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63 Up

TRIBUTE TO MICHAEL APTED: Michael Apted’s evolving masterwork, the Up series which has now reached 63 Up, is unique in the annals of cinema and cultural history. 7 Up was created for British television in 1964, intended as a program that looked at education in the class system in England. Apted has revisited the group of young people he documented at that time every seven years—with varying degrees of cooperation as these kids grew up. The stories are extraordinary and chronicle not just the British class system but many of our prejudices and preconceptions. Remember the little boy who wanted to be a jockey? And the one who knew exactly what university he would be going to from the age of 7? The one who became a filmmaker and refused to continue in the project. The one who became homeless. Here is the ninth in the series.
Tue, Oct 8 6:30 PM
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Autonomy

In a time when technological advancements are accelerating and rendering more man-operated machines obsolete, the illusion of control humans have over their own lives is dissipating. One of the last grips people have nowadays on their unshackled independence is the reliable sanctuary of their cars. But the development of self-driving vehicles threatens the existence of this “ultimate freedom machine.” This fast-paced and illuminating documentary offers a thorough examination of one of the most awe-inspiring and controversial innovations of the century, from its long-gestating evolution to its hotly debated current state to its still hazy future. With clear-eyed commentary and insights from top automakers, engineers, and thinkers including author Malcolm Gladwell of The New Yorker, the benefits of this cutting-edge and ostensibly inevitable sea change are weighed against the many hazards and concerns, confronting questions of whether driverless cars actually do make us safer, and
Fri, Oct 4 6:15 PM
Sat, Oct 5 6:00 PM
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The Cave

Amani, Salim, and Samaher work in an underground hospital called “The Cave” in besieged Al Ghouta. In this haunting film from the Oscar®-nominated director behind Last Men in Aleppo, the camera is a mute witness to their daily work treating victims of Syria’s civil war. Through the lens of director Feras Fayyad, the smoke-filled city suggests dystopian sci-fi, its inhabitants living in belowground tunnels. In one surreal scene, children frolic in a subterranean playground while bombs drop overhead. Hospital staff tries to keep a grasp on ordinary life, even as it crumbles around them; Salim plays classical music while he operates, Amani’s friends throw her a surprise birthday party, and Samaher complains cheerfully about cooking rice for a hundred. But the daily struggle against death is always present, particularly for Amani, an aspiring pediatrician who stayed behind during the region’s mass exodus to manage the hospital.
Fri, Oct 4 5:15 PM
Fri, Oct 11 3:00 PM
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Coup 53

Ten years in the making, Iranian director Taghi Amirani's feature debut film is a fascinating investigation into the 1953 Anglo-American coup d'état in Iran that displaced democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as Shah, turning Iran into a despotic monarchy. Tracing the coup from the events leading up to it through its aftermath, Amirani and editor and co-writer Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather) uncover a wealth of secrets held for over 60 years discovered in a trove of documents and film obtained from the BFI. Assembling never-before-seen archival footage, animation, and interviews with witnesses on both sides of the conflict, Coup 53 presents a chilling exposé of one of the first covert actions by the US and UK to overthrow a sitting government in order to protect “national interests” at the expense of what could have been the largest democracy in the Middle East.
Thu, Oct 10 8:00 PM
Sat, Oct 12 12:00 PM
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The Dog Doc

In a small Westchester town, the unassuming offices of Smith Ridge Veterinary Center are a last hope for many of the animals that walk through its doors. The practice is the vision of Dr. Marty Goldstein, a pioneer of integrative veterinary medicine who has built a career on treating beloved pets, particularly dogs, holistically for 45 years. Goldstein boldly goes against the grain of conventional medicine by incorporating alternative therapies and cutting-edge techniques, combining the best of Eastern and Western treatments. The result is a haven for humans and their canine companions other vets have deemed beyond hope. Sundance Award winner Cindy Meehl (Buck) followed Goldstein and his patients for nearly three years, charting ups and downs and joy and heartbreak along the way. The Dog Doc is an admiring portrait that showcases the high stakes and dedication of veterinarian work while posing serious questions about conventional veterinary practices and how they might be
Fri, Oct 4 5:00 PM
Mon, Oct 7 11:30 AM
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Fire in Paradise

In honor of the anniversary of the Napa fires, MVFF offers a special community screening of filmmakers Drea Cooper and Zachary Canepari’s moving look at the Camp Fire disaster. Beautifully conceived, Fire in Paradise grabs you from the very beginning and is a testament to the human spirit. Special guest presenters expected.
Tue, Oct 8 2:30 PM
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From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock: A Reporter's Journey

