Rafael 1
Rafael 2
Rafael 3
Sequoia 1
Sequoia 2
Throckmorton Theatre
Lark Theatre
Sweetwater Music Hall
11:00 AM (122 min)
Shana: The Wolf's Music
Once Shana (Sunshine O’Donovan) played violin side by side with her mother, joyfully accompanying the Wolf Clan’s ceremonies and celebrations. But with her mom’s passing, the magic disappears from her life. Then one day, as she plays her violin under the ancestor tree, Shana senses the presence of the wolf, drawn by her music. That music, her teacher’s belief in her gift and its link to a rich and sacred First Nations legacy, and the wolf’s guidance break down Shana’s walls, sending her on a vision quest and offering her a chance for a brighter future. Italian-Swiss writer/director Nino Jacusso traveled to Canada to make this tender coming-of age drama that is populated by a cast that includes many of The People of the Creeks from Merritt, British Columbia, and graced by an evocative soundscape that emphasizes not just Shana’s music, but her connection to the natural world. Ages 10+
1:45 PM (119 min)
Dogtown Redemption
We’ve all woken up to the late-night clanking of bottles and cans while a stranger rummages through our recycling. Once we drift back to sleep, these mysterious men and women continue their long journey toward survival. Dogtown Redemption captures the fascinating faces and sturdy souls of Oakland recyclers, including a former punk rocker and a misplaced minister, who often cover over 10 miles of city streets as they haul hundreds of pounds of recyclables for a modest payout. By focusing on the dramatic personal plights of these hardworking individuals, the film also raises intriguing questions about the socioeconomic reality of West Oakland. For example, does a for-profit recycling center in the heart of a low-income area help or hurt the community? Are these recyclers empowered or exploited? Filmmakers Amir Soltani and Chihiro Wimbush combine intimate interviews and powerful all-access footage to craft an intensely honest, and sometimes hopeful, portrait of society’s forgotten
4:45 PM (119 min)
Where is home? It’s the burning question at the heart of every immigrant story. For Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), the solo journey from Ireland to America is both a search for home and for self. Young, smart, and industrious, Eilis is also humble, tentative, and homesick. On her own in 1950s New York, having left her mother and sister Rose behind, she struggles with conflicting feelings of hope and lossthe intoxicating possibilities of her new world versus the familial comfort of the old. Inevitably, young men and romance factor into the equation, but Eilis’s choices are, ultimately, hers to make. With extraordinary subtlety, Ronan radiates exquisitely from scene to scene, conveying every nuance of emotion Eilis must endure. Written by Nick Hornby from Colm Tóibín’s bestselling novel, Brooklyn is a masterful work of storytelling that transcends the traditional tale of the poor immigrant making it in the big city. This is life, pure and profound.
7:30 PM (139 min)
Miss You Already
A dozen years after bursting on the scene with the award-winning Thirteen (2003), an indelible portrait of the tight connection between teenage girls, director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, 2008) returns with another insightful portrait of female bonding, perhaps the most honest portrayal of the highs, lows, and heartaches of enduring friendship since Beaches (1988). Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette head up an all-star cast as Jess and Milly, best friends since meeting at London primary schoolbonding over everything from first kisses and concerts to a shared love of Wuthering Heights. Decades on, their relationship hits a rough patch as Jess struggles to start a family with her blue-collar love, Jago (Paddy Considine), while a troubling diagnosis disrupts Milly’s happy home life with dreamboat Kit (Dominic Cooper). A rocking soundtrack (including a Joan Jett original), coupled with Hardwicke’s intimate style results in a poignant, often comical jo
11:30 AM (126 min)
Cinema: A Public Affair
Last year, when Russia’s Ministry of Culture removed Naum Kleiman as founding director of the Moscow Cinema Museum, the global outcry was swift and genuine. Under Kleiman’s legendary leadership, Moscow’s cinematheque was a vital, longtime center of cultural and intellectual life. But his internationalist vision, which projected cinema as a civic art form capable of “turning people into citizens,” had been adrift in Putin’s Russia. By 2005, the museum was operating in internal exile, its vast collection in storage. Tatiana Brandrup’s passionate documentary makes canny use of excerpts from the films of Sergei Eisenstein and others to trace Russian cinema’s historic opposition to tyranny. Meanwhile she reveals Kleiman, a foremost expert on Eisenstein, as a resolute man whose calm, measured tone amid the political machinations around him belies a fierce moral convictionechoed by his loyal staff and othersthat art must play a role in resisting the reactionary nationalism
2:15 PM (132 min)
Dirty Wolves (Lobos sucios)
Under ancient yew trees in the Nazi-controlled tungsten mines of northwest Spain, a single mother decides to fight someone else’s warand ends up risking everything. Known mockingly as “The Widow,” Manuela was abandoned by her baby’s father and now works processing the wolfram (aka tungsten) that the Germans will use to tear through Allied flesh. But it turns out there is more than just the wolf of poverty to keep from the door as Manuela comes to realize thatunlike her countryshe cannot remain neutral in a time of war. In a thrilling first feature inspired by actual events, director Simón Casal de Miguel imbues the unrelenting grayness of the Galician countryside with a mysticism as old as the twisting yews and howling wolves that roam beneath them. And in Marian Álvarez’s steely, nuanced Manuela, along with the terrific supporting cast, he has mined rich and subtle talent.
