BREATH MADE VISIBLE awarded Special Mention in the documentary category at the 2009 Mill Valley Film Festival!
See the full press release below:
32nd Mill Valley Film Festival Wraps with
Applause for Another Successful Year
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (October 19, 2009) — The California Film Institute wrapped its 32nd Mill Valley Film Festival (October 8–18, 2009) after a very successful 11-day run in Marin theatres. Even with a tighter Festival and a reduced number of screenings, this year exceeded expectation with more than 90 sold out screenings and events, a 7.5 percent increase in box office totals and admissions of approximately 40,000. “We were proud to offer another very successful year of not only the most highly anticipated films of the awards season, but incredible independent features, documentaries, and a strong representation of locally produced films. The major issues of our time have not abated, and clearly great storytelling is still what resonates with our audiences,” commented Mark Fishkin, MVFF founder and director.
Now in their fifth year, the Audience Awards were closer than ever with immense participation from the community, a reflection of the undeniable strength of this year’s programming. After the ballots were counted, the Audience Award for favorite US feature went to Lee Daniels’ Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. The award for favorite world feature ended in a tie and awarded to both Lone Scherfig’s An Education (UK) and Jann Turner’s White Wedding (South Africa). Rick Goldsmith and Judy Ehrlich’s The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papersgarnered the award for favorite documentary feature and Stella and the Star of the Orient, directed by Erna Schmidt, won favorite children’s feature. Michelle Esrick’s Saint Misbehavin’: The Wavy Gravy Movie and Ruedi Gerber’s Breath Made Visible were awarded Special Mentions in the documentary category.
BAFTA/LA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles) annually presents an award to an exceptional short film in collaboration with the Mill Valley Film Festival. Thanks to support from Barbro Osher’s ProSuecia Foundation, Swedish director Andreas Tibblin flew in from Sweden to accept the award for his film Good Advice, part of the shorts program 5@5: The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get. Certificates of Excellence go to Bragi Schut Jr.’s Charlie Thistle, Ilan Amit’s Broken Time, and Morning Echo directed by Hope Dickson Leach.
Festival closes with style; lots of buzz for fest selections
The 32nd Mill Valley Film Festival wrapped with style as the closing night films, Looking for Eric andThe Young Victoria created a buzz among Marin film-goers. At the Smith Rafael Film Center critically acclaimed actress Emily Blunt introduced a packed house to her latest film The Young Victoria, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. She kindly introduced an additional screening that followed and attended the exciting Closing Night party aboard the California Hornblower for a San Francisco Bay Cruise with her friends and fiancé, John Krasinski.
There was strong audience buzz for many titles throughout the festival. In addition to the audience award winners, much of the program received raves, including many films without distributors.Soundtrack for a Revolution, The Red Machine, Red Cliff, The Swimsuit Issue, Hellsinki, The Strength of Water, and Skin—as well as Up In the Air, The Messenger, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and The Missing Person were among the talk of the festival.
A stellar array of guests attended the festival: directors Scott Hicks, Lee Daniels, John Woo, Lone Scherfig, Oren Moverman and Jason Reitman were among those introducing their latest. Actors Clive Owen, Uma Thurman, Woody Harrelson, Stacy Keach, Seymour Cassel, Jodie Whittaker, Emily Blunt—as well as up-and-coming Precious star Gabourey Sidibe with co-star Paula Patton–all attended the festival. Their audience included festival attendees Peter Coyote, Bonnie Raitt and Bryan Brown.
Industry guests at the festival and participating in panels at the New Movies Lab included Ryan Wernerof IFC, Ira Deutchman (Emerging Pictures), Sara Rose (Apparition), Danae Ringelmann (IndieGogo),Michael Lumpkin (International Documentary Association) and Roadside Attraction’s Howard Coenand Eric D’Arbeloff.
