The 34th Annual Mill Valley Film Festival has revealed the lineup for the 2011 event, running October 6-16, 2011. From the official press release:

The internationally acclaimed Mill Valley Film Festival, greatly anticipated by cinema fans and film industry veterans alike, offers a high-profile, prestigious, noncompetitive environment that is perfect for celebrating the best of independent and world cinema. Considered by many to be a launching pad for the Oscar® campaign, this year’s film festival promises to be no exception.

Opening and Closing Night Galas
This year’s MVFF opens on Thursday, October 6 with two films that are favored to be among the top major independent releases of 2011. ALBERT NOBBS, starring Glenn Close, who is expected to attend, will be screened at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center at 7 p.m. ALBERT NOBBS tells the story of a woman avoiding poverty in mid-19th-century Ireland by dressing and working as a man. JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME will be screened at the CinéArts@Sequoia in Mill Valley at 7 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME is the story of a 30-year old unemployed stoner on a collision course with destiny in a funny, sincere, and rousing exploration of life’s Big Questions. The film stars Jason Segel, Susan Sarandon, Ed Helms and Judy Greer. Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, who will also be in attendance, this marks the film’s US premiere. After the screenings, the Opening Night Gala kicks off at the Mill Valley Community Center at 9 p.m.

Closing Night at the Festival will feature a special screening of THE ARTIST starring Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller and Missi Pyle. Directed by Michael Hazanavicius, who is expected to be in attendance, THE ARTIST is the story of a silent-film star resisting the transition to sound set in 1927 Hollywood. After the film, the Closing Night Party will take place at Albert Park/San Rafael Community Center from 7-10 p.m.

Spotlight, Centerpiece & Tribute Events
MVFF is proud to announce these very special events with special guests in attendance. A Tribute to to Oscar®-nominated actress Glenn Close and her stellar career will happen on Friday, October 7 at 8:00 p.m. at the Smith Rafael Film Center. The event will include career clips and onstage interview. A reception at Piatti Ristorante & Bar in Mill Valley will follow. On Saturday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m. a Spotlight honoring actress Michelle Yeoh will take place at the Smith Rafael Film Center with a Q&A and screening of her latest film, THE LADY, a profound and epic love story chronicling the life of prodemocracy activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. Yeoh attends MVFF with Luc Besson, the internationally esteemed director and producer of THE LADY. After the program, the evening will continue with dinner at Frantoio Ristorante & Olive Oil Co. in Mill Valley. The fist weekend of the Festival culminates on Sunday, October 9 at 4:30 p.m., with an MVFF Tribute to West African director Gaston Kaboré honoring his remarkable career and contribution to African film including an onstage conversation and rare screening of his classic WEND KUUNI (GOD’S GIFT). Afterwards the evening continues with dinner at Acqua Mill Valley, catered by Delicious! Catering.

The new film by British director Simon Curtis, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe and Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier, will be screened as the Centerpiece event at the Smith Rafael Film Center on Tuesday, October 11 at 6:45 p.m. A slate of hot, amazing young talent in standout performances is very noticeable in the Festival this year and MVFF will be putting a Spotlight on two of these up and coming actors. On Thursday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m. a Spotlight honoring actor Ezra Miller will take place at the Smith Rafael Film Center with an onstage interview and US Premiere of his new film WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. While on Saturday, October 15 at 8 p.m. MVFF presents the film MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE as part of a Spotlight program and conversation with Elizabeth Olsen.

The North American premiere of A FEW BEST MEN, starring Xavier Samuel (Twilight) as a young British husband-to-be and Olivia Newton John as his Australian future mother-in-law, will take place on Friday, October 14 at 8:30 p.m. at the Smith Rafael Film Center. The film’s director Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) will attend this special premiere screening and celebration along with surprise guests! Following onstage conversation/Q&A with noted guests, a reception follows at the Donna Seager Gallery.

Live Music Event
MVFF and Steep Productions, Inc. will present a live concert on Saturday, October 15, 7:30 p.m. at 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley honoring the great Indian musician and teacher, Ali Akbar Khan. The subject of the new documentary Play Like a Lion: The Legacy of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, who was greatly revered by many fellow musicians, including Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Carlos Santana and Derek Trucks— all of whom are featured in the film. This concert will showcase a diverse set of musicians inspired by inspired and influenced by the maestro. They will be celebrating the man, his family, and the filmmakers as well as performing with Khan’s son, Alam Khan, and other master musicians from the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music, along with surprise guests.

Children’s FilmFest
The annual Children’s FilmFest, now in its 17th year, features a superb selection of children’s international features and shorts, along with kids’ workshops and a costume parade that will be led by a jazz band. Presented as part of the Mill Valley Film Festival, October 6-16, the four films chosen for this year’s Children’s FilmFest are BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY, CIRCUS DREAMS, LIGHT OF THE RIVER, and MAGIC SILVER. Two of the four films are in foreign languages, but will be shown with a live English translation with headphones for children in some theaters. Tickets for Children’s FilmFest programs are $10 general admission, both kids and adults. the Children’s FilmFest is offering the Children’s FilmFest Flex Pass that allows filmgoers to enjoy four admissions plus the Children’s FilmFest Opening Party Extravaganza, all for only $25.

Active Cinema: Putting Ideas Into Action
The Mill Valley Film Festival’s Active Cinema program is once again presenting compelling films that will inspire audiences to put ideas into action. Featuring both documentary and fiction, national and international, all are united in their commitment to explore the world and its issues; to engage audiences; and to transform society. On Sunday, October 9, 2:00 pm at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, director Luc Besson, (The Lady, The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita), actress Michelle Yeoh, (The Lady; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tomorrow Never Dies), and director Pamela Yates (When the Mountains Tremble, Granito: How to Nail A Dictator), will participate in a panel discussion entitled “Can a Film Make the Difference?” about the innovative ways, means and resources they‘ve employed in getting their work seen, heard and acted upon. Also, on Sunday, October 9, 4:45 pm, at142 Throckmorton Theatre will be ALL IN THE THUMBS: SMARTPHONES AND EDUCATION a panel that will immediately follow the Festival screening of the documentary THUMBS (panel included with admission to film). Academy Award winning director Bill Couturié, TV series producer Michael Tollin, Caroline Knorr, parenting editor at Common Sense Media, and Ingrid Hu-Dahl, Director of Next Gen programs, Bay Area Video Coalition will debate the value of multi-platform Smartphone devisces and whether they offer a benefit or pose a threat to the educator. In conjunction with the screening of VOICES FROM THE SHADOWS at the Festival, a discussion of the controversies and myths surrounding ME/CFS, an extreme form of chronic fatigue, “Mystery, Myth or Madness?” on Saturday, October 8, 2:00 pm, Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center featuring David Tuller, Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley lecturer and frequent contributor to the New York Times, Natalie Boulton, filmmaker, Voices From The Shadows, and Dr. Jose Montoya, associate professor, Stanford School of Medicine.

Also, additional panels taking place at this year’s MVFF as part of the NEW MOVIES LAB section are THE STATE OF THE (INDEPENDENT FILM) INDUSTRY with distributor Ed Arentz, Music Box Films, producer Ron Yerxa, Bona Fide Productions, Annie Roney founder of ro*co films along with other panelists to be announced on Saturday, October 15, 12 p.m. at the Smith Rafael Film Center (panel ticket includes reception immediately following). On Saturday, October 8, 11 a.m. at the Smith Rafael Film Center will be MEET THE EXPERTS: THE BUSINESS OF FILM with Peter Belsito and Sydney Levine of Film Finders who will discuss strategies on topics ranging from financing to co-production.

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