5:30 PM (127 min)
Journey to Rome (Cesta do Ríma)
Temptation never looked so enticing. When a provocative redhead solicits a favor from perpetual underachiever Vasek, she sets him on a train trip that's equal parts art heist, chase movie, and freewheeling meditation on life's mysteries. So begins director Tomasz Mielnik's deadpan deconstruction of faith, tongue firmly planted in cheek as he explores how divining saint from sinner isn't so easy. Departing the Czech Republic incognito, Italy-bound Vasek finds communion with clergy and skeptics, each with wry observations on the nature of belief, and encounters demons dressed as bureaucrats, an entrepreneur who turns water into wine, and a Buddhist enlightenment orgy. With inspirations ranging from Dante to George Gershwin, Mielnik invokes playful surrealism, kitschy cinematic flourishes, and visual tableaus that would make Luis Buñuel proud. The result is a whimsical journey with hellscapes aplenty, but perhaps a miracle or two along the wayall in search of a naïve state of gr
8:30 PM (99 min)
After 20-somethings Pedro (Fernando Bolaños) and Lucia (Kattia González) meet cute on the stairs of a costume partyhe’s in a bear suit; she’s in schoolgirl overallsthe twosome spend the night together. The next morning, they impulsively decide to go on a camping trip; since he’s heading out to work at a remote biological research facility and she’s leaving the country, this may be the last chance they have to get to know each other. Filmmaker Paz Fábrega’s romantic character study is like a Costa Rican Before Sunrise: The longer this couple muses about their dreams, desires, and how much this chance encounter has dinged their emotional defense systems, the downright sexier this film gets. Between its gorgeous black-and-white cinematography and the leads’ breezy chemistry, this modest little gem of a movie packs more beauty, melancholy, and body heat into its 70-minute running time than most films twice its length.
12:30 PM (109 min)
We Did It on a Song (Chante ton Bac d'abord)
The coastal town of Boulogne-sur-Mer in Northern France serves as the backdrop for this refreshingly unique hybrid documentary-musical following the stories of five working-class kids, told and sung in their own words. Gaëlle, the primary narrator of the film introduces us to her tight-knit band of dreamers and rebels: Nico, the “Serge Ginsbourgian” poet with a pet duck; Rachel, the actress whose parents encourage her unconventional dreams; Alex, the class musician and comedian; and Caroline, who cannot articulate what her ambitions are, except to pass the bac (exam). Director David André follows the teens through their final year of high school, as they struggle with the conflicting pressures of living in a dying town while trying to pursue their dreams. “No one is serious at 17,” wrote the poet Rimbaud, but this earnest and loving portrait challenges that notion through the beautiful voices of the kids themselves.
