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By Film Threat Staff | October 2, 2002

In 1978, under the watchful eye of founder Mark Fishkin, several volunteers set up folding chairs at the Oddfellows Hall in downtown Mill Valley and presented a three-day film festival of American independent films. For the last 25 years, the “little festival that could” has showed its muscle by providing a launching pad for new films, both domestic and international. This year’s 25th Anniversary program offers the most comprehensive selection of films, videos, seminars and special events in the quarter-century history of the festival, including four world premieres, two North American premieres and 14 U.S. premieres. The 11-day Festival, October 3-13, will take place at the two-screen Sequoia Theatre in downtown Mill Valley and the three-screen Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.
Opening night, October 3, features two long-awaited films. “White Oleander” is directed by Peter Kosminsky and stars Robin Wright Penn, who will be in attendance, Alison Lohman, Michelle Pfeiffer and Renee Zellweger. Sharing the Opening Night bill is “Frida,” starring Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo, and directed by Julie Taymor, who will be in attendance to introduce her film.
Closing the film festival on October 13 will be the world premiere of “Merci Docteur Rey” starring Dianne Wiest, who will be attending, with director Andrew Litvack. Closing night will also feature Personal Velocity directed by Rebecca Miller and featuring Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey and Fairuza Balk.
Both American independent (The Slaughter Rule and XX/XY) and international film (Bloody Sunday and Intacto) will be represented at the festival, featuring 20 premieres.
Plenty of docs have been scheduled (“Bowling for Columbine” and Standing in the Shadows of Motown), as well as a Children’s FilmFest and labs and seminars, including Industrial Strength: The Independent Film World as a Business and Stepping Into the Foreground Onstage, Onscreen and Online.
For more information on the festival, visit the Mill Valley Film Festival website.

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