Homegrown Talent

Local filmmakers get the red-carpet treatment at Mill Valley Film Festival

Start with The Groove Is Not Trivial, Cloverdale documentarian Tommie Dell Smith’s fun film about Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser.

Add Green /is/ Gold, Sonoma Valley filmmaker Ryon Baxter’s sweetly sad coming-of-age story set within Northern California’s cannabis industry. Then throw in Paris Can Wait, Napa-based Eleanor Coppola’s very first feature film, featuring Alec Baldwin and staring Diane Lane taking a life-changing road trip through France.

Those three films alone would make for a tasty and full-bodied blend at any other cinema festival. But this particular wine country threesome will be appearing among more than a dozen films written and/or directed by North Bay filmmakers. All will be shown over a 10-day period at the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival, screening in various Marin County locations Oct. 6–16.

Though the above-mentioned films may not be as flashy as some of the blindingly star-powered events also on the schedule—including live appearances by Emma Stone, Amy Adams, Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Gael García Bernal, Julie Dash, Aaron Eckhart and Barbara Boxer—that so many locally made films are given pride of place within the lineup is a testament to the festival’s ongoing commitment to celebrate filmmakers at every stage of their artistic development.

Coppola—best known as the award-winning documentarian of Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, about her husband, Francis Ford Coppola, and his efforts to make the acclaimed Vietnam epic Apocalypse Now!—is winning strong reviews for her first foray into narrative filmmaking. Paris Can Wait, which she wrote and directed, follows a woman (Lane) who finds herself on an unexpected journey of discovery after accepting a ride from Cannes to Paris from the charming, romantic best friend (Arnaud Viard) of her workaholic filmmaker husband (Baldwin). The film screens Saturday, Oct. 15, at 1:45pm at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, and Sunday, Oct. 16, at noon at the Lark Theater in Larkspur.

Green /is/ Gold is the story of two brothers trying to make a big business deal in the middle of the ever-changing world of medical marijuana. It screens Saturday, Oct. 8, at 3:45pm, at the Cinearts Sequoia in Mill Valley and Sunday, Oct. 9, at 6:30pm at the Rafael Film Center.

Dell Smith’s The Groove Is Not Trivial alternates live performances by fiddler Fraser and cellist Natalie Haas. It screens following the short film “Joe’s Violin” on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 5:45pm at the Cinearts Sequoia, and Monday, Oct. 9, at 6:15pm at the Rafael Film Center.

The Architect, San Rafael director Jonathan Parker’s comedy-drama starring Parker Posey and Eric McCormack screens Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7pm at the Cinearts Sequoia, and Friday, Oct. 14, at 2:30pm at the Rafael Film Center.