3:30 PM (91 min)
5@5 Little By Little
"I don't know where to turn, don't know what to do. I'm walking on thin ice." Kids—some criminal, others merely resourceful—face a variety of hurdles in these captivating shorts. A high school underground cheating network risks exposure by its own school paper in Nick Weiss-Richmond and Rachel Cole's Big Cheat (US 2014, 16 min). A young African boy has his hands full trying to make ends meet for his family in Richard Card's vibrant Zawadi (Kenya/US 2014, 13 min). A children's birthday party is the source of sinister doings in David A. Bornstein's tragicomic A King's Betrayal (US 2014, 9 min). The apprentice to a desperate door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman decides to call on an unusual customer far off their normal route in Kate Marks's mystical Miracle Maker (US 2014, 13 min). And a pre-teen Bonnie and Clyde go on a very stylish crime spree in Fidel Ruiz-Healy's love letter to '60s cinema, A Band of Thieves (US 2015, 14 min).
6:30 PM (119 min)
Alias Maria (Alias Maria)
Child soldiers risk their lives to ferry their commander’s newborn baby to safety in director José Luis Rugeles’ tense drama. The children are part of a band of leftist guerrillas battling right-wing paramilitaries in the Colombian jungle. Thirteen-year-old Maria; her boyfriend, Mauricio; Afro-Colombian Byron; and Yuldor, a scrawny preteen, face constant danger in trying to protect an infant whose very cries could alert the enemy to their presence. The pressure on Maria is even greater as she tries to hide her own pregnancy from her comrades. In her screen debut, Karen Torres makes palpable Maria's terror, tenderness, and determination, while Rugeles’ camera captures both the claustrophobia and lush beauty of the jungle. No mere war drama, Rugeles and writer Diego Vivanco made Alias Maria to draw attention to the plight of the thousands of childrenaccording to Human Rights Watchrecruited to fight in Colombia’s decades-long civil strife.
9:30 PM (95 min)
5@5 Windmills of Your Mind
"Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel." Time and reality are fractured with lives changed and perceptions altered in these memorable shorts. A mother in a housing project has a date with destiny when two soldiers come to call on her in Moon Molson's powerful The Bravest, the Boldest(US 2014, 16 min). Ollie Verschoyle’s examination of interconnectedness takes a riff on Proust in his sweetly mysterious Madeleine(UK/US 2015, 10 min). A grocery store trip is an exercise in empathy for an elderly couple in Lee Briggs' Baby (US 2014, 7 min). Early morning can be the best time for ruminations on God and produce in Jonathan Patch's funny and observant Deep Breakfast (US 2015, 7 min). And a man is caught in an insidious time loop from which he must escape or die trying in Tali Barde's inventive DOT (Germany 2014, 27 min).
11:45 AM (89 min)
A Dozen Summers
Twelve-year-old Leicester twins Daisy and Maisie McCormack take advantage of an opportunity to make a movie about their lives, bringing the “crazy” people they knowparents, friends (and enemies), teachers, and even the local shopkeeperalong for the ride. There’s drama (and plenty of laughs) in the smallest matter for these girls, but their sometimes silly yet wise dad keeps them safely grounded through victory and adversity. Whether it’s a bike chase with bullies in pursuit, navigating their way through a series of their mum’s baffling boyfriends, or imagining themselves at the center of a heist, Maisie and Daisy face every challenge with wry pre-teen bemusement. Director, screenwriter, co-producer, and co-editor Kenton Hall audaciously casts himself alongside his daughters, Scarlet and Hero, but this inventive family film is no vanity project. The McCormacks emanate heartfelt affection, which enables comedic turns, mutual bewilderment, understanding, and emotional
2:45 PM (111 min)
Number One Fan (Elle L'Adore)
French pop star Vincent Lacroix (Laurent Lafitte) knows just where to turn when a heated domestic dispute leads to an accidental death and a body in need of disposalhis number one fan, Muriel (Sandrine Kiberlain). Known for spinning engaging, complex and totally fabricated tales, the recently divorced beautician’s life changes forever when she finds her favorite crooner standing outside her apartment, head in hand. Committed to helping her idol out of a jam, she goes along with his seemingly foolproof plan, but there’s no such thing as the perfect crime. Featuring a spectacular performance by the always reliable Kiberlain, the film is a clever thriller that plays like a Gallic Gone Girl, with plenty of well-executed twists and turns. Number One Fan was nominated for two César Awards: Best Actress for Kiberlain and Best First Film for writer/director Jeanne Herry, daughter of famed actress Miou-Miou and singer Julien Leclerc.
