A Bustling Spring Leads Into a Lively Summer at the California Film Institute!

It’s that time of year when the CFI offices take a breather between wrapping up our spring DocLands Documentary Film Festival 

and gearing up for the Mill Valley Film Festival in October, while maintaining a busy schedule of events at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center and CFI Education programs.




Since early spring, we’ve presented a successful 2019 Awards Night, celebrated our the Smith Rafael Film Center’s 20th birthday, hosted benefits for those affected by the fires in Butte County and the Marin Humane Society, welcomed filmmakers for several in person Q&As, increased our offerings of music-themed events and concert films, as well as classical music, dance and opera presentations, and produced our third fantastic DocLands, which continues to grow in attendance and reputation as an active, involved and fully supportive community event anchored by the exhibition of world-class documentary films and the engaged participation of filmmakers and audiences.


CFI Education has ramped up inspiring and relevant community offerings for Bay Area students, families and audiences of all ages, tackling a wide range of subjects such as teen wellness, food waste, restorative justice, rural health care, bullying, foster care, military negligence, and child poverty. CFI Education produced a week-long My Place, My Story filmmaking workshop, wherein Bay Area students produced a short film based on their own lives, then premiered those films to friends, family and CFI supporters. CFI Education also presented the three-day intensive Environmental Youth Forum in conjunction with DocLands and is actively increasing its educational outreach to students and the community with the addition of Shakira Refos, Education Outreach Manager, to the Education Team.


In Mill Valley Film Festival news, the Programming Department has also welcomed new programmers, including João Federici, joining the World Cinema team, and Mimi Brody, who will be programming US Indies – both bring a wealth of international and festival experience to MVFF’s excellent programming team. MVFF is also launching a pilot Trainee Programmer initiative in an effort to mentor and offer experience to new and diverse voices in festival programming. This initiative will offer trainee programmers the chance to delve into the process of programming a festival from pre-festival research to post-festival wrap. They will contribute to the US Indies roster under the guidance of Brody, helping to curate a collection of films that represent a wide spectrum of American life and innovative storytelling.


Looking forward, there’s much more on the horizon, including more special event programming, filmmakers in person, series and retrospectives in the third quarter at the Smith Rafael Film Center, CFI Education’s Summerfilm filmmaking summer camp for teens in July, and, of course, planning, programming and producing the Mill Valley Film Festival, October 3 – 13, 2019. Stay tuned for many more outstanding programs and events from the California Film Institute!




Photo credits from top: Kirke Wrench, Christopher Markisz, Tommy Lau, Tommy Lau, Tommy Lau