MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL no.
31 SOUVENIR PROGRAM
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OCTOBER 2 –12 , 2008
9/16/08 6:30:41 PM
Sharing the Road to Success Training for triathlons isn’t the only thing Russ Colombo works hard on. He leads a team of bankers in putting local businesses on the road to success. And he doesn’t stop there. Russ and his team volunteer over 7,000 hours a year and serve on 70 non-profit boards in Marin and Sonoma. At Bank of Marin, we make it a priority to share the road. And
DAVID DUNCAN LIVINGSTON, PHOTOGRAPHER
Russ Colombo President & CEO, Bank of Marin
to help our community enjoy a great ride.
Architects 415 383 3139
Committed to your business and our community. San Francisco
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www.su tto nsu z u kia rc h i t ec t s. c om
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2008 MVFF Souvenir Program graphic design by GIRAFFEX
Director’s Note | Mayor’s Proclamation
CFI Board of Directors
CFI Milestone Campaign | Major Donors
Festival Information Maps and Venues
Saving the Sequoia
Live Performances at 142 Throckmorton Theatre
New Movies Lab
Outdoor Art Club
Tribute: Paul Schrader
Spotlight: Sally Hawkins
Tribute: Harriet Andersson
Ingmar Bergman Exhibit
Tribute: Eric Roth
Tribute: Alfre Woodard
Post-Festival Presentation: Tony Curtis
Feature Categories | Premieres | Focus
Films A to Z
The Tao of Film
Films by Country
9/18/08 5:44:10 PM
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DIRECTOR’S NOTE WELCOME TO THE 31ST MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL The independent film community has gone through astonishing changes in the last decade. Early specialty film distributors like UA Classics, Orion Pictures Cinecom, Island Alive, Fine line and others are long gone, and, while definitions of independent film have always been subjective at best, any semblance of consensus was lost when production and prints and advertising budgets reached $50 million. The current perception, argued intelligently by at least one industry veteran, is that the sky is falling on specialty film. The major studios are pulling back on their smaller divisions, suggesting that those at the higher end of the indie spectrum have lost their way, at least economically. Perhaps Variety had it right when it stated, “The worst thing that ever happened to indie film is that the studios thought it was good business.” This doesn’t mean independent films are no longer good. On the contrary, they’re well-made intelligent films that get overlooked for any number of reasons— they’re released too close together to get their due; expectations (and budgets) exceed the reality of the indie market. Last year a group of films on the Iraq war and terrorism led audiences to choose between them rather than see them all. The industry is sensitive to other factors, too. The downward turn could reflect an adjustment to the actual indie market or a response to the larger economic trend, a shift in generational attitudes or technological changes.
Independent film has never been primarily about the money, though. And the good news is that film festival attendance is not only remaining stable, in many cases it’s growing. This may seem contradictory since festivals such as MVFF comprise films that in many cases will never be distributed in theaters. But the real problem seems to be that current evaluations of the state of independent cinema don’t take into account its most essential features: the quality and diversity of independent filmmaking, and the ideas and experiences these filmmakers give us. Judging by this year’s MVFF, the current state of the art hasn’t suffered at all. The quality of submissions was superb, exemplifying the best in independent filmmaking: beautifully made stories that resonate on both personal and universal levels; subjects covering crucial topics on race, religion, politics; themes of irreverence, resurrection and reconciliation—the stuff that distinguishes great films. This year we present 214 films from 44 different countries (27 of which are US, North American or world premieres). I urge you, gracious audience, to take a chance: See at least one film you normally wouldn’t. Whether it’s a short or a feature, fiction or documentary, dive in—it may startle you at first, but it will refresh you in ways you didn’t expect. It is an MVFF tradition to celebrate and honor great work in cinema. This year five extraordinary artists will receive the Mill Valley Film Festival Award. We will honor writer-director Paul Schrader and screen his new film Adam Resurrected, as well as an enhanced version of his seminal Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, which will be showing in the US for the first time. Our Spotlight Tribute this year honors Sally Hawkins, who’s gained such acclaim for her breakthrough performance in Mike Leigh’s most recent film, Happy-Go-Lucky. And we are delighted to welcome internationally renowned Swedish ac-
tress Harriet Andersson. As part of her Tribute we will screen Ingmar Bergman’s film Through a Glass Darkly, in which Ms. Andersson stars. A special Bergman multimedia exhibition opens at the Smith Rafael Film Center in conjunction with this Tribute and will continue post-Festival, accompanied by a retrospective of Bergman’s and Andersson’s films. We will also honor Eric Roth, Academy Award®–winning screenwriter of Forest Gump, Munich and the upcoming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Finally, our Closing Night Tribute is to the extraordinary actress Alfre Woodard, whose performance in American Violet, one of our two Closing Night films, reinforces her stature not only as one of the America’s great acting treasures, but as an actress committed to work of great social importance. In a special post-Festival Tribute on November 18 at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, we are honored to present the MVFF Award to legendary actor Tony Curtis. The evening will include an onstage interview with Mr. Curtis conducted by Jan Wahl, and a screening of Some Like It Hot. Enjoy the Festival! Many thanks to the CFI board of directors, our dedicated staff and volunteers, and the thousands of contributors who help make this Festival possible: members, foundations, businesses and other individuals who have chosen to generously support these films and filmmakers of merit. And thanks to you, the viewer: While the business of the independent film industry sorts itself out, it is your desire for excellent film that ultimately proves that independent film is alive and well.
Mark Fishkin MVFF Founder-Director
MAYOR’S PROCLAMATION PROCLAMATION DECLARING OCTOBER 2–12, 2008, “MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL DAYS” WHEREAS, the Mill Valley Film Festival has presented outstanding local and international fi lms in this community for 31 years; and WHEREAS, the Mill Valley Film Festival fulfi lls the important function of providing fi lmmakers an audience for their works; and WHEREAS, international fi lmmakers and the fi lm community in Marin County enhance our cultural life by participating in the Mill Valley Film Festival; and WHEREAS, filmmakers, volunteers, sponsors and fi lmgoers join together to make the Film Festival one of the Bay Area’s social and cultural highlights of the year; NOW, THEREFORE, I, Shawn Marshall, Mayor of the City of Mill Valley, take great pleasure in supporting the 31st Annual Festival by proclaiming October 2–12, 2008 as Mill Valley Film Festival Days in Mill Valley.
Shawn E. Marshall Mayor of Mill Valley
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D owntown San Rafael welcomes the
Mill Valley Film Festival
After the movie, enjoy our many shops and restaurants!
9/17/08 2:45:24 AM
CFI BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOUNDER/ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Stewart and Barbara Boxer
Lente and Eric Schwartz
Michael and Susan Schwartz
Lois Kohl Shore
RICHARD J. IDELL PRESIDENT
CHRISTOPHER B. SMITH VICE PRESIDENT
STEVE SHANE SECRETARY
W. ROBERT GRISWOLD JR.
ZACH ZEISLER TREASURER
DR. JOEL SKLAR
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SPONSORS The California Film Institute Is Proud to Acknowledge Our 2008 Sponsors and Supporters MAJOR SPONSORS
MAJOR FOUNDATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS
the bernard osher foundation
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SPONSORS SILVER CIRCLE SPONSORS
FESTIVAL CIRCLE SPONSORS
MAJOR MEDIA SPONSORS
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SPONSORS FESTIVAL EVENTS SPONSORS
Exclusive Cheese of MVFF
Exclusive Coffee & Tea of MVFF
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES SPONSORS
PROMOTIONAL PARTNERS SPONSORS
IN-KIND DONORS “Take A Dip” Fondue
Adolph Gasser Inc.
Lagunitas Brewing Company
All Seasons Catering
Double Rainbow Café
Leslie Olson Interiors
Arrowood Vineyards & Winery
Little Organic Farm
Earl’s Organic Produce
Thrifty Car Rental
Barefoot Wine & Bubbly
Lori & RJ Cotton Candy
Ristorante Mezzo Mezzo
Twisted Oak Winery
Fiske Video Productions
Scharffen Berger Chocolate
Café Z Epicerie
Magnetic Image Video
Capt. Byrde & his Wonderful
Frosting Bake Shop
Maker’s Mark Handmade
Gourmet Mushrooms, Inc.
Whole Foods Market, Mill
HINT essence water
IZZE Beverage Company
Chileno Valley Ranch
Judy’s Breadsticks (aka
Mexi-Snax and Michael
Squeegee the Clown
Entertainment Video Equipment Rentals
Unexpected Company Event
Sift: a Cupcakery
Star Route Farms
Mill Valley Flowers
St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
La Boulange Café and Bakery
North Bay Bohemian
Valley Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
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9/18/08 5:24:55 PM
A CFI Green Initiative Led by At the California Film Institute, with the leadership of PG&E, we’re taking extra steps to reduce our carbon footprint.
Programs ąŗ $'' '' 4 $'( ./$1' ñ'(. focused on social and environmental issues ąŗ($/# ! ' $'( )/ environmentally themed programming ąŗ 0/$*) - ) $. Conference
Our goal is to use the power of ﬁlm to educate the public, volunteers and our community about key sustainability issues by bringing together programs, people and facilities.
People ąŗ- ) *((0)$/4 +-/) -.#$+. ąŗ)1$-*)( )/' 0/$*) !*CFI staff, volunteers and audiences ąŗ*((0)$/4 +#$')/#-*+$ support for CFI green programs
Facilities ąŗ- ) 0.$) .. -/$ñ/$*) ąŗ (+' ( )//$*) *! ĆĎ. '$(/ (-/ħ +-*"-( ąŗ*ĕ!-$ )'4 ( -#)$. ) +-*0/. ąŗ*) ..$*) ./) ) ./$1' - 0. ) recycling program ąŗ0./$)' 1 )/. ! /0-$)" '*''4 ) organically produced food and wine
ċ Ď- +-*0 /* # '+ -$)" /# $'' '' 4 $'( ./$1' /* *0- 0./*( -. $) -$) ) /# 4 - /#-*0"# ĆĎ. .+*).*-.#$+ÿ 0++*-/$)" "- / 1 )/. '$& /# ./$1' - ò /. ĆĎ. *(($/( )/ /* enhancing the quality of life in our communities—a commitment that extends from providing safe, reliable service to offering one of the nation’s cleanest utility energy supplies.” 10
—Peter Darbee, chairman, CEO and president of PG&E corporation
9/18/08 3:09:33 PM
MAPS & VENUES
FESTIVAL INFORMATION The Mill Valley Film Festival is made possible in part through the generous support of our sponsors and patrons. The reserved seating section at our screenings and events is provided for fi lmmakers and sponsors, to show our appreciation for their contributions and their generous support.
In San Rafael: There are parking garages throughout the downtown San Rafael area. Two-hour parking meters in San Rafael operate 9:00 am–6:00 pm, Monday–Saturday, and cars parked for more than two hours are subject to ticketing. Meters are free after 6:00 pm and on Sundays.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO VOLUNTEER!
Visit mvff.com to register or contact us for more information at mvffvolunteers@ cafilm.org.
■ BUYING TICKETS THE FASTEST WAY TO BUY TICKETS IS
■ FESTIVAL VENUES CinéArts@Sequoia (SEQ) 25 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (RAF) 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael 142 Throckmorton Theatre (THR) 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley Century Cinema (CIN) 41 Tamal Vista, Corte Madera Outdoor Art Club (OAC) 1 W. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley
Mill Valley Community Center 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley
Call Golden Gate Transit at 415.923.2000 for information about taking public transportation to and from the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Please note there is a nonrefundable processing fee of $ 3.00 per order when you purchase tickets online or in person, and a fee of $7.50 when you purchase by phone.