5:30 PM (92 min)
Open Your Eyes
They have not seen each other clearly in years. Their ability to contribute to the family farm is very limited. They want more. Adorable Manisara and her husband Durga are Nepalese elders, both blinded over time by cataracts. Outreach healthcare workers identify them as prime candidates for Seva Foundation’s monthly free eye surgery clinic. Their journey is shot up close and intimate as the elders experience loving attention on their long trip on foot and during pre-op anxiety at the clinic. In one day, their eye doctor and her team do fifty plus cataract removals and interocular lens replacements. A day after the six-minute operation, the bandages are removed. It’s an emotional moment for Manisara and Durga. Witness this everyday miracle, renewing the vision and possibility of entire communities.
8:15 PM (117 min)
A Light Beneath Their Feet
In the last few months of high school, college-bound Beth contends with the typical rites of passagedeciding on a school, finding a date to the prom, managing peer pressure from the mean girls, and questioning an uncertain future. As an intelligent and mature young woman, Beth longs for her independence, but is torn between the prospects of her dream school, UCLA, or sticking closer to home at Northwestern to care for her mother, Gloria (Taryn Manning of Orange is the New Black), who is struggling to stabilize her bipolar disorder. Set to a broody but wistful indie-rock soundtrack, this coming-of-age drama sets itself apart in its bold exploration of mental illness and its effect on the family as well as the afflicted. Director Valerie Weiss assuredly elicits strong performances from the entire cast, including the young lead, Madison Davenport, and Taryn Manning. whose performance firmly establishes her as one of the rising stars of her generation.
11:00 AM (111 min)
Havana Motor Club
Declared an elitist pursuit after the revolution, auto racing in Cuba survives as a clandestine, cop-dodging activity on remote streets and highways. Drivers endlessly tweak the souped-up, tuned-up engines in their 1950s US hotrods, dreaming of the day their underground sport is sanctioned again by the authorities. This vibrant, street-level documentary follows a handful of obsessed grease monkeys through the course of the Cuban Motor Federation’s stop-and-go exertions to stage an organized drag-racing event. The top competitors setting enginesand heartsracing are Reinaldo “Tito” Lopez Fernandez, the fierce gray-haired patriarch whose son drives their classic red-and-white 1955 Chevy Bel Air, and Carlos Alvarez Sanchez, blessed with Clooney-esque looks and a Cuban-American partner who flies in parts for their late-model red Porsche. To overcome the myriad bumps in the road, they and their fellow enthusiasts rely on a uniquely Cuban mix of determination, sacrifice, a
1:45 PM (133 min)
The Girl King
Mika Kaurismäki’s (Road North, MVFF 2012; Sonic Mirror, MVFF 2008) handsome 17th-century drama recounts the life of Sweden’s Queen Kristina, a philosophically minded woman centuries ahead of her time who ascended the throne at age six, was raised as a prince, and strived to bring peace and education to her countrywhile pursuing an illicit romance with her royal attendant. Growing up as a tomboy with a strong intellectual appetite for Descartes, young Kristina (an electric Malin Buska) finds herself thrown into a political frenzy as a teenager. Saddled with the Thirty Years War between Protestants and Catholics, Kristina steers her country away from the conservatives while privately grappling with her own sexual awakening, in the form of Countess Ebba Sparre (radiant Sarah Gadon), her lovely lady-in-waiting. For this lush portrait of European history’s most iconic monarch, Kaurismäki assembled an impressive, international cast, including Michael Nyqvist, Hippolyt
4:45 PM (88 min)
The Girl in the Book
After an enticing mentorship with a close family friend brings young Alice Harvey (Ana Mulvoy-Ten) into a questionable relationship with renowned older writer Milan Daneker (a compelling Michael Nykvist The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest), the residual effects haunt her 15 years later. The impending reissue of the seminal novel Milan based on her life forces Alicenow an assistant editorto reconnect with the man who stifled her own writing and continues to exert a corrosive influence on her life. Emily VanCamp (Brothers & Sisters) delivers a nuanced, empathetic performance as the 29-year-old Alice, who sees her writer’s block and self-sabotaging behavior in a new light through the prism of this disconcerting reunion. A stunning and perceptive debut film from Marya Cohn, The Girl in the Book compassionately explores the overlooked manifestations of abusive relationships and the struggle to rediscover one’s own creative voice.
