It’s been an amazing year to be a California Film Institute Member! In 2019, CFI Members experienced the power of storytelling through film with a full slate of special screenings, often in advance of the film’s theatrical release date, and, in many cases, paired with engaging onstage conversations and receptions with creators on- and off-screen.

Lesley Nichol  |  Photo © Allison Levenson

Sebastián Lelio  |  Photo © Tommy Lau Photography

Lulu Wang  |  Photo © Tommy Lau Photography

The year kicked off with director Sebastián Lelio who participated in our annual Filmmaker Highlight Event with his film Gloria Bell, starring Julianne Moore. In March, CFI Members previewed new films Five Feet Apart, starring Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse, and Hotel Mumbai, starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer.

June proved to be a very active month with three Member Screenings offered, including the inspiring and enlightening documentary Pavarotti, as well as two warm-hearted narrative features including Chinese intergenerational family tale The Farewell with director Lulu Wang in attendance and Danny Boyles’ Beatles-nostalgia trip, Yesterday. In August, CFI Members were delighted by a screening of endearing indie The Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Shia LaBeouf. 

CFI Members were in for a real treat in September when Mrs. Patmore herself (aka Lesley Nichol) came to visit devoted fans with a popular screening of Downton Abbey.

Cynthia Erivo |  Photo © Reny Huelskamp

Quentin Tarantino |  Photo © Christopher Markisz

Following the 42nd edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival, programs really ramped up with Member Screenings of Kasi Lemmons’ powerful biopic Harriet, featuring actor Cynthia Erivo in attendance, the latest iteration of the enduring classic Little Women with director Greta Gerwig and producer Amy Pascal in attendance, and an exuberant screening of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, featuring a highly anticipated onstage conversation with the always entertaining Quentin Tarantino in attendance.

Taron Egerton and Dexter Fletcher |  Photo © Christopher Markisz

Jay Roach and Michelle Graham |  Photo © Christopher Markisz

Rounding out the year in December, many CFI Members revisited the Elton John musical biopic Rocketman, with director Dexter Fletcher and actor Taron Egerton in attendance, previewed Fox News exposé Bombshell with director Jay Roach and producer Michelle Graham in attendance, watched Clint Eastwood’s latest film Richard Jewell, an examination of the 1996 Centennial Olympics bombing, took in a screening of the gritty origin story Joker with director Todd Phillips in attendance, and were deeply moved by a reprise screening of the Mill Valley Film Festival Opening Night Film, courtroom drama Just Mercy with director Destin Daniel Cretton in attendance.