Hornblower Cruises Sausalito Ferry Dock 1 Anchor St., Sausalito
ORDER ONLINE: mvff.com 24 hours daily ORDER BY PHONE: Toll-free 877.874.MVFF (6833) 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Frantoio Ristorante 152 Shoreline Hwy., Mill Valley Marin Academy 1600 Mission Ave., San Rafael
As a courtesy and in fairness to others, we ask that you only hold one seat per person when attending screenings and events. Please turn off pagers, cell phones and watch alarms. Thank you and enjoy the films. PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO AND RECORDING
Photography, video and audio recording are prohibited in all theatrical and other Festival venues.
r Throc k m o
| Miller Avenue P
• MILL VALLEY TICKET OUTLET Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce 85 Throckmorton Avenue Weekdays 2:00–10:00 pm; Weekends 10:00 am–10:00 pm
P Miller Avenue
CINÉARTS@SEQUOIA and 142 THROCKMORTON THEATRE: From US 101, take the Tiburon/East Blithedale exit and proceed west on Blithedale toward downtown Mill Valley. Turn left onto Throckmorton.
TICKET PRICES* $10 Members $12.50 General Admission $11 Seniors (65+) $10 Children’s Films (kids and adults) $5.00 5@5 Programs *unless otherwise noted on individual programs
Fifth Street Fourth Street
Visit our Festival shop for offi cial Festival merchandise—they make great holiday gifts for yourself and other fi lm lovers. The Festival shop is located at the San Rafael ticket outlet and the Outdoor Art Club during the Festival.
BUY IN PERSON: • SAN RAFAEL TICKET OUTLET Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center 1118 Fourth Street Weekdays 2:00–10:00 pm; Weekends 10:00 am–10:00 pm
Membership information will be available at Festival ticket outlets, the Outdoor Art Club and the Smith Rafael Film Center. New members may join, and old friends may renew or upgrade their existing memberships.
In Mill Valley: Two-hour parking meters in downtown Mill Valley operate 9:00 am– 6:00 pm Monday–Friday, and cars parked over two hours are subject to ticketing. Although meters are free after 6:00 pm and on weekends, the two-hour limit is still enforced.
CHRISTOPHER B. SMITH RAFAEL FILM CENTER: From US 101, take the Central San Rafael exit. Go west to 1118 Fourth Street.
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9/18/08 3:09:39 PM
From Gold Dust To Star Dust Wells Fargo Is Proud To Recognize
The Mill Valley Film Festival During the Gold Rush, Wells Fargo stagecoaches carried more than gold dust and mail. We also brought actors, musicians and other performing artists to the West. Today, weâ€™re proud to continue that tradition by helping to deliver arts and entertainment to our community.
wellsfargo.com ÂŠ 2008 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. AS-3514_10307
9/17/08 2:45:27 AM
There’s No Mistaking Great Film Become a Member and Find Out Why! With a CFI membership you can share a passion for great film that inspires and challenges us to see the world from a new perspective. Your support helps sustain a vibrant environment in which audiences of all ages engage with today’s most influential filmmakers.
Membership Rewards: ąŗ 0 ŗ- "0'-ŗ($..$*)ŗ ticket price of $5.50 at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center— anytime, any day! ąŗ ( -ŗ.- )$)".Āŗ often with well-known filmmakers and actors as guests at fascinating Q-and-A sessions ąŗ3'0.$1 ŗ ..ŗ/*ŗ special events ąŗ-$1$' " ŗ/*ŗ+0-#. ŗ $''ŗ Valley Film Festival tickets before the general public ąŗ*(+'$( )/-4ŗċ-$ )ŗ of the Festival” screening during the Mill Valley Film Festival
For a full list of membership benefits visit us online at
ąŗ$.*0)/.ŗ*)ŗ $''ŗ'' 4ŗ Film Festival tickets and merchandise
cafilm.org The nonprofit California Film Institute relies on the generosity of its community to thrive. Your financial support enables CFI to continue to offer quality programming and events at the Rafael and the Mill Valley Film Festival, and to offer our free education programs through CFI Education.
Join us today! online at cafilm.org or at all Mill Valley Film Festival ticket outlets online | mvff.com
9/18/08 3:09:44 PM
CFI would like to thank the following individuals and foundations for their generous support of the Milestone campaign. LEADERSHIP CIRCLE
Christopher B. and Jeannie Meg Smith
Marie and Brian Collins
Catherine and Peter Flaxman
Kamala Geroux-Berry and David Berry
Gloria and Jack Clumeck
Alice Corning/Springcreek Foundation
Mary and Bill Poland
Nancy and Rich Robbins
Dennis P. Fisco and Pamela Polite Fisco
Margaret E. Haas
Christine Zecca Foundation
INVESTOR CIRCLE Jennifer Coslett MacCready Gruber Family Foundation
Susan and Richard Idell
Andrée Poirier Jansheski
Jackie and Ken Broad
MAJOR FOUNDATION SUPPORT Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation Bernard Osher Foundation The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Marin Community Foundation Miranda Lux Foundation
William Hudson and Nora Gibson
Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation
Katz Family Foundation
K.C. and Steve Lauck
County of Marin
Kristin Otis and James Boyce
Monahan Parker, Inc.
National Endowment for the Arts
Heidi Richardson and Michael Dyett
Terese and Robert Payne
Ruthellen and Monte Toole
Lente Louw and Eric Schwartz
Susan and Michael Schwartz
Marlies and Zach Zeisler
San Francisco Foundation
Ruth and Alan Scott Mel and Lois Tukman
CFI MILESTONE CAMPAIGN For more than three decades, the California
steps now, as we look forward to celebrating
presence in Marin County through long-term
Film Institute and the Mill Valley Film Festival
the Smith Rafael Film Center’s tenth
have enriched the cultural lives of Marin County
anniversary in 2009, we ensure that future
and Bay Area residents. With the opening of
generations—and future audiences—will be able
the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in
to enjoy the rich and varied offerings of the
1999, the Institute found a first-class Festival
California Film Institute, the Smith Rafael Film
venue and a permanent, year-round home for its
Center, the Mill Valley Film Festival and CFI
many activities, including the ground-breaking
CFI Education programs. As we enter our fourth decade of operation,
Through the generous support of our
we continue to work to secure the legacy of
community, we will be able to:
this exceptional cultural organization by making
• Continue the high-quality innovative
• Expand CFI Education to offer more medialiteracy programs and bring more filmmakers into Bay Area schools. • Maintain the Smith Rafael Film Center’s pristine condition and keep pace with the latest industry technology and innovations. • Increase our creative and ﬁnancial support of filmmakers, both through film exhibition and
it financially sustainable as well as
programming that has earned CFI its
through a new model for nonprofit film
environmentally responsible. In taking these
international reputation, and expand our
For information about how you can support the Milestone campaign, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 6 online
9/18/08 3:08:54 PM
Zaentz Media Center a Wareham Development
Award-winning independent feature and documentary filmmakers, educational film distributors, sound designers, and record producers together in the East Bay Media Corridorâ€™s premier media center.
Congratulations to Mill Valley Film Festival for 31 remarkable years!
OFFICE SUITE LEASES 150 sq. ft. & UP 24/7 security; parking; unique Bay views; amenities
EDITING SUITES Affordable leases for expanding production needs
SCREENING ROOMS For industry, educational and private use
FANTASY STUDIOS The last of the classic Bay Area recording studios For information call 510.486.2286 or visit www.zaentzmediacenter.com
Zaentz Media Center | 2600 Tenth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 | A Wareham Development
9/17/08 2:45:29 AM
SAVING THE SEQUOIA THE BIG PICTURE
property—currently operated by leaseholder
cinematic venue in perpetuity, and it recalls
SECURING THE SEQUOIA (AND A HOME) IN MILL VALLEY
Cinemark Theatres as the foreign and
CFI’s successful campaign to purchase and
independent fi lm house CinéArts@Sequoia,
renovate San Rafael’s landmark art deco
by Robert Avila
which graciously makes room each October for
theater, now known as the Christopher B.
the 11-day Festival. They soon brought together
Smith Rafael Film Center.
Mill Valley’s signature movie house, the Sequoia Theatre, has served its community for nearly 80 years now, bucking a decades-long trend that’s seen thousands of movie screens disappear across the country. In fact, the historic 650-seat twin-screen venue at 25 Throckmorton Avenue—originally designed by Reid Brothers of San Francisco as a smallerscale theater palace in the classic art deco mold—has remained a vital part of the cultural life of Marin County ever since Art Blumenfeld began exhibiting silent fi lms, newsreels and even vaudeville shows and other live entertainments there in February 1929. Naturally enough, the Sequoia has also been a cornerstone of the Mill Valley Film Festival and its own vibrant 31-year history. So when MVFF’s Mark Fishkin got a call last
prominent members of the local community to assist with the $2.5 million purchase, forming
For the time being, the legacy of the Sequoia—
Friends of CFI/Sequoia LLC, an investment
for both Marin County and the celebrated
group that includes CFI itself.
international fi lm festival with a small-town feel— is in excellent hands. “This is a very important
The securing of the Sequoia occurred in a
step toward fulfi lling the dream of a permanent
remarkably swift 100 days, with the momentum
home in Mill Valley for the Mill Valley Film
of a local cause. “It’s clear that all the investors,
Festival,” says Fishkin. Present and future
donors and Tamalpais Bank (which fi nanced
generations of fi lm lovers are likely to agree.
the mortgage) had a philanthropic impetus in coming together so quickly,” affi rms CFI board
Robert Avila is a Bay Area–based arts writer.
president and Mill Valley resident Richard Idell. Adds Fishkin, “We were fortunate to have such dedicated stakeholders who understand the importance of keeping the cultural life of
The California Film Institute and the Mill
downtown Mill Valley alive and fl ourishing.”
Valley Film Festival would like to acknowledge with deep appreciation the Friends of
But it was also just the fi rst step. Under the terms of the purchase, Friends of the CFI/ Sequoia LLC will own the property (which
March saying the heirs of the Blumenfeld
includes two adjacent retail businesses) for up
Theaters family were putting the Sequoia on
to fi ve years, during which time CFI will buy it
the market after 79 years, there was no
outright with funds raised through a formal
question what to do, and no time to waste. “We
capital campaign. Cinemark, a leading national
knew we had to ensure it survived as a theater,”
exhibitor, will continue to lease and manage the
recalls Fishkin, executive director and founder
theater. Meanwhile, CFI hopes to expand its
of the California Film Institute, the Marin-based
year-round presence at the Sequoia through its
nonprofi t whose programs include the Mill
education program and special screenings,
Valley Film Festival. Fishkin and the CFI board
even during Cinemark’s lease term. This phase
rallied to encourage local investment in the
is crucial to ensuring the Sequoia remains a
the Sequoia: Anonymous Jaclyn J. and Kenneth F. Broad Josh and Stefanie Felser Jane and Douglas Ferguson Richard and Susan Idell Katz Family Foundation Jennifer Coslett MacCready Nancy and Rich Robbins Daniel L. Scher Scott/Ferguson Trust Christopher B. and Jeannie Meg Smith
Images of the Sequoia Theatre dating from the 1920s through the 1950s, courtesy of the Lucretia Little History Room, Mill Valley Public Library.
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9/22/08 12:36:14 PM
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Pacific Union is a proud sponsor of the Mill Valley Film Festival
Congratulations to the
Mill Valley Film Festival on its 31st Anniversary
9/18/08 7:10:08 AM
Here’s looking at you — cupcake
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OPENING NIGHT Our 31st Festival gets off to a rollicking start with Larry Charles’ hilariously irreverent documentary, Religulous, and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s star-studded coming-of-age tale, The Secret Life of Bees. Afterward, join invited guests Dakota Fanning, Larry Charles, Gina Prince-Bythewood and others at the Mill Valley Community Center for scrumptious food, wine and live music by the swingin’ Stompy Jones sextet. With special thanks to Strawberry Village’s Pizza Antica for providing dinner, and to Marin French Cheese Company, Judy’s Breadsticks, Ristorante Mezzo Mezzo, “Take a Dip” Fondue Fountains, Sift: A Cupcakery and Raymond Vineyards.
THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES
US 2008 101 MINS
US 2008 110 MINS
Thursday, October 2, 7:00 pm
Thursday, October 2, 7:00 pm and 7:15 pm
Film and Gala $125 REL02P • Film Only $25 REL02R
7:00 pm Film and Gala $125 SECA02P
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
7:00 pm Film Only $25 SECA02S
Politically Incorrect comedian Bill Maher is on a global quest to knock some good old-fashioned heretical sense into his targeted opponent: organized religion of all stripes. From his confrontations with a Christian theme-park Jesus and a Muslim mall-vendor of high-fashion women’s burqas (he just barely avoids total verbal engulfment by a motormouthed Orthodox Jew), Maher’s mission seems next to impossible, making it all the more fun to watch. Director Larry Charles (Borat) once again turns the mirror of culture back on itself, with hilarious and somewhat unnerving results. Preaching to the converted is not exactly the name of Maher’s game, but putting all preachers, along with all the converted, to the tests of reason, logic and a bit of basic evolutionary biology gives Religulous its delightful, devilish charm. —Karen Davis
7:15 pm Film and Gala $125 SECB02P
Director Larry Charles Producers Jonah Smith, Palmer West, Bill
Maher Cinematographer Anthony Hardwick Editors Jeffrey M. Werner, Jeff Groth, Christian Kinnard Print Source Lionsgate
OPENING NIGHT GALA (follows either Opening Night screening)
Thursday, October 2, 9:30 pm–12:00 am
OPENING NIGHT sponsored by
7:15 pm Film Only $25 SECB02S CinéArts@Sequoia South Carolina, 1964: Haunted by the memory of her late mother and beset by her father, 14-year-old Lily (beautifully performed by Dakota Fanning) flees with Rosaleen (a very moving Jennifer Hudson) to a small town where she hopes to uncover her mother’s past. Her search leads her to a bright pink house inhabited by the smart, independent Boatwright sisters: the charismatic August (Queen Latifah), a beekeeper and honeymaker; teacher and musician June (Alicia Keys); and the sensitive, kind May (Sophie Okonedo). The Boatwrights take in the two fugitives, and Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world as she learns the mysteries of beekeeping and friendship, life and love. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood perfectly evokes the tone and wisdom of Sue Monk Kidd’s bestselling novel, while her extraordinary cast brings great insight to this story of a girl who sets out to learn about her mother and ends up transforming herself. —Zoë Elton Director/Screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood Producers Lauren Shuler Donner, James Lassiter, Will Smith, Joe Pichirallo Cinematographer Rogier Stoffers Editor Terilyn A. Shropshire Cast Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Paul Bettany, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo Print Source Fox Searchlight
Mill Valley Community Center
9/18/08 3:00:17 PM
CLOSING NIGHT Come help us say farewell to our 31st Festival. We welcome back Hornblower Cruises & Events, who take us aboard for a Closing Night party and cruise. We meet dockside at the California Hornblower in Sausalito for hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Then we’ll fall under the spell of the magical views from the ship’s three floors of windows as we cruise the bay. Closing Night is presented by the California Film Institute Board of Directors.
AMERICAN VIOLET AND TRIBUTE TO ALFRE WOODARD
US 2008 102 MINS
Israel 2008 106 MINS
Sunday, October 12, 5:00 pm
Sunday, October 12, 5:45 pm
Tribute and Party $70 TRIB12P • Tribute Only $25 TRIB12R
Film and Party $70 LEM12P • Film Only $25 LEM12S
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
CinéArts @ Sequoia
Producer-writer Bill Haney (Price of Sugar, MVFF 2007) and director Tim Disney’s outstanding and timely collaboration reveals the unsettling realities of racism, disenfranchisement and power that permeate our imperfect democracy. Based on a true story and set against the backdrop of the hotly contested 2000 presidential election, the tale opens as single mother Dee Roberts (stunning newcomer Nicole Behaire) is wrongfully arrested on drug charges. She refuses to plead guilty and becomes the unlikely plaintiff in a groundbreaking case against a powerful white DA accused of racial bias. Her strong-willed mother, Alma (the ever-impressive Alfre Woodard), is her sole safety net as Dee risks everything to fight for the truth. Innocent until proven guilty is the mantra of our judicial system—except, perhaps, in Texas, where an unreliable informant can get you indicted, the convicted are hounded into plea bargains instead of fighting unjust charges, and African Americans are arrested at a grossly disproportionate rate. —Joanne Parsont
Palestinian widow Salma Zidane’s lemon grove is on the border with Israel. When Israel’s ambitious defense minister moves in next door, he sees a potential terrorist behind each lemon tree, setting off a battle in which Zidane (Hiam Abbass, The Visitor) faces ruin, loneliness and betrayal as she fights to save her family’s legacy and her livelihood. Acclaimed Israeli director Eran Riklis (The Syrian Bride, Cup Final) has long been fascinated by borders and taboos, and by the women who challenge them. As Zidane and the defense minister’s lonely wife (Rona Lipaz-Michael) stare at each other across a razor’s edge of distrust, each questions the potential of love against the power of patriarchy and social expectations. Could solidarity between these women be a potential chink in the walls of tribal/national conflict? —Alan Snitow
Director Tim Disney Producer/Screenwriter Bill Haney Cinematographer Steve Yedlin Editor Nancy Richardson Cast Nicole Behaire, Will Patton, Alfre Woodard, Michael O’Keefe Print Source Mitropoulos Films Sponsored by
Director/Producer Eran Riklis Screenwriters Suha Araf, Eran Riklis Cinematographer Rainer Klausmann Editor Tova Ascher Cast Hiam Abbass, Ali Suliman, Rona Lipaz-Michael, Doron Tavory, Tarik Copty, Amos Lavie Print Source IFC Films Sponsored by
CLOSING NIGHT PARTY (follows either event) Sunday, October 12 (Boarding 8:00 pm; Sailing 9:00 pm) California Hornblower, Ferry Dock, 1 Anchor St., Sausalito
23 tickets 877.874.6833
9/18/08 3:00:23 PM
9/17/08 2:46:22 AM
LIVE PERFORMANCES AT 142 THROCKMORTON THEATRE A vibrant center for the arts and longtime friend of the Mill Valley Film Festival, 142 Throckmorton Theatre is the premier venue for unique Festival screenings of works produced on video, including exciting new documentaries and the groundbreaking V(ision)Fest. This year’s live entertainment includes sizzling music events as well as the popular Tuesday Night Comedy Showcase.
Photo courtesy of Jim Marshall ®
The Mill Valley Film Festival and the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation Present LAST DAYS OF THE FILLMORE: A LIVE MULTIMEDIA EVENT Friday, October 3, 8:00 pm • $50 MUSC03T Look back at the legacy of Bill Graham and the original Fillmore in a selection of clips from the 1972 documentary Last Days of the Fillmore, put together for this occasion by Rhino Entertainment, which will release the DVD in January 2009. The film features the Grateful Dead, Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Boz Skaggs and more, and follows rock impresario Graham as he books the club’s closing week and reflects on the state of the music business. The evening includes a panel discussion moderated by Ben FongTorres with music professionals Jerry Pompili, Herbie Herbert, Steve Parish, Raechel Donahue and John Beug, followed by a full set of live music with house band Moonalice, featuring G.E. Smith, Jack Casady, Barry Sless, Pete Sears, Ann McNamee, Roger McNamee, Jimmy Sanchez and invited guests including Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Elvin Bishop, Dan Hicks, Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman and Jay Lane, Lydia Pense of Cold Blood, Josh Clark and Trevor Garrod of Tea Leaf Green, and Dan Lebo of ALO. Produced by Steep Productions, Inc., Clare Wasserman and Stephanie Clarke.
Last Days of the Fillmore
The Mill Valley Film Festival Presents A SALUTE TO THE WRECKING CREW Monday, October 6, 9:00 pm • $50 MUSC06T In celebration of Denny Tedesco’s rock ’n’ roll documentary, The Wrecking Crew (see page 101 for film description), join original Wrecking Crew members Hal Blaine, Don Randi, Chuck Berghofer and invited guests including former Beach Boy Al Jardine and others, for an evening of unforgettable hits from the 60s and 70s. The musicians may not be household names, but they’re the ones who played on songs like “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” “Be My Baby,” “California Dreamin’,” “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine,” “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”—and virtually every major hit by the Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, the Monkees, the Carpenters and Simon & Garfunkel. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the originators of the classic West Coast sound live and in person. Musical Director: Scott Mathews. Associate Musical Director: Austin de Lone. Consulting Producer: Larry “The Hat” Lautzker of FAMOUS4. Produced by Steep Productions, Inc., Clare Wasserman and Stephanie Clarke.
In Association with the Mill Valley Film Festival, 142 Throckmorton Theatre Presents TUESDAY NIGHT COMEDY WITH MARK PITTA & FRIENDS Tuesday October 7, 8:00 pm • $15 COME07T Mark your calendars for Tuesdays, and join us for Tuesday Night Comedy with Mark Pitta & Friends. Mark Pitta hosts an evening for established headliners and up-and-coming comics to work on new material. You may see fi ve comics, an improv group, a comedy video or a scene from a new play in progress—come and fi nd out! Ages 18 and over unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. For more information visit www.142throckmortontheatre.org.
25 tickets 877.874.6833
9/18/08 3:00:27 PM
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9/17/08 2:46:24 AM
NEW MOVIES LAB
WORKSHOPS ON THE ART, TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS OF FILMMAKING
INDEPENDENT FILM: WHY THE PANIC?
or less) by 7:00 pm. Instant gratifi cation comes one
Saturday, October 4, 11:00 am
Charles Annenberg Weingarten | Filmmaker, trustee
hour later at a public screening of entries submitted by
142 Throckmortion Theatre
of the Annenberg Foundation
the deadline, when we witness the multifarious ways
Helen Cotton | Director, Campaing for Female Educa-
in which the same elements result in entirely different
This past June, when former president of Miramax and
tion (CAMFED), producer-director, Where the Water
movies. MVFF and Cinemasports are pleased to once
Warners Independent Pictures Mark Gill announced,
Meets the Sky
again co-present this fun opportunity for fi lmmakers
“Yes, the sky really is falling,” it shocked the inde-
Daven Gee | Director of Outreach, Katadhin Foun-
and fi lm enthusiasts alike. Come be a fi lmmaker for a
pendent fi lm world. Not so much because we didn’t
day, or come to the screening to behold the results!
know but because it confi rmed our worst fears. In the
Almir Narayamoga Surui | Environmentalist, political
Visit cinemasports.com to sign up.
current economic environment, it is harder than ever
activist and tribal chief, Rondonia, western Brazil
to fi nance, produce and distribute independent fi lm.
Vasco van Roosmalen | Brazil program director, Ama-
CINEMATOGRAPHER AND DIRECTOR
An expert panel of industry professionals will discuss
zon Conservation Team, Arlington, Virginia
Sunday, October, 12, 12:30 pm
ways to ensure independent cinema’s continued pro-
Jenny Yancey | Founder and co-president, YouthGive
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
Weezie Yancey-Siegel | Youth coordinator, YouthGive
sion, but it is the camera that tells the visual story.
