Mill Valley Film Festival will feature a Holly Hunter tribute and presentation of the MVFF Award.

Cue the Lights: Mill Valley Film Festival + More Cinematic Fetes This Fall

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It seems that at almost any time in the Bay Area, there is the unreeling of a film festival.

This season brings a few, from San Francisco to Napa, that would be considered more suis generis; including Another Hole in the Head which describes itself as "three weeks of celluloid mayhem not usually found in your local Cineplex," and the Napa Valley Film Festival, which presents four days of cine amid a spread of the area's finest food and wine (naturally).

But film season kicks off with a red carpet roll out in Mill Valley this weekend. Butter the popcorn!


Oct 5-15: Mill Valley Film Festival

Just a quick drive over the Golden Gate Bridge is the 29th annual Mill Valley Film Festival, presented by the California Film Institute. A choice festival for industry pros and film connoisseurs, it's known for stellar international programming, representing more than 50 countries and a reputation for launching new films and more than 200 filmmakers each year. It has become known as a filmmakers' festival with prestigious award contenders alongside American independent and foreign films. Check out Wait For Your Laugh, a documentary highlighting the career of comedian Rose Marie; live music from master guitarist Joe Satriani; a panels on gender parity in the film industry; and a Holly Hunter tribute with an onstage conversation, clip reel and award presentation. // Various venues in Marin; general admission is available for $15 at mvff.com.


Oct 19-22: SF Dance Film Festival

Head to the Brava Theater Center for the seventh annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival. Created to not only honor more than 90 dance-based films from around the world, but also to assist and encourage Bay Area choreographers and filmmakers, the program covers a broad spectrum of visual artists, animators, composers and live performers. This year's festival will highlight sub-genres such as "screendance," short experimental dance pieces created for the camera, and "filmic interpretations of dance performances originally created for the stage." There will also be feature documentaries on the process of dance creation, including behind-the-scenes looks at current innovative choreographers as well as historical profiles; plus, as opening and closing receptions, post-screening discussions with filmmakers, live performances, and VR 360 films. // Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St. (Mission); tickets range from free to $225; festival passes are also available for $125 at sfdancefilmfest.org.


Oct 25-Nov 8: Another Hole in the Head

Presented by SF Indiefest, this quirky film festival features international films from emerging and established filmmakers with an emphasis on horror, sci-fi, dark fantasy and exploitation. In its 14th year's year's festival promises thrilling shocksploitation, with the full lineup pending announcement. // New People Cinema, 1746 Post St. (Japantown), tickets will be available this week at sfindie.com.


Nov 3-11: American Indian Film Festival

Showing at the AMC Metreon, Brava Theater Center and Palace of Fine Arts Theater, this festival is the world's oldest (the first one was in 1975) dedicated to films by and about Native Americans. Presenting contemporary American Indian voices, the festival includes film screenings, panel discussions, workshops, an awards ceremony and networking events, including opening film night with Ah-Hos-Teend followed by music documentary The Road Forward and a three-day women's series. // Various venues (SF), buy tickets and see the full lineup at aifisf.com.


Nov 8-12: Napa Valley Film Festival

This five-day festival showcases more than 120 independent new films at nine screening venues in the valley, as well as a plethora of special events with fine food and wine, including a series of filmmaker-chef collaborations at the Culinary Institute of America's new facility at Copia. There will also be several special screenings, and award ceremony and festival gala. This year, the festival will honor Charles Krug Legendary Filmmaker Nancy Meyers (It's Complicated, The Intern), Raymond Vineyards Trailblazer Michael Shannon (The Current War, The Shape of Water), and Spotlight Tribute honoree Michael Stuhlbarg (Call My By Your Name, The Shape of Water). // Various venues (Napa Valley); festival passes can be purchased for $295 available at nvff.org.


Nov 8-12: New Italian Cinema

At Vogue Theater, see the debut of more than a dozen Italian films ranging from animated features to suspense. The lineup includes four award-winning documentaries; seven dramas by up-and-coming Italian directors all competing for the City of Florence Award; as well as five new dramas by veteran directors. Indulge in romance and history in PierFrancesco (Pif) Diliberto's dramatic feature, At War for Love (In Guerra per Amore), which tells the story of Arturo (Pif), an Italian emigrant in the U.S. near the end of WWII and Flora (Miriam Leone), who want to marry but cannot as she is betrothed to a Sicilian Mafioso in New York. // Vogue Theater, 3290 Sacramento St. (Presidio Heights); full lineup and ticket prices will be available later this month at newitaliancinema.org.


Nov 9-12: 3RD I Film Festival South Asian Film Festival : Bollywood and Beyond

Now in its 15TH year, the SF International South Asian Film Festival presents cinema from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Australia, and the USA. Watch art-house classics such as The Cinema Travellers and documentaries such as An Insignificant Man, the story of Arvind Kejriwal, the "Bernie Sanders of India" and his Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man's Party). Then head to South Bay a week later to watch the festival unfold November 18th at the BlueLight Cinema in Cupertino (21275 Stevens Creek Blvd). This year's festival opens with an emphasis on questions around democracy and the political process. // New People Theater, 1746 Post St.; and Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St.; single-program tickets go on sale Oct 11th at thirdi.org.

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