Throughout its nearly forty year history, the Mill Valley Film Festival has built a well-earned reputation for fostering and sustaining relationships with emerging filmmakers who have gone on to become established names, from artists Ang Lee and Mira Nair to Gillian Armstrong and David O. Russell.
A highlight from the 39th Mill Valley Film Festival was filmmaker Damien Chazelle, here with his third film, La La Land, an appropriately glamorous musical romance to kick off our Opening Night festivities. Chazelle had previously attended the Festival in 2009 with his first feature, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (MVFF32), and again in 2014 with his highly acclaimed, Academy Award® -winning second film, Whiplash (MVFF37).
Damien talked about his history with us on Opening Night:
“The first time I was here at the Mill Valley Film Festival was with a really low budget, basically a student film, that I had done (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench), but it was a musical – or it was trying to be a musical – and it was about, to me, the idea of trying to marry the musical in the height of the old Hollywood musicals that I loved – to real life.
And it was the beginning of that sort of attempt on my part, and it was the first movie I did with my composer, Justin Hurwitz. And as soon as we were done with that movie, we started talking about trying to do another one, but on a bigger scale. Flash forward nine or ten years or so, and we finally got the chance to make this.
So, getting to make it was a dream, getting to bring it to this Festival where we were both back with that earlier film, was a dream.”
-Damien Chazelle, Opening Night, 39th Mill Valley Film Festival
Since La La Land opened MVFF, we have been thrilled to see its success as it has gone on to be nominated for Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes, and has been nominated for both Outstanding Performance for Male and Female Lead by the Screen Actors Guild!
Indeed, keep an eye out for other MVFF39 films and filmmakers receive critical acclaim since the Festival, including Moonlight, Loving, 20th Century Women, Lion, Jackie, Neruda, Toni Erdmann, Things to Come, Elle, The Salesman, Manchester by the Sea, A Man Called Ove and The Eagle Huntress.
Let’s all cheer them on to even greater acclaim during the awards season!