Ehud Bleiberg | Producer, Love & Dance, The Band’s
Janet Visick | Senior Interviewer, Ashoka: Innovators
What do directors need to know from their cinematog-
Visit, Adam Ressurected (see page 78)
for the Public
raphers? How does their shared vision become real-
Jonathan Dana | Veteran distributor, producer and
Please go to our website, mvff.com, for updates on
ized? The panel will discuss the artistic relationship
consultant. Producer, Standing in the Shadows of
between these two visionary roles, and the impact of
The director gives a fi lm its artistic and dramatic vi-
new digital technologies on their work.
Motown, Ballet Russes Ron Yerxa | Producer, Election, Cold Mountain, Little Miss Sunshine Danae Ringelmann | Founder and Chief of Finance & Customer Development, IndieGoGo MODERATOR
CINEMASPORTS Sunday, October 5, 9:00 am Intro Meeting Old Mill Park, Mill Valley FREE Sign-up required on a first come, first served basis. Sign-ups begin at 11:00 am for that day’s sessions.
Richard Idell | Entertainment attorney, Idell and
Sunday, October 5, screening 8:15 pm
142 Throckmorton Theatre
INVITED GUESTS Tim Disney | Director, American Violet (see page 78), A Question of Faith, Tempesta Janusz Kaminski | Oscar® -winning cinematographer of Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, nominee for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (MVFF 2007) and director of Hania (see page 86)
Ellen Kuras | Unprecedented three-time winner of the
ACTIVE CINEMA ROUNDTABLE
An energetic fusion of imagination, collaboration and
for Swoon, Angela and Personal Velocity, cinemato-
Sunday, October 5, 1:00 pm
tournament, Cinemasports is a race against the clock
grapher for Martin Scorese’s No Direction Home and
142 Throckmorton Theatre
to make a fi lm in a day. Anyone can participate, just
director of The Betrayal (see page 79)
arrive with your crew at 9:00 am equipped and ready
Eran Riklis | Director, Lemon Tree (see page 90), The
Films about social, environmental and human rights is-
to shoot and edit your own cinematic masterpiece by
Syrian Bride (MVFF 2004), Cup Final
sues have the potential to inspire, inform and transform.
the same-day deadline. Everyone gets the same list of
This panel of fi lmmakers, funders and activists will look
three mandatory “ingredients” (a hint: this year, the
at innovative ways of creating and funding fi lms, con-
“ingredients” will connect with Active Cinema) and
Stephen Ujlaki | Producer, Ripley Underground, Loch
necting with audiences and spreading the word.
must return with a completed short fi lm (3.5 minutes
Ness, Hot Spot, Cachao: Uno Mas
Best Dramatic Cinematography award at Sundance
INSIGHT: A MASTER CLASS WITH JOE WRIGHT Saturday, October 4, 2:00 pm Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center JOEW04R $15
MVFF’s new Insight program invites master fi lmmakers to present the art and craft of their work in depth and in detail. Director Joe Wright returns to the Festival to help us launch this program, presenting a fi rst look at selected excerpts from his newest fi lm, The Soloist, and giving a director’s-eye view of the making of the fi lm, which stars Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. Wright’s exceptional directorial talent can be seen in Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, and this Insight program gives audiences a great opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of his creative process.
27 tickets 877.874.6833
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9/22/08 12:36:33 PM
Take One! Take Two! That’s a Wrap! At Coldwell Banker, we’ll be with you from “take one” to “that’s a wrap!” We have been helping local buyers and sellers with their real estate needs since our beginnings in San Francisco in 1906. Coldwell Banker of Southern Marin is proud to support the MVFF and the amazing talent of the participating filmmakers. For the expert representation that you deserve, contact one of our shining stars at Coldwell Banker of Southern Marin. Bel vedere-Tiburon 83 Beach Road 415.435.1004
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©2008 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Coldwell Banker®, Previews® and Previews International® are registered trademarks licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Owned and Operated by NRT LLC.
9/17/08 2:46:36 AM
OUTDOOR ART CLUB From October 3 to 12, join us at the Outdoor Art Club (OAC) at 1 West Blithedale Avenue in downtown Mill Valley, just across the street from CinéArts@Sequoia theater. Socialize and relax at the OAC before and after films. It’s the hub of Festival activity, with a café, live music, Festival merchandise and a California Film Institute (CFI) table, where you can get information about and join CFI. Run by Maria Maria Restaurant, the café will serve a menu of innovative as well as traditional Mexican cuisine. Wine, beer and margaritas will also be available. Live music by talented Bay Area musicians will be featured throughout the Festival. Check the board outside the OAC for the daily schedule. Happy hour is from 6:00 to 7:00 pm each day, with free wine. CAFÉ SCHEDULE October 3: 4–8 pm
October 6–9: 4–7 pm
October 4: 12:30–8 pm
October 10: 4–8 pm
October 5: 12–8 pm
October 11: 12–2 pm
Please note: the Café will be closed October 12.
9/18/08 5:25:09 PM
CHILDREN’S FILMFEST MVFF PROUDLY PRESENTS THE 14 ANNUAL CHILDREN’S FILMFEST TH
In this year’s FilmFest many things are the opposite of what they seem to be. You would think a film called Kick Like a Girl would make fun of girls, but instead it’s about girls playing soccer as well as boys. A film called Terra isn’t about the earth, but it is about earthlings; Butterflies is more about a little girl flying than about insects; and Nocturna is a land of nighttime mystery, not nightmares. In Skymaster, a child is—maybe—born with wings; and our program of short films, You Can’t Do That!, is really about all the things you can do when you put your mind to it. Many of this year’s films feature a fascination with flying and the sky, and there will be weightless moments at our screenings too, when the air will be filled with balloons, wonder and joy.
CHILDREN’S FILMFEST PROGRAMS
CHILDREN’S FILMFEST EVENTS
Lotte From Gadgetville Quest for a Heart Butterflies The Snow Queen Unna and Nuuk The Amazing Osamu Tezuka
• OPENING FILM AND FESTIVITIES
Nocturna You Can’t Do That! Terra Skymaster, A Flying Family Fairytale
This year’s films come from Norway, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Estonia, Latvia, Germany, Canada, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France— and here as well. A very special treat is a program of non-anime cartoons by Japanese master cartoonist Osamu Tezuka. These wonderful films have no dialogue but instead are accompanied by incredible music. We’ll also show a rare episode of Astro Boy, Tezuka’s most famous creation. ABOUT SUBTITLES To enhance our very young viewer’s appreciation of foreign-language movies, we provide the unique service of having actors read subtitles aloud. When we can, we play the readings through individual headphones, to allow those who do not require the service to have an equally pleasurable film experience. We have a limited number of headsets, so we offer them on a first-come, first-served basis. indicates subtitles with headphone
indicates subtitles read aloud
The symbols above indicate how subtitles are provided for each program screening. To avoid confusion and disappointment, please check the film listings for individual program subtitle information. AGE RECOMMENDATIONS Please bear in mind that the age range following each children’s film program description is a suggestion only. It may only refer to a program’s length or subject matter, while it cannot adequately address everyone’s sense of appropriate or inappropriate content. Each child is different, and each parent has different standards.
NOCTURNA Saturday, October 4, 11:00 am CinéArts@Sequoia • CHILDREN’S FILMFEST OPENING PARTY Saturday, October 4, 12:30 pm Outdoor Art Club Film and Party $15 NOCT04P Film Only $10 NOCT04S Party Only $5 PARTY04 After the screening of Nocturna, join us across the street at the Outdoor Art Club for a fun-filled party for the kids. There’ll be music by Lori & RJ and Cotton Candy Express, face painting by Marti Cate of Unexpected Company and Oliver Twist, photos with Capt. Byrde & His Wonderful Macaws and Squeegee’s balloon twisting! Lunch will be provided by Whole Foods, with ice cream sundaes from “Take a Dip” Fondue Fountains. Adults must be accompanied by children. • CLOSING FILM TERRA Saturday, October 11, 10:30 am CinéArts@Sequoia TERR11S Sunday, October 12, 11:30 am TERR12R Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center • PARADE KAZOO PARADE AND ICE CREAM Sunday, October 12, 1:30 pm Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center Join the kazoo parade to Double Rainbow on Fourth Street for free ice cream. Everyone gets a kazoo or a shaker.
9/18/08 3:00:41 PM
High School Film Program Complete High School and study the art of ﬁlm in our Moving Pictures program.
Student ﬁlms have been screened at: • Short Film Corner, Cannes, France • Festival de Cine International de Barcelona, Spain • Bogota Film Festival, Colombia • Newport Beach International Film Festival • Westwood International Film Festival • Palm Springs International Short Film Festival • Big Bear Film Festival • Mill Valley Film Festival • Temecula Valley Film Festival
IdyllwildARTS Academy Academy Admission 951-659-2171 x2223 email@example.com
YOUTH FOCUS YOUNG CRITICS JURY
Now in its seventh year, this popular three-day crash course held each July in-
Six members are chosen from the larger group of young critics to peer jury and
cludes everything we can cram in about film through lectures, roundtable talks
curate the MVFF youth reel. This year’s jurors Trevor Fisher, Sofi a Britto-
and hands-on work. This summer’s industry guests included screenwriter-direc-
Schwartz, Shauna Keddy and Alex Allen-Hyma judged 80 films and curated a
tor-animator Kevin Lima, whose Enchanted is an affectionate send-up of Disney
fantastic youth reel, titled Lessons in Lice, Language and Lipstick (see film de-
films. Addressing the subject of silent film, Bruce Loeb provided piano accom-
scription, page 90). The reel comprises 19 films from the US, Mexico and Bul-
paniment for the 1929 comedy Show People, and Sprague Anderson presented
garia, by student filmmakers ranging in age from 10 to 18. Local films included
an informative show-and-tell of three rare, fully functional silent film cameras.
in the reel are produced through great programs like San Francisco Art and Film
Stuntwoman Jean Malahni, who is also an advocate for establishing an Academy
and the AIM program at Tamalpais High School.
Award for stunt work, wowed students with her stories. Oscar nominee Marilyn
The Saturday October 11, 11:00 am screening of Lessons in Lice, Language
Mulford showed scenes from her new documentary Archaeology of Memory (see
and Lipstick will feature a Q-and-A with the young fi lmmakers, and they will be
film description, page 79), co-directed with Quique Cruz, about Cruz’s torture
presented with copies of Final Draft, the premier software in the industry.
and imprisonment under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile.
CFI Education will be taking applications for the 2009 Young Critics Jury next
Local celebrities Noah and Logan Miller came to talk about making their first
April. For information, email CFI Education director John Morrison at educa-
feature film with powerhouse actors Ed Harris, Robert Forster and Brad Dourif.
firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our website, cafilm.org, and download the application.
Film critic and feature writer David Templeton discussed how a film critic does his job, and veteran editor Vivien Hillgrove, who has worked with Francis Ford Coppola and Milos Foreman as well as many independent documentary filmmakers, talked about her role in filmmaking and showed film clips. Rory Enke described his work as a location scout, illustrating with clips from films he’s worked on. Filmmaker and media archaeologist Craig Baldwin presented experimental works by some of the genre’s most accomplished filmmakers, includ-
In addition to the Children’s FilmFest and the Youth Reel, many of this year’s Festival fi lms feature young people: 32A Everything Is Fine Heart of Fire The Home in My Heart
Let the Right One In Mommy Is at the Hairdresser’s Morning Light
The Secret Life of Bees Tricks The Wave Zimbabwe
ing himself. And 36-year veteran actor Jeffrey Weissman led a mini-course on
Please rely on your judgment regarding whether a film is appropriate. Our recom-
how to become an actor.
mendations are not a substitute for a well-informed adult’s decision.
