The Mill Valley Film Festival is celebrating its 40th year with dozens of films screening in Mill Valley and San Rafael through Oct. 15.
One of the most hotly anticipated films is the documentary feature, “Andre: The Voice of Wine” by director Mark Tchelistcheff. The film follows the saga of the “dean of American winemakers” Andre Tchelistcheff, a Russian émigré who unexpectedly revolutionized the California wine industry. Andre’s grandnephew captures his epic journey from the Russian revolution to a career of uncompromising passion that influenced the world’s most important winemakers. Some scenes in the film were filmed in and around Sonoma Valley.
The festival also features the Bay Area premiere of several acclaimed films from the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Sundance and the Berlin International Film Festival. Additionally, the festival showcases both established and emerging filmmakers in the Bay Area.
Bay area filmmakers who are presenting films on local issues include the documentary feature “The Corridor” about the San Francisco Sheriff Department’s innovative program to help inmates earn their GEDs; and the narrative feature “Fourth Movement,” which is described as an audiovisual love poem to San Francisco’s historic and historically misunderstood Tenderloin district.
Also much-buzzed about is the documentary feature “Kim Swims.” Despite the danger, swimmer Kim Chambers is determined to become the first woman to cross the 30 treacherous miles from the shark-infested Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge in the frigid San Francisco Bay.
Perhaps the most topical film is “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed.” The documentary features travels from farms to labs to dispensaries and beyond, to shed light on the female researchers and entrepreneurs blazing a trail in today’s legalized marijuana industry.
For teens and the parents who love them, the film “Metamorphosis: Junior Year” is an eye-opener. Created by Palo Alto High School students in collaboration with James Franco and based on a young adult novel by Betsy Franco, the coming-of-age tale takes on the themes that define youth: identity, sex, purpose, drugs, self-image. Haunted by the death of his sister and plagued by his parent’s expectations, young artist Ovid uses mythology and drawings to understand the world around him while his friends become viewers’ window into modern-day high school life.
Presented by the California Film Institute, the 40th Mill Valley Film Festival runs through Oct. 15. Locations include the Sequoia Theatre in Mill Valley, the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, the Lark Theatre in Larkspur, the Cinema in Corte Madera and other theaters throughout the Bay Area.
Tickets are available at mvff.com.