Tributes & Spotlights: Clive Owen, Uma Thurman, Jason Reitman, and Woody Harrelson feted
This year’s Mill Valley Film Festival paid tribute to four talented individuals including Academy Award® nominee and Golden Globe® winner Clive Owen, who was honored at a special Spotlight event recognizing the exceptional creative talents of a film artist as exemplified by their current work, regardless of whether they are in early, middle or late career. Innovative director Jason Reitman also received the Mill Valley Film Festival Award for his upcoming release Up in the Air. Both spotlights included an onstage conversation with MVFF director and founder Mark Fishkin, as well as a clip reel acknowledging their current contributions to the art of cinema.
Academy Award® nominees Uma Thurman and Woody Harrelson were honored with a special onstage Tribute, a unique event designed to recognize a career and legacy of work. Both actors were given the Mill Valley Film Festival Award at the Smith Rafael Film Center after a conversation with MVFF Director of Programming, Zoë Elton. Harrelson was honored for his dynamic onscreen presence and the ease with which he is able to switch between dramatic and comedic roles. The Messenger, Harrelson’s newest film, screened after the interview and a Q&A followed with both Harrelson and director Oren Moverman. Uma Thurman’s 25-year film career also received recognition as she was presented the MVFF Award for her remarkable work in cinema, including her latest feature, Motherhooddirected by Katherine Dieckmann. Both women participated in a Q&A with the audience while Thurman graciously received her award.
Anna Karina, the Danish-born, French actress, writer, singer, producer and director, was originally among those to be honored in a special tribute event, though due to a non-life threatening injury caused by an accident, she will accept her Mill Valley Film Festival Award at an event next spring on a date yet to be announced. Mme. Karina’s new film, Victoria screened as planned at the Smith Rafael Film Center, with an appearance by producer Héjer Charf.
Active Cinema program continues to inspire
The Mill Valley Film Festival’s Active Cinema program once again exceeded expectations connecting the dots between activist films, interested audiences and the individuals and organizations working for the causes and issues represented onscreen. Inspired and passionate discussions between audiences and filmmakers erupted at this year’s Fest, as special guests Daniel Ellsberg, Wavy Gravy, Karina Epperlein, John Knoop, Rick Goldsmith, Judith Ehrlich, Denise Zmekhol and Chief Almir Suruipushed audiences to become active through the art of cinema. Some significant highlights included the late addition of Active Cinema panelist, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, filmmaker and wife of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who joined others in brainstorming on strategies for change, and talked of her new film project Miss Representation, an exploration of women’s underrepresentation in positions of power and influence in America. Additionally, at the screenings of Saint Misbehavin’ The Wavy Gravy Movie, Wavy Gravy presented the “Basic Human Needs Award”, created by director Michelle Esrick,which celebrates outstanding activists. The award went to two recipients: Amy Shirts, a long-time staffer and volunteer for the amazing 30 year-old SEVA foundation; and a posthumous acknowledgement to Claire Burch, the Berkeley artist and activist.
Highlights – Live events and Insight programs
Live events thrived at 142 Throckmorton Theatre with world-class concerts performed in honor of two extraordinary documentaries, Soundtrack for a Revolution, featuring The Blind Boys of Alabama, Jimmy Pugh and Emma Jean Foster of The Glide Memorial Choir, with Taj Mahal joining in the grand finale; and Icons Among Us: jazz in the present tense with musical contributions from Rob Wasserman, Will Bernard, Dale Fanning, and surprise special guest Bob Weir. A unique combination of jazz and rock-n-roll roared through the theater with exceptional performances of classic Beatles, Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan tracks immersed within their original set list. The San Francisco Mime Troupe celebrated its 50th anniversary with a screening of Glenn Silber and Claudia Vianello’s inspiring 1985 documentary, Troupers, and treated us to a sampling of their unique brand of physical musical comedy, with longtime composer-lyricist Bruce Barthol. Wrapping up the live events was A Sweeter Music: A Live Concert by Sarah Cahill with Video by John Sanborn, a riveting performance by celebrated pianist, writer and radio host Sarah Cahill of new works by contemporary composers on the theme of peace. The works were performed against a live video triptych by acclaimed video artist John Sanborn (also Cahill’s husband)—with technical support by their teenage daughter Miranda Sanborn.