9/18/08 5:25:16 PM
9/17/08 2:46:40 AM
CALIFORNIA FILM INSTITUTE EDUCATION BUILDING THE NEXT GENERATION OF FILMMAKERS AND AUDIENCES Film engages and inspires like no other medium. For two decades the Mill Valley Film Festival and CFI Education have pioneered creative fi lm programming for Bay Area young people, providing year-round screenings, interactive sessions with fi lm professionals and hands-on activities to introduce students to the power of fi lm as a vibrant tool of communication. In addition to our Festival activities, CFI Education presents programs at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, the Pacifi c Film Archive in Berkeley and other Bay Area theaters. We also come directly to schools with our interdisciplinary, intercultural fi lm-study programs. Designed to supplement literature, history, science and social studies curricula, they are accompanied by study guides created to conform to state educational standards. The following are some of our current programs:
IN-SCHOOL FILMMAKER PROGRAM DURING THE MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL Each year, three interns work with the Education director to bring fi lmmakers and their fi lms from the Mill Valley Film Festival to Bay Area secondary schools. In mid-August we sign up schools and teachers, and in September we match fi lmmakers to those schools for an exciting classroom exchange between fi lmmakers and students. At the college level, San Francisco State University fi lm professor Steven Kovacs teaches an annual weekend course at the university that highlights the fi lms and guests in that year’s Mill Valley Film Festival. The program is curated by Dr. Kovacs and CFI Education director John Morrison.
SELECTED SCREENINGS FOR SCHOOLS Throughout the year we provide schools with free monthly screenings of important fi lms. In addition,
every year we select six to eight fi lms from the more than two hundred fi lms at the Festival and screen them for schools for free during Festival time. Most of the screenings occur during the school day at the Smith Rafael Film Center; others are held at theaters in the East Bay and San Francisco. After each screening, question-and-answer sessions with fi lmmakers challenge students to think critically about the fi lms and consider what goes on both behind and in front of the camera.
YOUNG CRITICS JURY Held every July, Young Critics Jury is a three-day intensive workshop for youths aged 13–18 to learn media literacy skills directly from fi lmmakers and fi lm historians. Directors, screenwriters, location scouts, actors, animators, critics, documentary fi lmmakers, cinematographers and others make this event an exceptional educational experience. Six students are chosen from this workshop to spend the following week as jury and curators of the Mill Valley Film Festival Youth Reel.
A PLACE IN THE WORLD Now in its fourth year, this yearlong program has become an integral part of several Bay Area schools’ humanities studies. The international six-film curriculum focuses on youth experience and point of view, addressing watershed moments and important subjects such as family, religion, sexuality, death, racism and friendship. Participants meet monthly at the Smith Rafael Film Center, where they watch the films together after reviewing CFI Education study guides with their teachers. Afterward they listen to filmmakers or subject experts speak about the film, and then break up into small interschool groups to discuss personal reactions and the ways the film is relevant to their lives.
MY PLACE This two-year-old program combines hands-on fi lmmaking with storytelling. With help from local fi lmmakers and Berkeley’s internationally known Center for Digital Storytelling, students use fi lmmaking to look at where they live through different eyes. CFI works with social service agencies to recruit underserved youth for the program. My Place is currently active in Marin’s Canal area and Marin City, and San Francisco’s Mission and Bayview–Hunter’s Point neighborhoods. Films from the program have been accepted into the Mill Valley Film Festival Youth Reel, and one of last year’s fi lms was accepted into the teen contingent of the 30 th Mountainfi lm Festival in Telluride, Colorado.
TEACHING MEDIA LITERACY IN THE CLASSROOM Assisted by San Francisco State University Education professor Mark Phillips, this CFI Education– initiated group of Bay Area teachers design and hold interdisciplinary teacher workshops on media literacy and the use of media in the classroom. One annual workshop reviews upcoming Mill Valley Film Festival fi lms available for integration into classroom study via CFI Education’s Selected Screenings program. A subcommittee of this group is developing a media literacy program for elementary school students that will include jurying short fi lms in the Festival’s Children’s FilmFest. Call, email or visit online: phone: 415.383.5256 x113 email: email@example.com online: cafilm.org
CFI Education programs are made possible by grants from
Miranda Lux Foundation Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation
33 tickets 877.874.6833
9/18/08 8:05:35 AM
Congratulations to the 31st Mill Valley Film Festival
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AN INTERVIEW WITH PAUL SCHRADER by Michael Fox One of the few American directors and screenwriters to combine philisophy and action, Paul Schrader has forged a 30-year career of probing moral tales that bring the wrenching internal dilemmas of agonized characters palpably to life. His latest film, Adam Ressurected, will screen at MVFF, as well as a new release of his 1985 masterwork Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. I recently had the pleasure of talking to Paul Schrader by phone about his extraordinary career. How did your Calvinist upbringing influence your approach to making movies? Filmmakers never forget their first love. I came to the movies in college. The first movies I saw were the European cinema of the 60s and that was my first love, [and where I got] my notion of what is art. Not seeing films as a young person gave me a much different perspective. I came from a community of storytellers, without movies and television. I had a background with an oral tradition where people sat around and entertained each other with stories. The third influence of being raised in that Calvinist tradition was that we were anti-iconographic, meaning that we didn’t believe in any imagery. Our church is like a courthouse. So I was really kind of starved of visual logic. We didn’t believe that images were ideas. How to tell stories in images was not a tradition that I was familiar with, so it took me a little while to figure out how to direct. Was there a moment of epiphany when you realized you were a screenwriter? I was a [protégé] of Pauline Kael’s, and I thought about being a screenwriter. You obviously do when you’re living in Los Angeles, but it kind of crystallized when Pauline got me a job, a real job as a working critic. It was everything I wanted, and it would have been in Seattle, and I turned her down. It sort of ended my relationship with her, but also it became clear to me that I wasn’t really a film critic, because I just turned down exactly what I wanted. So I had to get serious about writing. So much has been said and written about Taxi Driver that it sometimes overshadows all the other work you’ve
done. Can you summarize its place in your life in a few words? It was my first script and it was written as self-therapy. It wasn’t really written to sell; it was written to exorcise certain things I was feeling and thinking.
I came across an old quote of yours, about reaching a point in your writing where you decided to tone down the violence. What is the appeal or attraction of violence to a writer and/or a director, and what are its limitations? Obviously, the arts are about extremes, so therefore you’re always interested in the extremes of behavior. And if you’re talking about extreme behavior, you’re going to get into violence fairly quickly. You don’t have that many tools in your toolbelt, you know, as a storyteller. You have violence and you have romance and you have relatively few others.… I was starting to get pegged at one time as a violence-sexploitation kind of director, and I just didn’t feel that I was that. So I kind of backed away from any more of those scripts where a whole bunch of people got killed.
TRIBUTE: PAUL SCHRADER
THINKING IN PICTURES
You moved into the director’s chair in 1978 with Blue Collar, followed by Hardcore and American Gigolo in quick succession. What compelled you to make the transition from screenwriter? I didn’t try being a director because I felt that I was ill served by directors who had done scripts of mine. I just felt that I was sort of half of an author. I really wasn’t a writer; my words weren’t on-screen, and if I wanted to be a writer I should write books. So I had to decide whether I wanted to be a true writer or a filmmaker. That’s why I started thinking about how to plot and connive a filmmaking career. So I wrote Blue Collar and packaged it, and more or less, that is how I have operated for 30 years plus. I have basically put these films together myself, either coming up with the idea or finding the elements to make it work. American Gigolo, for better or worse, was the film seized on by pop culture, maybe accidentally. Probably accidentally. I mean, it’s kind of hard to contrive those things. Actually, American Gigolo was, in my mind, not dissimilar from Taxi Driver, which is essentially about one of these fringe characters on the edges of society, except that the taxi driver was very angry and very laconic, and the gigolo
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TRIBUTE: PAUL SCHRADER
was very superficial and very glamorous. They’re not two films that people would put together but to me it was the same central character, [and] the same character that appears later in Light Sleeper and then appears for the last time in The Walker. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters remains the most underappreciated and overlooked of your films. The Festival screening is a great opportunity for filmgoers to rediscover the work. The Criterion version to be shown for the first time in the US in Mill Valley has gone a long way to put that film back in people’s minds. The DVD, which was issued in July, got quite a bit of attention, and Criterion did a terrific packaging and enhancement of the film…. We changed narration, we did some sky replacements, we added a short scene back in. We, of course, worked on the color and the music, so that the film certainly looks better than it did when it came out. It’s a new, improved version of the film. It’s unfair to ask this of an artist, but do you think the film was ahead of its time? I don’t think there is a time for such a film. It’s a complete anomaly, and there’s no other film quite like it. In America, it was a Japanese-language film, and Warner agreed to distribute it, and co-financed it as a favor to George [Lucas] and Francis [Ford Coppola], but they weren’t going to do any promotion on it. And Warner isn’t really in the business of releasing Japanese-language films. There never really was a market for it in this country and, of course, where there was a market for it, it was never released, which was Japan. Of all your films, is it the one you’re the most proud of? You have different favorites. I particularly like Mishima just because it’s the damnedest thing. I think it has a kind of a bold reach of the imagination, and it actually works. On the other hand, I think my best direction was in The Comfort of Strangers. I think my most fully realized film is Affliction. We’re speaking on the eve of the premiere of Adam Resurrected. What can you tell us? The thing to remember about Adam Resurrected is that it is an act of the imagination. It’s not based on history; it’s based on a novel. To my mind, a very great novel, but a bold and imaginative novel. What may throw some people is having a
subject such as the Holocaust dealt with in that kind of imaginative way, and used as a metaphor. The film takes place in a mental institution in 1960 in the Negev Desert. I describe the film as the story of a man who once was a dog who meets a dog who once was a boy. It’s the relationship between this older man that survived the camps by acting as a dog and a young boy who believes he’s a dog because he’s been abused. We’ve been going through how to describe the film, because there’s nothing quite to compare it to. It’s not magic realism, so I don’t know quite how to describe it. I remember Andrzej Wajda took a lot of heat for the fantastical ending of Korczak, his film about the Polish pediatrician deported to Auschwitz with dozens of orphans under his care. We’ve taken real pains—it’s a losing battle, of course—not to call this a Holocaust film because it takes place in the 60s, and there’s approximately 10 to 15 minutes of flashback material to the camps and that’s about it. The moment you call it a Holocaust film, all these perception problems start to arise. I realized that two years ago when we announced it at the Jerusalem Film Festival, and I told the press that this is not a Holocaust film. The headline in The Jerusalem Post the next day was, “Schrader to Do Holocaust Film.” So you are kind of stuck. Your films contain an intellectual component that American audiences, shall we say, don’t relish as much as French and Japanese moviegoers. Do you feel as if you’ve been walking an uphill road your entire career? I feel I’ve been very lucky to have a career at all. I started making films at a very fortuitous time, in a window there in the late 60s, early 70s. A number of us sort of walked in [through that] window, and then 10 years later they closed it. I got in, and somehow I was able to keep making films. I don’t think I could get into the industry now. And I don’t think I could have gotten in 10 years before I did. So I’ve been very, very fortunate, and it’s kind of amazing that I’ve cobbled this career together. Michael Fox is a Bay Area film critic and journalist for SF360.org and SF Weekly, and the curator and host of the Friday night CinemaLit series at the Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco.
