The California Film Institute knows how to entertain a crowd — just ask anyone who’s been to a party at the Mill Valley Film Festival. But all of the fun and entertainment is fueled by the organization’s deep passion for artistry, education, representation. Here are just three of CFI’s many programs and initiatives, all designed to make real change in Bay Area communities and beyond, all via the power of cinema.
Launched in 2015, Mind the Gap is the Mill Valley Film Festival’s gender equity initiative, which over the years has spotlighted women filmmakers from across the globe in an effort to change the landscape of the film industry. MVFF is making its most powerful statement yet with its “50/50 by 2020” commitment — starting this year, 50% of the films featured in the festival will be women-directed.
CFI Education offers a wide variety of programs designed to immerse students across the Bay Area in the world of cinema, giving them the tools to tell big-screen stories of their own. Their My Place, My Story program focuses on teenagers and puts them through an intensive five-day workshop in which professionals guide them through the process of creating a personal, short film that expresses their life experiences. CFI is in the process of building an online forum for the program to continue in light of COVID-19.
2004 satire A Day Without a Mexican illustrated in comedic, poignant fashion that Latinx people are integral to California’s identity. In the same spirit, MVFF’s ¡Viva el Cine! initiative invites Spanish-speaking festival-goers to celebrate Hispanic culture on the big screen, showcasing Latinx films and filmmakers while also exposing Hispanic cinema to new audiences. This year, one of the featured titles is a documentary short called Colette the Artist, about a pig who lives in Todos Santos, Mexico, and…does art!
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