John Goddard’s Hi De Ho Show continued to be an audience favorite as Goddard celebrated his 10th year of sold-out shows with the MVFF.
Insight programs at the 32nd Mill Valley Film Festival are designed to explore the art and craft of master filmmakers. Henry Selick, director/screenwriter of Coraline, discussed his most recent stop-motion animated feature, his distinguished career and the carefully nurtured art of stop-motion animation inHenry Selick and the Art of Coraline. Acclaimed character actor Seymour Cassel and iconic independent filmmaker Rob Nilsson engaged in an intimate conversation in the program The CasselTouch: Character Acting from Cassavetes to Now. Seymour Cassel revealed a plethora of juicy tid-bits about his work with legendary director John Cassavetes, including a note that Anthony Quinn, who appeared in such classics as Zorba the Greek and Lawrence of Arabia, was originally cast as the lead role in 1968’s Faces, a part ultimately portrayed by John Marley.
Special Thanks to 32nd Mill Valley Film Festival Sponsors
The California Film Institute is proud to have achieved another successful year building partnerships with a collection of high-caliber companies, private foundations and individual donors dedicated to the celebration and promotion of international and independent film and to the vitality of the Marin community.
The California Film Institute welcomed nine new sponsors, including American Airlines, The New York Times, Whole Foods Market, Bloomingdale’s, Larkspur Hotels & Restaurants, San Domenico School, Ovation TV and popchips. Continuing their valuable support, our returning Major Sponsors include Wells Fargo, Qantas Airways, Zaentz Media Center – A Wareham Development, Frantoio Ristorante & Olive Oil Co., Mareovich O’Shea and Coghlan, PG&E and, our Distinguished Sponsor for 2009, Bellam Self-Storage & Boxes.
The Festival is proud to acknowledge the generous contributions of major foundations and individuals, led by Christopher B. & Jeannie Meg Smith, and including the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Gruber Family Foundation, Jennifer Coslett MacCready, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Marin Community Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Christine Zecca Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences dedicates its support in part to the Children’s FilmFest, and to CFI Education program events during MVFF, including the In-School Filmmaker program, a program for filmmakers from this year’s Festival to present their films to Bay Area schools for exciting classroom exchanges.
California Film Institute
The 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, and by building the next generation of filmmakers and audiences through CFI Education. For more information visit cafilm.org or call 415.383.5256.
32nd Mill Valley Film Festival
Presented by the California Film Institute, the 32nd Mill Valley Film Festival runs October 8–18, 2009 at the CinéArts@Sequoia (25 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley), Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael) and other venues throughout the Bay Area. Tickets are $12.50 (CFI Members, $10) unless otherwise noted and are available for purchase on September 20–23 for CFI members only, and beginning on September 24 for the general public. Regular tickets may be purchased online at mvff.com. For additional information, please visit mvff.com or call 877.874.MVFF.
As a nonprofit arts organization, MVFF relies on the generosity of its community to sustain not only the festival, but also the year-round programs of the California Film Institute. The invaluable support of our sponsors, foundation, and individual donors ensures our continued success as we celebrate our 32nd year. CFI is once again proud to acknowledge the leadership support of Christopher B. and Jeannie Meg Smith, and the continued major support of the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Gruber Family Foundation, Jennifer Coslett MacCready, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Marin Community Foundation, the Zecca Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. We are also fortunate to have the continued contributions of the following Major Sponsors of the Mill Valley Film Festival: Qantas Airways, Maroevich, O’Shea & Coghlan Insurance Services, Frantoio Ristorante and Olive Oil Co., Zaentz Media Center/Wareham Development, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), and CFI Membership Sponsor, Wells Fargo. Longtime friend and dedicated supporter of the festival, Bellam Self Storage & Boxes, is also returning as a major sponsor, and will be receiving this year’s Distinguished Sponsor Award.