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DIRECTOR/WRITER The Walker (2007) Forever Mine (1999) Affliction (1998) Touch (1997) Light Sleeper (1992) Light of Day (1987) Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) American Gigolo (1980) Hardcore (1979) Blue Collar (1978)
DIRECTOR Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) Auto Focus (2002) The Comfort of Strangers (1990) Cat People (1982)
WRITER Bringing Out the Dead (1999) The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) The Mosquito Coast (1986) Raging Bull (1980) Obsession (1976) Taxi Driver (1976) The Yakuza (1974)
Adam Resurrected Germany/Israel/US 2008 106 MINS Former Berlin magician and circus impresario Adam Stein (a winningly theatrical Jeff Goldblum) is an enthralling, enigmatic patient at the Seizling Institute, a remote Israeli rehabilitation outpost for Holocaust survivors. Entertainer, clairvoyant, sophisticate and lothario, Stein veers from brilliance to eroticism, horror and madness, with flashbacks to the physical and psychological demoralization he endured under Commandant Klein (Willem Dafoe) in the Stellring death camp. Stein appears to have everyone stymied and overawed, but an unusual new patient seems to have the magnetic power to break him free of the grip of his relentless torment. Award-winning screenwriter (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Affliction) and director Paul Schrader brilliantly re-creates Israeli author Yoram Kaniuk’s powerful 1969 novel about the excruciating choices Holocaust victims made in order to stay alive and the indelible impact of these choices on the psyche. —Joanne Parsont Director Paul Schrader Producer Ehud Bleiberg Screenwriter Noah Stollman Cinematographer Sebastian Edschmid Editor Sandy Saffeels Cast Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi, Ayelet Zurer Print Source Bleiberg Entertainment With support from
TRIBUTE TO PAUL SCHRADER
TRIBUTE: PAUL SCHRADER
Saturday, October 4, 7:00 pm Tribute and Reception $60 TRIB04P Tribute Only $25 TRIB04R
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center Reception to follow at Outdoor Art Club Additional screening for Adam Resurrected Tuesday, October 7, 7:00 pm ADAM07S, Sequoia
Please join us for the Tribute program of clips and conversation with Paul Schrader, followed by a screening of Adam Resurrected and the presentation of the MVFF award. Afterward, come to the Outdoor Art Club for a late dinner provided by Mill Valley’s beloved Piazza D’Angelo, with dessert from “Take a Dip” Fondue Fountains.
Paul Schrader will be presented with the MVFF award, designed by celebrated artist Alice Corning.
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A CONVERSATION WITH SALLY HAWKINS by Zoë Elton “Did you like her?” Sally Hawkins asks, about Poppy, the perpetually upbeat teacher she plays in Mike Leigh’s HappyGo-Lucky. It’s as though we’re talking about a mutual acquaintance. And, essentially, we are. It’s a measure of Hawkins’ approach to acting that she seems to become one with the characters she portrays. She has a real affection for them, and her approach to playing them seems to tap as much into openheartedness as it does artistic craft and insight. In an interview from London, Hawkins spoke about her work in general and Poppy in particular, and discussed what it took to step into Poppy’s shoes (a particularly apt turn of phrase, given the recurring humor in the fi lm regarding Poppy’s insistence on wearing unsuitable highheeled boots to her driving lessons). Born in Lewisham in South East London, Sally Hawkins grew up in a creative household surrounded by the infl uence of her parents, who are children’s book writers and illustrators. “The way that they used words, and the way that they played with words…. I was fascinated by words and surrounded by books and images and artwork and color. I’m so grateful for that, it was so incredibly stimulating as a child.” She also had the benefi t of living near the vibrant cultural life of London’s West End, and her parents “made sure we were taken to the theater and exposed to different types of cultures.” An early experience of seeing Midsummer Night’s Dream at the National Theatre when she was about nine still resonates. “There was something about it. I still remember the actors, the choreography, some of the jokes—the visual jokes—some of the fairies.” Of the acting, she recalls, “You felt so special…and felt they were talking just to you.” Experiences like these perhaps gave her insigh later into how she would want to work. Hawkins also loved pantomime (the campy, kitschy British holiday tradition) and remembers “seeing Lionel Blair [actor, dancer, celebrity] at an early age, about three, and being equally enamored and charmed by that.” Between the Bard and pantos, she was hooked. “Something clicked in me when I saw people who could really perform and make
people laugh…and entertain people or tell a story. It’s so powerful.” The fi nal nudge came when she performed in school plays. “Something was fi red up in me,” Hawkins says, by “that buzz from a live audience.” She attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), England’s most prestigious drama school. While purists at such schools still tend to see theater as the gold standard for acting, Hawkins’ career has been striking in that it encompasses stage and screens both large and small. Contemplating these different strands of her work, Hawkins says of live theater, “It’s always surprising how, on such a big stage you can do very little, and if the focus is right and the thoughts are there, and the intention, someone in the back of the stalls [orchestra] or in the gods [top balcony] can still pick up on the tiniest of detail.” By contrast, she says, though fi lm acting is usually seen as requiring a very minimalist approach, sometimes the opposite is true. “What fascinates me about fi lm, and especially working with Mike [Leigh], is when he’ll push you to do more and to make it bigger, to see how much you can get away with.” Reality often bears this out, she adds. “And then you watch people in life, and you realize actually how big people are in life. People are always saying: If you saw that on fi lm, you’d never believe it.”
SPOTLIGHT: SALLY HAWKINS
STEPPING INTO OTHER PEOPLE’S SHOES
Each medium has its techniques and tones, says Hawkins, who fi nds a continual learning process in her work. She acts across genres as well; while she seems to have a strong connection with comedy, her credits are diverse, including adaptations of novels by Jane Austen and Sarah Waters, and the original work of directors Leigh and Woody Allen. Hawkins observes something in common among her different roles: “There is a defi nite through line in things and defi nite steps and similarities in characters.” Asked how she goes about creating a character, Hawkins says she sees it as an opportunity. “I feel it’s a gift, especially if there’s something I don’t quite understand about the character that I really hope by the end I do…. There’s probably a lesson to be learnt from her that can help part of me. In someone like Anne Elliot (Persuasion, 2007), I learnt such a lot from her—but I do with each character if I let myself—in the way that she’s so poised and held, but there’s a true grace about her, a pure intelligence, a real elegance. [Personally] I
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SPOTLIGHT: SALLY HAWKINS
find it quite hard to restrain: to keep feelings under tap like that. But one character does lead into to another.” Of Poppy, the role that has brought so much attention to Hawkins’ work, and for which she was awarded the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, Hawkins says, “Poppy has a grace as well. You really have to understand Poppy to see the real grace and wisdom. I think she’s incredible. I loved her ability to not be afraid, in the way that Anne was afraid. When I was doing Anne Elliot I called her the ultimate woman. And then speaking about Poppy, I think she’s the ultimate woman as well. I think there are things to learn from everyone. People are amazing. You want to step into their shoes and inhabit them as much as you can.” In an interview for The Independent a few years ago, Hawkins said, in response to a question about the preponderance of dark characters she’d been playing: “Bubbly and happy doesn’t tend to make for an interesting part.” Ironically, it is this bubbly, happy character that has audiences intrigued. Asked whether she had looked for another, perhaps darker side of Poppy, Hawkins responds that she’s been surprised by people’s reactions to Poppy because in creating her, she “never stopped to think how she would come across.” It’s another measure of how immersed she becomes in her work. “With every character, I try not to be objective about them until I’m on the other side. Until I’ve stepped out of their shoes again, and I’m talking like this in an interview. When I’m inhabiting them, I can’t do that—I’d fall apart.” Looking back at Poppy now, Hawkins notes, “She feels things incredibly deeply. It’s just her way of coping is to bounce along. But she does go to some dark places. It’s just she has an extraordinary way of coping, she doesn’t indulge them, she doesn’t indulge herself, she doesn’t wallow. I think it’s an extraordinary strength. I learned a lot from that. There’s a lot to be said for smiling through it and keeping going.” There are moments in the fi lm in which we see a completely different aspect of Poppy. At one point, she watches a bully in the schoolyard in silence, and that silence is striking. For much of the fi lm, we have seen her chattering away; in a silent moment, we see her insight. Hawkins notes, “It felt, for me anyway, that the moment was quite powerful. She is in the moment: She’s a lesson, especially for me, of seizing the moment, of living in the moment.”
In a climactic scene near the end of the fi lm, she confronts Scott (Eddie Marsan), her driving instructor, a damaged, tightly wound soul whose repressed crush on Poppy has permeated their interactions. The reality of the emotional choices her character faced then is evident in Hawkins’ description: “The last scene was incredibly hard on Poppy. It was diffi cult not to break down. It took all her strength not to cry in front of him. It was really hard to let him go; but that was the only thing she could do.” Happy-Go-Lucky marks Hawkins’ third collaboration with Mike Leigh; earlier fi lms are All or Nothing (2002) and Vera Drake (2004). This is just one of several recurring professional relationships. She appeared with actress Imelda Staunton in both Vera Drake and Fingersmith (2005). And Fingersmith is one of two Sarah Waters’ adaptations Hawkins has appeared in (the other was 2002’s Tipping the Velvet). Such overlap suggests Hawkins is great to work with, and she says of these experiences, “It’s lovely to work with people again, if you build up a rapport with them. It’s always a pleasure, when you get on with them. You create a shorthand—you know how they work, how they think, their quirks, the things you don’t have to get over; you’re beyond the getting-to-know-them stage.” With Mike Leigh, of course, the connections within his company contribute to the trust and profoundness of his work. “That’s why Mike keeps a rep company of people he works with. If you get on with people and you fi nd a strong bunch of people, it makes you stronger. Especially when you’re working a Mike Leigh fi lm; the sessions are so long you’re with people 24 hours a day.” The dedication, talent and heart that Hawkins brings to her work is astounding, particularly in projects she’s done with Leigh. Laurence Olivier once described the work that is given to an actor as teaching “the human heart the knowledge of itself.” Sally Hawkins does this, and it doesn’t come much better than that. Zoë Elton is director of programming for MVFF and an artist, writer and theater director.
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Shiny Shiny Bright New Hole in My Heart (2006) Fingersmith (2005) Layer Cake (2004)
Vera Drake (2004) Tipping the Velvet (TV) (2002) All or Nothing (2002)
Happy-Go-Lucky UK 2008 118 MINS Director Mike Leigh recalibrates his incisive exploration of working-class grit and grapple in this brightly colored character study of perhaps the happiest person in London. Meet Poppy (Sally Hawkins): a free-spirited, single, 30-year-old primary school teacher. Like a human rainbow, she is perpetually cheerful and good humored. A painful round of physical therapy can make her laugh; the theft of her beloved bicycle is met with a simple, “I didn’t get to say goodbye.” But not everyone responds to Poppy’s good cheer with equal appreciation, including her uptight driving instructor, Scott. Hawkins’ exceptional performance (winner of the Silver Bear award for Best Actress at the Berlinale) embodies all that is at once endearing and irritating in Poppy’s persona as she encounters a series of people and events that challenge even her unfathomable optimism, raising the question, Just how hard is it to be happy? —Joanne Parsont
SPOTLIGHT ON SALLY HAWKINS Tuesday, October 7, 6:30 pm Spotlight and Reception $75 SPOT07P Spotlight Only $25 SPOT07R
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center Reception to follow at Frantoio Ristorante Additional screening for Happy-Go-Lucky
Director/Screenwriter Mike Leigh Producer Simon Channing
Thursday, October 9, 9:30 pm
Williams Cinematographer Dick Pope Editor Jim Clark Cast Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Alexis Zegerman, Andrea Riseborough Print Source Miramax Films
SPOTLIGHT: SALLY HAWKINS
SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY Cassandra’s Dream (2007) Persuasion (TV) (2007) The Painted Veil (2006)
Join us for a Spotlight Tribute program, including a screening of the film, an interview with Sally Hawkins conducted by MVFF director of programming Zoë Elton, and a presentation of the MVFF award. Afterward, the evening will continue with a lovely dinner at Frantoio Ristorante & Olive Oil Co., one of our favorite places for a party. Wine will be provided by St. Clement.
Sally Hawkins will be presented with the MVFF award, designed by celebrated artist Alice Corning.
