About the California Film Institute

Our Mission

The mission of the California Film Institute is to celebrate and promote film as art and education.

We achieve this goal through three core programs: year-round programming at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, the annual Mill Valley Film Festival, and the CFI Education Program.


Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center

This beautifully restored, state-of-the-art, three-screen theater is one of few nonprofit theaters in the United States. The venue exhibits independent documentaries, classics, retrospectives, features, international works and hosts special events with filmmakers from around the world year-round. The Film Center annually serves approximately 200,000 attendees.

Mill Valley Film Festival

Founded in 1978 by California Film Institute director Mark Fishkin, the world-renowned 11-day festival is held every October, screening over 200 innovative US and international films for over 60,000 film lovers. It has established an impressive track record for launching new films and new filmmakers, and has earned a reputation as a filmmakers’ festival by offering a high-profile, prestigious, noncompetitive environment for celebrating the best in independent and world cinema. The annual event is consistently rated as one of the top film festivals in the nation.

CFI Education

Through innovate educational programs, 100 free annual screenings for school groups and their families, filmmaking workshops and a year-long cinema appreciation curriculum, CFI Education touches the lives of over 6,500 children annually. Utilizing a broad range of activities, ranging from Q&A sessions with top international filmmakers to seminars with industry professionals CFI Education promotes tolerance and a sophisticated world view by expanding classroom topics across borders and disciplines.

Be a Supporter!

As one of the largest cultural nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area, CFI relies on the generosity of its community to thrive. Here are a few ways you can support CFI:

Please make a donation to CFI today

Your can make a secure donation online by clicking on the donate button below or by contacting Liana Bender, Foundation and Individual Giving Director, at lbender@cafilm.org or (415) 526-5838.

All donations to the California Film Institute are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.

California Film Institute
1001 Lootens Place, Suite 220, San Rafael CA 94901
T 415 383 5256 E info@cafilm.org