8:00 PM (102 min)
Sexual repression and supernatural entities make uneasy bedfellows for Constance Barton (Jena Malone) in this playfully twisted period drama. It’s not that Constance doesn’t want to make love with her husband Joseph (Ed Stoppard); it’s that she’s been forbidden to after the difficult birth of their daughter, Angelica. Overwrought by this enforced physical separation, the young mother sees nightmarish visions taking shape in the house and threatening her and the child, so she turns to a formidable spirit hunter named Mrs. Montague (Janet McTeer, who steals every scene she’s in) for assistance. Based on the novel by Arthur Phillips, Lichtenstein’s film revels in the psychosexual turmoil of its heroine while making pointed references about the predicaments of women in the Victorian age. With ravishing art direction and a careful balance of chills and dramatic suspense, Angelica is a haunting tale of unfed appetites and the damage they can wreak.
11:00 AM (90 min)
Panel - Give Us a Break!
How do you find opportunity in the film industry? Is there such a thing as a “lucky break”? These accomplished panelists will share their experiences and discuss the perennial question: How do we make and sustain viable careers in film?
2:00 PM (84 min)
A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone
Meet Edythe Boone, one of the seven women artists commissioned in 1994 to cover San Francisco’s historic Women’s Building with a massive, iconic mural entitled MaestraPeace. Now in her 70s, the African-American artist supervises a restoration of the mural to its original brilliant colors, reassuring a young woman terrified of mounting a scaffold for the first time. Back on the ground, she teaches public art to everyone from West Oakland middle schoolers to Richmond seniors. As Edy guides students in choosing mural subjects, using a grid, and mastering texture, they’re thrilled to be working with a veteran muralist whose art can be found all over the Bay Area and commemorates the great events of her time. Those events keep coming, as we see when the death of Edy’s nephew becomes a national symbol of racist policing. To all her students she says, “You can’t change your beginnings, but you can put a nice beautiful ending to the story.”
4:45 PM (144 min)
In Defense of Food
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” With that seven-word maxim, Berkeley-based journalist and healthy-planet advocate Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) distills a career’s worth of reporting into a prescription for reversing the human and environmental ills of our unsustainable Western diet. In Michael Schwarz’s illuminating, thoughtful documentary, Pollan travels the globe and the supermarket aisles to illustrate the principles of his best-selling “eater’s manifesto.” With the critical eye of a science journalist, but the warmth of a weekend baker, Pollan steers us through millennia of human evolution, the rise of industrial food production and marketing, and the competing claims of nutrition science that have resulted not only in a revolving door of nutrient villains (fats, protein, sugar, gluten) but also a confusedand obesenation. In Defense of Food comes as a welcome, jargon-free guide to the food-perplexed, as refreshing as a summer sa
8:00 PM (108 min)
Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy
Poet Robert Bly stands out even among the celebrated, revolutionary generation of American artists who burst forth in the 1950s, and this loving documentary by Haydn Reiss (Rumi: Poet of the Heart, MVFF 1998) charts his singular path from second son to taciturn father on a wintry Minnesota farm to radical anti-Vietnam War activist to wild man of the 1990s men’s movement. The bespectacled, white-haired Bly is every inch the politically and spiritually engaged mystic, seeking each moment’s fervid heart as well as the eternal, intuitive bedrock beneath our cultivated ideologies and “personas.” He was one of the first to translate Pablo Neruda, Rumi, and the ecstatic Sufi poets, and his work with Joseph Campbellexploring the metaphorical, psychological terrain of myth and ritual—led to the unexpected pop culture phenomenon of Iron John. A confounding whirling dervish, Bly’s life embodies the quest for personal honesty and shared truth.