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congratulates the Mill Valley Film Festival and is proud to announce our upcoming film
NOVEMBER 26 08MVFF-SPADS-A2.indd 46
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Photo credit: Richard Peterson
TRIBUTE: HARRIET ANDERSSON
WHEN HARRIET MET INGMAR
Their filmmaking collaboration continued with Sawdust and
A CINEMATIC LOVE AFFAIR
Tinsel (released in the US as The Naked Night), A Lesson in
by Richard Peterson
Love, Dreams and Smiles of a Summer Night, the celebrated comedy of passion and jealousy that he wrote while their
What would turn out to be Harriet Andersson’s final meeting
romance was winding down. Throughout these early films
with Ingmar Bergman took place at the third annual Bergman
with Andersson, there is increasing eloquence in Bergman’s
Week in June 2006. Although held on Fårö, the remote Bal-
use of close-ups, a technique that would become one of his
tic island that was his home, Bergman Week could not guar-
trademarks. And Harriet Andersson, intuitive and sensual,
antee that its reclusive namesake would ever make an ap-
was fearless before the camera.
pearance. That year, to everyone’s delight, Bergman warmed to the occasion, and it’s likely that the guest of honor had
“Harriet’s genius is almost unidentifiable,” Bergman later
something to do with it.
declared. “The immediacy in her portrayals and the remarkable symbiosis between her and the camera is impossible
“It was fantastic,” Andersson recalled recently by phone
to describe in words…. There are things you didn’t notice
from Sweden, “because that was the last time he was
at the moment of filming but the camera captured them.” He
in good shape, and he went to almost everything.” Like
valued her as an actor whose approach was more physical
Bergman’s other close friends, Andersson hadn’t seen him
in years, although he often kept in touch through extended telephone conversations. Her next trip to Fårö would be for
When Bergman contacted her again in 1960 for the central
Bergman’s funeral the following year.
role of the schizophrenic young woman in Through a Glass Darkly, in which she would co-star with Bergman regulars
Harriet Andersson is humorous, spirited and down-to-earth,
Max von Sydow and Gunnar Björnstrand, she had been
a charming combination of vivacity and common sense.
married to a farmer and living away from the limelight. By
Judging from the laughter that frequently punctuates her
this time Bergman had begun his remarkable association
sentences, it’s clear she has great fun making movies. And
with cinematographer Sven Nykvist, who recommended that
although she has worked with other stage-and-screen artists
Bergman consider Fårö for the elemental location of the
in Scandinavia and abroad, she appreciates the fact that she
story. Widely regarded as the first film in Bergman’s “God
will always be associated with the films of Ingmar Bergman.
and Man” trilogy, it is both spiritually ambiguous and physically precise, and Andersson’s portrayal of Karin unfolds like
When they first met, Harriet Andersson was not quite 20
a dark and beautiful dance.
years old, a singer and dancer in musical revues with a string of small film roles to her credit. Ingmar Bergman was 14
In 1972, she co-starred with Liv Ullmann, Ingrid Thulin and
years older—and married—and was an accomplished theater
Kari Sylwan in Cries and Whispers, playing Agnes, the sister
director who had already made several films.
who is dying; in 1982 she was memorable as the miserable Justina in Fanny and Alexander; and in 1986 she gave an-
Most Swedish films were shot during the warmer months,
other powerful performance in Bergman’s television drama
due to actors’ availability as well as favorable weather, and in
The Blessed Ones, the first he produced using video tech-
1952 Bergman and Andersson made Summer With Monika,
nology. In an interview with Jan Lumholdt for her 2005 auto-
emerging from the experience with an intimate relationship
biography (co-authored by Lumholdt), Andersson delivered a
as well as a movie that would influence the future filmmakers
wry summation of her collaborations with Bergman following
of the French New Wave. The film also helped inspire the
their romantic breakup: “So first he made me a maid, then
international reputation Swedish film acquired for depicting
crazy, and then he killed me off a couple of times.”
casual eroticism; a greedy American distributor renamed it Monika, The Story of a Bad Girl.
When asked on the phone whether the intense atmosphere of Bergman’s stories could take its toll on an actor’s emo-
Andersson joined Malmö City Theatre when Bergman was
tions, she seems to shrug: “With Through a Glass Darkly
appointed its director, and he cast her in serious stage roles.
people asked how I could be happy in that part, but it was online
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While her performances appear instinctive and spontaneous, they grow from enormous discipline. “I don’t like to take many rehearsals for acting,” she says. “But I like technical rehearsals, because that’s very important. I say I’m about 50 percent for the technical things and 50 percent for the acting—I think that’s film for me. You can’t just stand there being a big actress and not take care of the other fellows working the films. For the lighting, for the camera and all this, you are a team, you are working together, and that’s what I like so much.” Over the years, Andersson has worked with many other filmmakers, including Mai Zetterling in Sweden, the American director Sidney Lumet, Denmark’s Lars von Trier and Jörn Donner, the Finnish Swedish filmmaker and politician with whom she lived for nine years. One of Donner’s films won her the best actress award at the Venice Film Festival. She also continued to work on stage, including a long tenure at Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre (but not at the time Bergman was running it). She continues to work in film and television, but doesn’t worry about starring roles. On the phone she observes, “You know, I’m not sitting and thinking about what I’ve done. I’m not like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, looking at the films, going ‘Oh look at her, now look at her,’ because I must say I know what I have done. Also I don’t want to think too much about the future. I want to be today. Now. That’s the best.”
Apparently Bergman disagreed with her self-evaluation. During the 2006 program on Fårö, Andersson was being interviewed on stage by Bergman Week’s Jannike Åhlund, when a formidable voice started to interject comments and corrections from the front row. “I’ve always wondered,” Bergman asked, “An actress with your talent, why didn’t you do more theater? What have you got against the theater?” “I’m scared,” she repeated several times, but it was an answer he refused to hear. She added: “But now it’s like this, Ingmar, I have a very nice circle of acquaintances and good friends—I don’t socialize much with actors—and we cook and drink wine and have fun together. I wouldn’t want to work nights at all.” Bergman took a prosecutor’s stance as he addressed the audience: “A great Swedish actress doesn’t want to act in the theater because she wants to be free in the evenings! I think that’s good, that’s a good explanation. I thank you very much for that. And we have witnesses to this!” Retreating a bit, Bergman later added: “Yes, but you are missed! I would have liked to work with you more in the theater because that would have been great fun.” When Jannike Åhlund asked Harriet Andersson how she felt being grouped with several colleagues and known as “Bergman’s women,” she replied: “That doesn’t bother me at all, except when they call us ‘Bergman’s stable.’ That I don’t like, because we aren’t horses. We’re women who walk on two feet. A fine collection, Bergman’s women!” Special thanks to Bergman Week for transcript excerpts.
TRIBUTE: HARRIET ANDERSSON
the best thing for me, and I’ve never been so happy in my life, to be in the studio and also at Fårö…. Before and between takes, you can’t go and be ohhhhh-feeling the whole time,” she says. “You have to relax a little. And we did. Bergman too. On Cries and Whispers he’d tell dirty stories, and everyone was falling down laughing, and then (clapping her hands like a ballet master) suddenly everyone was very concentrated and we were working again. That’s the best way to work…. I mean, you die in the studio, then you go home and you are alive,” she adds, sounding very sensible.
Richard Peterson is director of programming for the Smith Rafael Film Center at the California Film Institute.
Andersson’s enjoyment of film and television work doesn’t extend to the theater. “I’ve never been nervous with a camera,” she says, “but I got so nervous before a performance in the theater. I need a camera to show my face a little more, because I am a little shy on the big stage. In film and television I have my friends on the crew, and then I feel safe.”
49 tickets 877.874.6833
9/18/08 6:19:09 AM
TRIBUTE: HARRIET ANDERSSON
SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY Dogville (2003) Gossip (2000) Summer Nights (1987) Fanny and Alexander (1982)
Cries and Whispers (1972) The Girls (1968) The Deadly Affair (1966) Loving Couples (1964) A Sunday in September (1963)
Through a Glass Darkly (1961) Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) A Lesson in Love (1954) Sawdust and Tinsel (1953) Summer With Monika (1952)
Through a Glass Darkly (Såsom i en spegel ) Sweden 1961 91 MINS
TRIBUTE TO HARRIET ANDERSSON Friday, October 10, 7:00 pm
Tribute and Reception $60 TRIB10P Tribute Only $25 TRIB10R Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center Reception to follow at the Outdoor Art Club. Harriet Andersson will participate in an onstage conversation with Smith Rafael Film Center director of programming Richard Peterson about her career, with film clips from her work with Ingmar Bergman and others. After the interview there will be a screening of the film Through a Glass Darkly. Following the Tribute program, join us for an elegant dinner reception at the Outdoor Art Club.
Harriet Andersson is extraordinary in Ingmar Bergman’s Oscar-winning drama about a young woman who is overwhelmed by mental illness, even while she is embraced by the love of her family. Karin enjoys a summer holiday with her husband, father (Bergman regulars Max von Sydow and Gunnar Björnstrand) and younger brother (Lars Passgård), but the warm weather, perpetual daylight and close companionship are progressively overshadowed by recurrent schizophrenic episodes. As she begins to believe inner voices are summoning her to an encounter with God, the three men grapple with guilt and their powerlessness to save her. Filming for the first time on Fårö, the remote Baltic island that would later become his permanent home, Bergman and cinematographer Sven Nykvist create a world both sunlit and austere. Crowned by Andersson’s soulful, elemental performance, this film masterpiece is as delicate and precise as a beautiful crystal or a spider’s web. —Richard Peterson Director/Screenwriter Ingmar Bergman Producer Allan Ekelund Cinematographer Sven Nykvist Editor Ulla Ryghe Cast Harriet Andersson, Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Lars Passgård Print Source Swedish Institute/ Janus Films
With support from
Harriet Andersson will be presented with the MVFF award, designed by celebrated artist Alice Corning.
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Photo credit: Karl Heinz Hernried
INGMAR BERGMAN EXHIBIT
INGMAR BERGMAN: THE MAN WHO ASKED HARD QUESTIONS MULTIMEDIA INSTALLATION October 11–19
Weekdays 6:00–9:00 pm Weekends 2:00–9:00 pm Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center Free Admission Ingmar Bergman: The Man Who Asked Hard Questions is a multimedia installation offering visitors the opportunity to encounter the multifaceted universe of one of the world’s great filmmakers, who for six decades explored universal religious, moral and existential questions in film masterpieces such as The Seventh Seal, Through a Glass Darkly, Persona, Cries and Whispers and Fanny and Alexander. The installation was inspired in design by the island of Fårö, Bergman’s haven for much of his life. Suspended from a stylized tree at its center, multiple film projections offer dramatic scenes and documentary footage reflecting the life and work of this great artist, who died in 2007. The installation’s name is borrowed from the title of Woody Allen’s memorial tribute to the filmmaker he admired above all others.
will be accompanied by an extensive retrospective of Bergman’s films, several of them featuring Harriet Andersson. Following the Festival’s presentation of a new print of Through a Glass Darkly as part of the Harriet Andersson Tribute, the Rafael’s series, which will begin Monday, October 13, will include a newly restored print of Sawdust and Tinsel (personally presented by Harriet Andersson along with rare behind-the-scenes footage that premiered this year at Cannes); Bergman Island, a recent and incisive documentary containing one of Bergman’s final interviews; and the first West Coast screenings of the complete and uncut Fanny and Alexander, running over five hours and presented in two parts. Created by the Swedish Institute, Stockholm, Ingmar Bergman: The Man Who Asked Hard Questions is presented with the support of the Swedish Institute; the Embassy of Sweden; the Consulate General of Sweden, San Francisco; and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, in cooperation with the Ingmar Bergman Foundation.
