-free platforms to showcase prestige product.” Much of that “prestige product” has, of course, premiered in Cannes, Locarno, Venice or Toronto and is now being positioned for the awards season marathon.
But there’s more to the festival, too. Writing for KQED, Michael Fox highlights “five choice cuts from the dozen or so titles by locals,” Rob Nilsson’s A Bridge to a Border, Erica Jordan’s In Plain Sight, Christopher Beaver’s Racing to Zero: In Pursuit of Zero Waste, William Farley’s Plastic Man: The Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish and Helen S. Cohen and Mark Lipman’s States of Grace.
MVFF 37 opens today and runs through October 12. Previews are plenty. Michael Hawley is particularly looking forward to Xavier Dolan’s Mommy and Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu. The San Francisco Bay Guardian has a batch of capsule reviews of some of the high profile entries, but also Cheryl Eddy on four documentaries (Robert A. Campos and Donna LoCicero’s 3 Still Standing, Plastic Man, Doris Dörrie’s Que Caramba es la Vida and Chuck Workman’s film on Orson Welles, Magician) and Dennis Harvey, picking out two for the kids, Dave and Max Fleischer‘s Hoppity Goes to Town (1941) and Alê Abreu on The Boy and the World.
“And this year’s artists in residence?” Emily Wilson in the SF Weekly: “Metallica, of course. Each member of the band has picked a film to introduce and discuss, with Kirk Hammett hosting Dracula vs. Frankenstein; Robert Trujillo with Jaco, a documentary about jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius; Lars Ulrich selecting the indie feature Whiplash; and James Hetfield going for the Clint Eastwood classic, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
Update, 10/4: At EatDrinkFilms, Daniel Barnes notes that “the event is spread out over many cities and about a dozen venues” and that the lineup “spans the entire spectrum of independent and foreign cinema.” He picks out some highlights. So, too, does Gary Meyer.