12:00 PM (120 min)
One Floor Below (Un Etaj Mai Jos)
Murder interrupts an intensely private man’s ordered world in director Radu Muntean’s (The Paper Will Be Blue, MVFF 2007) gripping drama. On his way out to walk his dog one summer day, Mr. Patrascu (Teodor Corban) overhears his downstairs neighbor, Laura, arguing with a man. When he encounters Valentin (Iulian Postelnicu), another tenant, right outside her door, Patrascu is curious but says nothing. But when he learns Laura has been killed, it becomes harder for Patrascua family man who prizes routineto maintain his deeply ingrained reticence. Muntean, a central figure of Romanian New Wave cinema, builds the film’s tension masterfully as Patrascu’s encounters with Valentin cross the threshold of his own neatly ordered apartment, family, and work. This deftly acted drama of a middle-class Romanian family roils with the pressure of its patriarch’s conscience, simmering beneath the surface of his desperate reserve and reluctance to get involved.
2:45 PM (126 min)
Women He's Undressed
A stylish, fascinating look at the life of three-time Oscar®-winning Australian costume designer Orry-Kelly, Women He's Undressed unveils the professional and personal details of a cinema genius. Leaving the New South Wales village of Kiama for the glamour and excitement of 1920s New York, he roomed with Archie Leach, the future Cary Grant. But soon Hollywood beckoned both men. Orry-Kelly racked up an impressive 282 filmsincluding classics like Some Like It Hot and Casablanca. Expertly overcoming the lack of archival footage of the man himself, director Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career, MVFF Tributee 1999) creates a delightful overview of his life by interweaving reenactments with insightful testimonies from colleagues, industry experts, and stars like Jane Fonda and Angela Lansbury. The result is a vibrant, celebratory look at Hollywood’s golden era through Orry-Kelly’s extraordinary body of work, a key piece of the magic in some of history’
5:45 PM (120 min)
Under the Same Sun (Ek Surya Ke Taley)
In Mitra Sen’s profoundly compassionate drama, only children can soothe the rage of a grieving heart. Karim, an injured fugitive, is welcomed like a beloved brother by three orphaned boys in a remote Gujarati oasis of Hindu and Muslim harmony. This simple human kindness disrupts the smooth and certain arc of the young jihadi’s mission and threatens his very identity. Karim and his new friends are all orphans of religious violence. While the youths have been raised as equals and brothers, Karim grew up hardened by a childhood spent in a jihadi training camp and he believes his impending self-sacrifice will reunite him with his family in Paradise. As the village children prepare to perform the Ramayana, the classic Hindu tale of good vs. evil, Karim wrestles with his true purpose. Amidst the town’s holy festival, a place so full of life, Karim must act wisely to find his way home.
8:30 PM (119 min)
On the cusp of puberty, 12-year-old Adar (Shira Haas) is already deep into the girl-you’ll-be-a-woman-soon blues. The fact that her mother’s louche, libidinous boyfriend (Ori Pfeffer) engages in boundary-pushing games with her isn’t helping the confusion; Adar can’t decipher whether he’s a predator or just being playful. Then she brings home an androgynous teen boy (Adar Zohan-Hanetz) who might be a hustler, her doppelganger, or simply a figment of her imagination, and an already sexually charged atmosphere tips towards an inevitable boiling point. A big winner at the Jerusalem Film Festival, writer-director Tali Shalom Ezer’s (Surrogate, MVFF 2011) sophomore feature takes its coming-of-age story to seriously uncomfortable places. But it also introduces an extraordinary new talent in Haas, and establishes Ezer as a bold filmmaker who transforms a tale of broken taboos into something that’s somehow touching, tender, and traumatic all at once.
10:00 AM (70 min)
Master Class: A Director Prepares - Bobby Roth
Bobby Roth has directed more than 80 episodes of television (Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Revenge), 25 TV movies and 13 feature films, and he has been teaching film seminars around the world for the last ten years. His master class demystifies the craft of directing, handing over all the tools aspiring filmmakers need to feel comfortable walking onto a set and calling “Action!”
8:00 PM (180 min)
MVFF Music
New for 2015, MVFF Music is nine nights of live music exclusively curated for the Mill Valley Film Festival at the landmark Sweetwater Music Hall. Rock, pop, roots, folk, swing, and much more provide a dynamic soundtrack for MVFF38, right in the heart of Mill Valley.

Please visit for full calendar and details.