Journalist and filmmaker Kevin McKiernan (Good Kurds, Bad Kurds: No Friends But the Mountains) explores the complexities of revolution in the meditative From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock: A Reporter’s Journey. At once poignant and educational, McKiernan—who was a rookie when he began this journey nearly 50 years ago—provides an entrance point into the oft-overlooked history of Native American uprisings. Tracing the recent history of activism from the 1973 confrontation at Wounded Knee to the 21st-century pipeline protests at Standing Rock, McKiernan repurposes his own archival footage to chronicle the longtime search for lost identity and reparations. An expert blend of eyewitness accounts from advocates and dramatic news coverage grounds the exploration of broken treaties, displaced communities, and generational grief. Focusing on outsider McKiernan and Yurok fisherman Willard Carlson (whom McKiernan photographed during the siege at Wounded Knee
Wed, Oct 9 5:15 PM
Thu, Oct 10 8:45 PM
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The Great 14th: Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama In His Own Words

How does one capture the essence of one of the most legendary lives of our time? A boundless and heroic life filled with extraordinary loss, resilience, and achievement—and a man whose philosophy of kindness continues to inspire millions of people around the world, regardless of faith or political persuasion? In this profound and inspiring portrait of the 14th Dalai Lama, the answer is: In his own words. In a series of intimate conversations interwoven with previously unreleased archival footage, stills, and family photographs, the Dalai Lama reveals his story and his experience of the personal, political, spiritual, and historical events that shaped his life.
Thu, Oct 10 6:00 PM6:15 PM
Sat, Oct 12 2:00 PM
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Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo

SPECIAL PREMIERE: With nearly 400—and counting!—film and television credits since 1985, Danny Trejo is one of the most prolific and recognizable actors around. But his remarkable ascent to beloved Hollywood hero notorious for tough guy roles in Heat, Breaking Bad, and the Machete series was as hard-earned as it was unexpected. In this moving, funny, and revealing portrait, Trejo candidly traces his own sensational out-of-the-ashes journey from troubled kid growing up in Pacoima, CA, to teenage drug addict and San Quentin prison inmate, to ubiquitous film star, restaurateur, philanthropist, and role model. With testimonials from his most ardent champions, including his children, friends, and famous colleagues (including Robert Rodriguez, Cheech Marin, and Michelle Rodriguez), Brett Harvey’s affecting profile is as raw and intimate as it is a buoyant celebration of an exceptional life, telling a story of unlikely survival, rare humility, and a profound transformation
Sun, Oct 6 2:30 PM2:30 PM2:30 PM
Sat, Oct 12 8:15 PM
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Journey to Hokusai

For nearly 50 years, woodblock print artist Tom Killion has carved beautiful, iconic California landscapes, using Japanese hand tools and rendering them in vivid color with an old German printing press. Deeply inspired by the renowned 19th-century artist Hokusai, famous for his Ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings, Killion long dreamed of learning the traditional Japanese method of printing by hand. Journey to Hokusai follows Killion's painstaking creative process and his pilgrimage to Japan to study under Kenji Takenaka, a fifth-generation master printer in Kyoto. As he learns new techniques and trades in his oil-based ink for traditional watercolor, Killion discovers more and more about the history of printmaking. His odyssey takes him to a papermaker that is still in business after 1500 years and to the quiet village of Obuse, where Hokusai spent his final years. Journey to Hokusai is an intimate exploration of the connection between two artists from different worlds
Fri, Oct 4 8:45 PM
Sun, Oct 6 12:00 PM
Sun, Oct 13 11:00 AM
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Journeys Beyond the Cosmodrome

This haunting, poetic film calls forth the dreams of nine 16-year-old Kazakhstan orphans. With the aid of filmmakers Jeanne C. Finley and Lyazzat Khanim, each teen presents heavily imagined visions of their future lives. Their current reality is quickly changing as they prepare to move away from the only place they’ve known as home, away from the only real family they’ve ever had. The fact that these fascinating and colorful kids have grown up next to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world's first and largest operational space launch facility, makes their far-out visions especially poignant. From the majestic Kazakh Steppes, the young artists use a mixture of words, pictures, and music to craft mesmerizing prophecies of what adulthood and independence will mean to them. Not surprisingly, themes of time, space, memory, and emotional exploration weave into each piece of gorgeous, profound art. A stirring, trippy, one-of-a-kind experience, this film will expose you to worlds you’ve never know
Sat, Oct 5 11:15 AM
Wed, Oct 9 7:00 PM
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The Kingmaker

Dubbed "Marie Antoinette with shoes," Imelda Marcos was the First Lady of the Philippines for 21 years, notorious for her lavish lifestyle while her country sank into unrest and economic turmoil. She and her husband Ferdinand amassed a fortune in the billions until they were forced into exile during the 1986 revolution. Director Lauren Greenfield first featured Marcos in her book Generation Wealth, a photographic exploration of late capitalism. Now she offers an unvarnished portrait of Marcos today, having returned to politics in the Philippines despite her past. We see Marcos in her lavish home adorned with Picasso paintings and also on a visit to a children's cancer ward, where she asks her assistant for cash to hand out. Greenfield exhibits the same tender but objective approach she honed in her award-winning The Queen of Versailles, never shying away from those most critical of the Marcos regime, including activists who were tortured and imprisoned during martial law.
Fri, Oct 4 8:45 PM
Sun, Oct 6 5:00 PM
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The Lure of This Land