Premiering in association with the Mill Valley Film Festival’s Tribute to Harriet Andersson on Friday, October 10, the installation will remain on view at the Smith Rafael Film Center through Sunday, October 19, and
Exhibit photos courtesy of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
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TRIBUTE: ERIC ROTH
GO WITH THE FLOW THE VISUAL SENSE OF ERIC ROTH by Joshua Moore “You need to be literate, see a lot of movies, have a visual sense,” Eric Roth says simply, describing the traits of a good writer in a recent interview at UCLA’s Festival of New Creative Work. It’s this “visual sense” that has served Roth well in his screenwriting career as time and again he has successfully transcribed the written word into a flowing visual narrative. With an Oscar and two Academy Award nominations for best adapted screenplay under his belt, Roth speaks with some authority. Back at his alma mater to receive an award for distinguished achievement in screenwriting, Roth described his work and career with characteristic understatment as “sort of a long road.” Born in New York, Roth attended UCLA’s distinguished film school in the 70s (alongside The Doors’ Jim Morrison), and won the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award during his studies. His first produced screenplay, The Nickel Ride, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975, and he followed this success with screenplays for Suspect (1987) and the Mike Figgis romantic drama Mr. Jones (1993). But it was Roth’s Oscar-winning screenplay for Forrest Gump (1994), containing some of the most memorable and most quoted dialogue in film, that placed him in the spotlight. In Gump, Roth masterfully captures turbulent times in 20th-century American history, from segregation to the civil rights movement to the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, in a uniquely humorous manner, through the eyes of a simple man living in a complicated era. American history hasn’t looked the same since. On a typical day, Roth writes from 8:30 in the morning to 1:00 in the afternoon, returning to the keyboard again in the evening. And he always begins a project at page one. This disciplined craftsman’s approach has contributed to his success with one of the most challenging and complex projects a screenwriter can face: the adaptation. In addition to Gump, Roth has written adaptations for the post-apocalyptic Kevin Costner–directed drama, The Postman (1997), and the emotionally powerful The Horse Whisperer (1998), directed by and starring Robert Redford.
Roth excels at using the specifics of emotion and place to create seamless transitions from page to screen. Of his particular abilities as a writer, he says, “I can remember things pretty well from a long time ago, what the sense of things were, the weather…. I really have sort of a freaky memory.” Roth received an Academy nomination with his script for The Insider (1999), a fictional retelling of the attempt by 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman to air research biologist and whistle blower Jeffrey Wigand’s account of the tobacco industry’s deliberate efforts to increase the addictiveness of cigarettes, despite warnings that the product was harmful. Directed by Michael Mann and brilliantly performed by Russell Crowe and Al Pacino, The Insider is an example of dramatized exposé not seen since All the President’s Men and Network. Roth demonstrated a knack for constructing dramatic stories from highly detailed nonfiction material that captures the viewer from the get go, and never misses a beat. He next worked with Michael Mann again on the epic biopic Ali (2001), and with Steven Spielberg and co-writer Tony Kushner on Munich (2005), the harrowing depiction of the real life events following the kidnapping of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Immediately controversial for its neutral stance on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the deft script and numerous heart-stopping images unapologetically capture the absurdity of the violence begat by violence, and redefined the genre of revenge-based cinematic stories. Munich gave Roth another Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay in 2005. He next found inspiration in the darkly clouded history of the Central Intelligence Agency in The Good Shepherd, a tale of espionage, power and deceit that, much like Forrest Gump, plays the effects of American history out through one man’s life—only this time, that life is destroyed. Roth’s most recent project be may his most ambitious yet, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, about a man who mysteriously ages backwards. The film is directed by David Fincher and stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle and Flow).
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Joshua Moore is the assistant programmer for the Mill Valley Film Festival, an independent fi lmmaker and an alumnus of San Francisco State University.
SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) The Good Shepherd (2006) Munich (2005) Ali (2001) The Insider (1999) The Horse Whisperer (1998) The Postman (1997) Forrest Gump (1994) Suspect (1987)
TRIBUTE TO ERIC ROTH
TRIBUTE: ERIC ROTH
With the same down-to-earth view of his talent and skills, Roth summarizes his job. “It’s satisfying when you have something that works for people, where an audience is either rapt or moved or laughing; but there are other times that you grimace because you missed.” It’s a craftsman’s prerogative to criticize his work, but as far as his audiences are concerned, Eric Roth’s got it down.
Saturday, October 11, 4:30 pm
Tribute and Party $60 TRIB11P Tribute Only $25 TRIB11R Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center Reception to follow at the Outdoor Art Club. MVFF’s Tribute to Eric Roth opens with clips from his career, followed by an onstage interview. Next comes a special viewing of clips from his latest film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Finally, Benjamin Button co-star Taraji P. Henson joins Roth onstage to discuss their new film and engage in a Q-andA with the audience. After the Tribute, join us for a sumptuous dinner reception catered by All Seasons Catering, with wines from Arrowood Vineyards & Winery and desserts from “Take A Dip” Fondue Fountains.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Eric Roth will be presented with the MVFF award, designed by celebrated artist Alice Corning.
55 tickets 877.874.6833
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CLOSING NIGHT TRIBUTE: ALFRE WOODARD
TRUE HONESTY A PORTRAIT OF ALFRE WOODARD by Sura Wood An unconventional woman who’s the salt of the earth, possessing integrity and a sober emotional intelligence; someone you’d want for your best girlfriend or your mom. This is Alfre Woodard’s persona. Her luminous large eyes refl ect a deep reservoir of compassion, yet she can summon the toughness to confront adversity, even when down and seemingly damaged beyond repair. It comes as no surprise, then, that Woodard often embodies a woman to be reckoned with. And then there’s the whiskey-and-cigarettes voice, the fragrant South fl oating through it. In a conversation with Woodard’s long-time publicist, Melody Korenbrot, about the core asset of this extraordinary actress’ eclectic career, Korenbrot says emphatically, without missing a beat: “Honesty, true honesty. That’s the word I’d use for her. It’s that honesty onscreen. Even though I’ve known her so long, when I watch her onscreen, I don’t know her any more—she becomes that person.” Woodard’s formidable presence continues to be her calling card in a career spanning three decades, with performances in indies great and small as well as a host of acclaimed television roles. A native of Oklahoma, Woodard put aside cheerleading and track to pursue acting, and studied drama at Boston University before making her fi lm debut in Alan Rudolph’s Remember My Name, starring Jeff Goldblum. A steady stream of parts has followed, in fi lms such as Martin Ritt’s Cross Creek, for which she received an Oscar nomination; Grand Canyon; Crooklyn; Star Trek: First Contact (hardcore Trekkies will recall that she was Lily Sloane, Zefram Cochrane’s assistant); and big studio movies including Primal Fear, The Core and The Singing Detective. It’s an impressive range, and Korenbrot remarks, “She can go between the two worlds—something that’s mainstream, independent, or she can make you think, make you fall in love with her.” For audiences, the actress’ reach is intriguing. “She’s unpredictable, and that’s what makes her exciting to watch. It comes back to the same thing: It’s the honesty.” Woodard’s memorable turn as the recovering cocaine addict Chantelle, a conflicted nurse caring for a paralyzed alcoholic
in John Sayles’ Passion Fish, is the role that put her on the map with movie audiences. Five years later, Woodard’s standout performance in HBO’s highly praised Miss Evers’ Boys won her an Emmy for best actress as well as a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild and a cable Ace award. As the central character in this tragic docudrama, Woodard’s Nurse Evers attempts to console the black men used as test subjects and allowed to die despite the availability of a cure, in the US government’s notorious Tuskeegee syphilis experiments. Other remarkable performances include her work in The Piano Lesson, for TV; Mandela; and Down in the Delta. Maya Angelou directed Down in the Delta, in which Woodard played an alcoholic single mother from Chicago forced to spend a summer with her uncle in Mississippi. “There are so many roles from all screens—you never know what to expect from Alfre and that’s what is special about her,” Korenbrot says, and adds: “She’s also very funny—and people don’t see that.” A versatile fi lm and stage actress, Woodard has also racked up an impressive list of credits on television. The four-time Emmy winner has had recurring roles and numerous guest appearances on prestigious dramas such as Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, Homicide: Life on the Street and two David E. Kelley vehicles, The Practice and the pilot for L.A. Law, in which she played a rape victim. Audiences may know her best for her work on Desperate Housewives (2005– 2006), where she was the mysterious Betty Applewhite, a rather sinister addition to Wisteria Lane. These outstanding performances have made Woodard the African American actress with the most prime-time Emmys on her mantle. Woodard shines at this year’s MVFF in the pivotal role of Alma, the strong-willed, protective mother at the heart of Tim Disney’s American Violet (see page 78), a potent legal drama based on a true story of corruption in the Texas judicial system. In the film, Alma’s daughter, Dee, portrayed by remarkable newcomer Nicole Behaire, is a struggling single mother who fights a wrongful arrest on drug charges. When the groundbreaking case becomes part of a larger campaign to expose a powerful, racist DA, Alma becomes Dee’s sole support as she is overtaken by events beyond her control. A long-time democrat, political activist and avid Obama supporter, Woodard recently attended the Democratic National Convention. She has a long-term relationship with
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SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY American Violet (2008) The Family That Preys (2008) Take the Lead (2006) Desperate Housewives (TV) (2005–2006) Radio (2003) K-PAX (2001) Love & Basketball (2000) Mumford (1999)
This fall fi nds Woodard as busy as ever. In her latest fi lm, Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys, she’s cast as a highminded working-class woman opposite Kathy Bates, and she’s on board with the NBC series My Own Worst Enemy, starring Christian Slater. At a time in which rich roles for women and for African American women in particular are still few, Alfre Woodard has thrived.
Down in the Delta (1998) Miss Evers’ Boys (TV) (1997) Follow Me Home (1996) Primal Fear (1996) Star Trek: First Contact (1996) How to Make an American Quilt (1995) The Piano Lesson (TV) (1995) Crooklyn (1994) Bopha! (1993)
Passion Fish (1992) Grand Canyon (1991) Miss Firecracker (1989) Scrooged (1988) St. Elsewhere (TV) (1985–1987) Mandela (TV) (1987) L.A. Law (1986) Cross Creek (1984)
TRIBUTE TO ALFRE WOODARD Sunday, October 12, 5:00 pm Tribute and Party $70 TRIB12P Tribute Only $25 TRIB12R Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center Please join us for the Tribute program featuring career clips, an interview with Alfre Woodard and a screening of American Violet. See page 23 for the fi lm description. CLOSING NIGHT PARTY Sunday, October 12 Boarding 8:00 pm, Sailing 9:00 pm California Hornblower Ferry Dock, 1 Anchor St., Sausalito After the Tribute to Alfre Woodard or the screening of Lemon Tree, join us on the California Hornblower in Sausalito for our Closing Night party and moonlight cruise. Thanks to the Hornblower’s chefs and to A Frosting Bakeshop and “Take a Dip” Fondue Fountains.
Alfre Woodard will be presented with the MVFF award, designed by celebrated artist Alice Corning.
CLOSING NIGHT TRIBUTE: ALFRE WOODARD
South Africa, rooted in her work there in the fi lms Mandela (in which she played Winnie Mandela) and Bopha! A friend of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, she’s also a founder and board member of Artists for a New South Africa, which led to her appearance in another Festival fi lm, The Road to Ingwavuma (see page 101). Narrated by Deborah Santana, this insightful documentary by awardwinning fi lmmaker Barbara Rick follows a delegation of stage, screen and musical artists and their families on a journey through postapartheid South Africa.
59 tickets 877.874.6833
9/18/08 6:20:37 AM
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