The red carpet returns in October

The Mill Valley Film Festival will roll out the red carpet again in October to welcome the return of stars, glitz and glamor to Marin after the pandemic forced last year’s event to go virtual with a few screenings behind the wheel.

Organizers from the California Film Institute, which hosts the festival, said audiences will be invited again for film screenings and interviews with actors and creators at CineArts Sequoia in Mill Valley and the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center. in San Rafael, with selected online screenings. .

Live music events and parties will also be featured at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley. A selection of films will be shown at the Berkeley Art Museum and the Pacific Film Archive. The festival, now in its 44th year, will run from October 7 to 17.

“It’s too early to go into details, but there are great possibilities,” said Mark Fishkin, CFI CEO and founder of the festival. “We will be presenting award-winning content with accompanying guests as the awards season approaches.”

While the onset of the pandemic struck a blow last year, it has taught the film world to be nimble and innovative, Fishkin said.

It was the first time that the festival used an online platform to broadcast films. CFI made available a CAFILM Channel streaming app on popular devices, such as Roku and Apple TV, which allowed festival ticket holders to watch films on their TV screens, rather than on a computer or device. mobile.

“We’re in a time where we can have our cake and eat it too, so to speak,” Fishkin said of the online streaming, noting that it allowed them to expand audiences with viewers around the world. “It’s really a big paradox, because there has been so much very successful streaming. I think it’s important to accept that this is part of who we are now as a film community.

The film festival – the pandemic version – brought together more than 35,000 spectators, presenting 148 selections, including 65 feature films. The festival also sold out all screenings at the 250-car capacity pop-up drive-in at Lagoon Park at the Marin County Civic Center.

A sign featuring famous director Alfred Hitchcock reminds moviegoers of social distancing at the Mill Valley Film Festival in San Rafael on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Due to the pandemic, the 43rd Mill Valley Film Festival has set up a theater tour at the Marin County Fairgrounds for screenings. The festival also offers virtual screenings. (Sherry LaVars / Marin Independent Journal)

County cultural services director Gabriella Calicchio, whose department has partnered with the festival to offer drive-through screenings, said she was delighted that the arts events were back.

“We loved hosting the MVFF last year for movies behind the wheel during the pandemic, but being able to sit at the cinema and enjoy a movie on the big screen is like no other,” she said. “The (festival) has helped put Marin County on the map as a destination for award-winning independent films and the annual event is a true cultural beacon.”

Zoë Elton, director of programming for the film festival, said she could not yet name the titles or stars featured.

“But we’ll have a solid representation of films, documentaries, feature films, family films, both from the United States and around the world,” she said. “Technically, we still honestly ride with the punches in these changing times.”

Maria Hoppe, the new Managing Director of Sweetwater Music Hall and Executive Director of the new Sweetwater Music Hall Arts Foundation, said she was happy that festival events are returning to the Mill Valley site.

“It doesn’t just promote the visual arts, but it brings tourism to the area and I’m sure it’s a good business boost for everyone in the community,” Hoppe said. “It is important.”

Mill Valley Mayor John McCauley agreed.

“We are delighted to welcome the Mill Valley Film Festival to our city again this fall,” said McCauley. “It brings people from the Bay Area and beyond to our downtown area, creating economic dynamism. We are also proud that our city’s name remains associated with one of the country’s most important film festivals. “

Fishkin is happy to hear so much buzz surrounding the event.

“Despite the hardships, the frustration and the losses due to the pandemic, we know that people’s appetite to be in the theater has increased exponentially, which is very exciting,” said Fishkin.

Early bird tickets go on sale August 3. More information on MVFF.com.