As told by GATEWAY Magazine.

Since founding the Mill Valley Film Festival in 1977, Mark Fishkin has shepherded this once small, three-day showcase into an eleven-day, internationally acclaimed cinema event presenting a wide variety of new films from around the world in an engaged, community setting. The festival has an impressive track record of launching new films and new filmmakers, and has earned a reputation as a filmmakers’ festival by celebrating the best in American independent and foreign films, alongside high-profile and prestigious award contenders.

Each year the festival welcomes more than 200 filmmakers, representing more than 50 countries. Screening sections include World Cinema; US Cinema; Valley of the Docs; Children’s FilmFest; a daily shorts program; and Active Cinema, MVFF’s activist films initiative. Festival guests also enjoy Tributes, Spotlights and Galas throughout. The relaxed and non-competitive atmosphere surrounding MVFF, gives filmmakers and audiences alike the opportunity to share their work and experiences in a collaborative and convivial setting. We’ve selected our top films and filmmakers to watch at the festival’s 44th installment, October 7-17th.

The nonprofit California Film Institute celebrates and promotes film as art and education through the presentation of the Mill Valley Film Festival and year-round exhibitions at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, film distribution by CFI Releasing, and building the next generation of filmmakers and audiences through the CFI Education program. |


Pablo Larraín’s Princess Diana feature film Spencer starting Kristen Stuart is a dive inside an emotional imagining of who Diana was at a pivotal turning point in her life.The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. Spencer is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days. Image courtesy Neon/Tag Studios.


Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon is an ode to the relationship between adults and children. It’s the story of a middle-aged man learning how to take care of a kid for the first time, set against a panorama of twenty-first century American cities and issues. It’s a story of an adult learning how to treat a child’s needs, worries, and joys with full respect; learning that they are different but not less than an adult’s. Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) and his young nephew (Woody Norman) forge a tenuous but transformational relationship when they are unexpectedly thrown together in this delicate and deeply moving story. Image courtesy Tobin Yelland.


Directed by Jane Campion and staring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog tells the story of charismatic rancher Phil Burbank who inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love. Image courtesy: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix.


Written and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter is a psychological drama based on the novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante. The film stars Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Paul Mescal, and Ed Harris.

The film centers on a woman on a summer holiday who finds herself becoming obsessed with another woman and her daughter, prompting memories of her own early motherhood to come back and unravel her. At it’s core, the film revolves around a daring and dangerous idea: It’s an exploration of what motherhood can drain from a woman—a dramatic switch from the typical glassy-eyed bromides about how rewarding it is to bear and raise children. Image courtesy Yannis Drakoulidis/Netflix © 2021.


Award-winning director Joe Wright envelops moviegoers in a symphony of emotions with music, romance, and beauty in Cyrano, re-imagining the timeless tale of a heartbreaking love triangle. A man ahead of his time, Cyrano de Bergerac (played by Peter Dinklage) dazzles whether with ferocious wordplay at a verbal joust or with brilliant swordplay in a duel. But, convinced that his appearance renders him unworthy of the love of a devoted friend, the luminous Roxanne (Haley Bennett), Cyrano has yet to declare his feelings for her — and Roxanne has fallen in love, at first sight, with Christian (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.). Image courtesy Peter Mountain/© 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.


Academy Award nominee Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival,” “Blade Runner 2049”) directs Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Dune,” the big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal bestseller of the same name. The film stars Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Oscar nominee Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård and Oscar winner Javier Bardem.

A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

Shown here: Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “Dune,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Copyright: © 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Image courtesy Chiabella James.

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