Wildlife filmmakers, a zoo director, ecotourism hosts, a Rastafarian chef, a Civil War descendant, Mennonites, and Afro-Caribbeans are among the fascinating assortment of people in this illuminating documentary who have taken a leap into the unknown and found belonging in Belize. All have discovered the freedom to live the way they choose in Belize, a country made inviting by its wilderness, diverse ecosystem, natural beauty, and thriving yet endangered rainforest. The untamed nature of the land and the peaceful multicultural society provide fertile soil for these creative iconoclasts to flourish. Threaded throughout these profiles, Marin-based director Alexandra Lexton muses on themes of leaving home to find home and letting go of the known for a truer, unexpected resonance with place and people and purpose. The lives glimpsed here reflect a universal longing for something meaningful and real, the desire to seek and find the right place to root and thrive.
Sat, Oct 5 11:15 AM
Fri, Oct 11 3:30 PM
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Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound

"Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain't heard nothin' yet!" And with these words from Al Jolson’s lips, an industry transformed and an auditory art form was born. While movies in their storytelling majesty had been around for decades, the advent of synchronized sound signaled a new limitless horizon of possibilities to ground the cinema experience with previously untapped emotional depth and nuance. Along with a survey of the history of film sound—from Kong and Kane to Pixar and ProTools—director Midge Costin’s exciting documentary demonstrates how the aural landscape in moviemaking is just as complex and artful as musical orchestration. Directors David Lynch, Sofia Coppola, Ryan Coogler, and George Lucas and award-winning sound designers Walter Murch, Ben Burtt, and Gary Rydstrom are among those interviewed in this deep dive into the postproduction world, a sheer delight for the senses and a must for audiophiles and casual movie fans alike.
Sat, Oct 5 2:15 PM
Mon, Oct 7 11:15 AM
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No Time to Waste

Following lunch, the Summit is capped by the presentation of our Mind the Gap Award to Betty Reid Soskin and a screening of No Time to Waste, a new documentary that pays tribute to her life’s achievements, focusing on her legendary talks as a Ranger at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. Soskin is an author, composer, singer, activist, entrepreneur, historian, blogger, and public speaker. And at age 98, she is the oldest National Park Ranger serving the United States. She is a true national treasure. NOTE: The Betty Reid Soskin presentation and film screening are included in Summit registration. A limited number of tickets are available to the general public.
Sat, Oct 5 2:45 PM
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Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters

As a child, acclaimed animator and filmmaker Phil Tippett marveled at the mighty beasts created by stop-motion maverick Ray Harryhausen in films like The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Obsessed with the craft, the Berkeley native became an apprentice in his teens, and later got his break when George Lucas hired him to work on the original Star Wars trilogy, including the first film’s now-legendary cantina scene. He went on to create Return of the Jedi's iconic Jabba the Hutt, for which he earned his first Oscar®. With his wife Jules Roman, he formed Tippett Studio, making his own short films (including the Mad God series, a staple at MVFF) while continuing his Hollywood work in blockbusters like RoboCop, Starship Troopers, and Jurassic Park, where he made the transition to computer-generated imagery. Featuring extensive interviews with Tippett and his collaborators—including directors Joe Dante and Paul Verhoeven—this enlightening portrait ce
Sun, Oct 6 12:30 PM
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Rewind

More than 15 years since Capturing the Friedmans transfixed audiences with its groundbreaking chronicle of childhood sexual assault, Rewind is its natural successor. Sifting through troves of home videos, 30-year-old director Sasha Joseph Neulinger delves into his own victimization and the complex generational trauma wrought upon his family. A director serving as his own subject can cut both ways, but Neulinger threads the needle as both a riveting protagonist and a filmmaker interrogating his interviewees—from those in the justice system to his childhood therapist and parents. But it is the years of archival footage that resonates, as a peppy boy without a care in the world transforms into an angry and isolated youth. The little moments of birthdays and picnics come to feel sinister, as the footage unspools like a haunting mystery. Neulinger’s brave, no-holds-barred feature serves to both educate viewers who might find childhood sexual assault unthinkable and validate th
Sat, Oct 5 3:00 PM
Sun, Oct 6 5:15 PM
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Right to Harm

We’ve all had difficult neighbors. But what do you do when a breeding barn of 26,000 pigs moves in next door? This riveting exposé reveals the extreme effects of factory farming on five rural communities across the United States. Filmmakers Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher focus on the real-life stories of people taking on corporate farming interests. In addition to raising questions about animal cruelty, these Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations produce large amounts of untreated waste, leading to dirty water and polluted air for the surrounding areas. Right to Harm chronicles the grassroots efforts of everyday people battling big money companies and local governments, while raising awareness of the devastating health risks that come with these jam-packed animal farms. Disturbing, illuminating, and inspiring all at once, this doc exposes an under-the-radar national crisis and celebrates a diverse collective fighting for their right to have healthy lives in their own homes.
Tue, Oct 8 6:15 PM
Thu, Oct 10 2:45 PM
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