The closing night of the 35th Mill Valley Film Festival swapped out last year's Jack Russell Terrier from The Artist in favor of Life of Pi's fierce Bengali Tiger, but festival organizers and attendees are banking on the latter having the same stellar awards season success as the former.
In touting its successful celebration of its 35th anniversary from Oct. 4-14, MVFF35 organizers said 50,000 turned out to its screenings and events, a 20 percent uptick from 2011. But more than anything, festival organizers continue to cherish their ability to pick award winners.
"The festival cemented its place as the West Coast’s premier launching pad for the awards season, celebrating great work by major film artists," MVFF Director Mark Fishkin said in a statement.
It also continued to show that it can attract some of the biggest names in Hollywood to our little neck of the woods. In addition to drawing Life of Pi director Ang Lee, MVFF35 drew appearances from the following (among others):
- Silver Linings Playbook star Bradley Cooper and director David O. Russell
- Legendary actor Dustin Hoffman for a career tribute and a screening of his directorial debut, The Quartet
- Billy Bob Thornton for his latest film, Jayne Mansfield's Car
- Stevie Nicks for In Your Dreams, a new documentary about her latest solo album
- John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, stars of The Sessions
- Director Mira Nair, who screened her new film The Reluctant Fundamentalist
- Actor Brian Cranston for Argo, Ben Affleck's new film
The festival also featured a heap of musical performances, from the Village Music All-Stars concert after the premiere of Gillian Grisman's documentary about John Goddard's famed local record store to the Mill Valley ASCAP Music Cafe, a series of shows hoping to connect filmmakers and musicians.
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