DUSTIN HOFFMAN, Ben Affleck and Billy Bob Thornton head a list of stars set to come out for the 35th anniversary Mill Valley Film Festival, an 11-day celebration of international cinema in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais.
Considered one of the top 10 film festivals in the country, Mill Valley will be showing a slate of some 150 films from around the world from Oct. 4 to 14.
For the 35th year, filmmakers and actors will take over the small town for a busy schedule of movies, tributes, award ceremonies, premieres and parties.
"With an icon like Dustin Hoffman coming, this is a festival worthy of our 35th anniversary," said founder and executive director Mark Fishkin.
Hoffman will be honored with an onstage tribute and the screening of his debut film as a director, "Quartet," starring Maggie Smith as an elderly opera diva.
"With this film, you get your A-list American legend — Hoffman — working with your A-list British legend — Maggie Smith," said Zoe Elton, festival director of programming.
Thornton, who will be presented with the festival's Spotlight award, was the director of "Jayne Mansfield's Car," which will be screened after his onstage interview. With Robert Duvall and Kevin Bacon, he co-stars in a tale of a Southern family dealing with distant English kin who have come to bury their recently deceased matriarch among "her people." It will be screened after an onstage
A Spotlight award will be presented to actor John Hawkes, nominated for an Oscar for 2010's "Winter's Bone." He'll discuss his career in an onstage interview, followed by a screening of "The Session," in which he portrays a poet-journalist confined to an iron lung who tries to lose his virginity with the help of a professional sex surrogate played by Helen Hunt. Director Ben Lewin will be on hand for the evening, as will actor William H. Macy.
"Hawkes is one of those actors who hasn't been elevated to the heights some of his peers have been, and yet this film is extraordinary," Elton said. "The wait is over."
Indian film director and producer Mira Nair (2001's "Monsoon Wedding") will be honored with a tribute that includes an onstage interview and a screening of one of her films to be announced.
Rock goddess Stevie Nicks will answer questions after a screening of "In Your Dreams," a documentary by Eurythmic Dave Stewart on the recording of a Nicks solo album.
Affleck is coming to Mill Valley to discuss "Argo," a drama he directed and stars in that revisits 1979's "Canadian Caper," when then Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor and his wife hid six American diplomats at their home in Tehran. It comes at a time of renewed political tension between Canada and Iran.
Midway through the festival, organizers will honor Dreamworks Animation with a screening of its new animated film, "Rise of the Guardians," followed by a conversation with director Peter Ramsey.
The festival opens with screenings of "On the Road," the first movie based on Jack Kerouac's Beat classic, and "Silver Linings Playbook," a new film from director David O. Russell ("The Fighter"). The movie marathon closes on Oct. 14 with director Ang Lee's big-screen take on the best-selling novel "The Life of Pi."
Expanding on its renowned live music history, the festival debuts "ASCAP Music Cafe" at Sweetwater Music Hall, showcasing Internet sensation Pomplamoose, singer-songwriter John Doe, plus Frankmusik, Jeff the Brotherhood, Nova Albion and other bands.
Chris Funk of the Decemberists performs at Mill Valley's 142 Throckmorton Theatre in a musical tribute to John Fahey, the subject of director James Cullingham's documentary "In Search of Blind Joe Death."
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For ticket information, visit: http://www.mvff.com/