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Festival Tips

How to navigate MVFF films, parties and events like a pro.



For the past 38 years, the Mill Valley Film Festival has made October a particularly special time to be in Marin. Check out the tips below to make the most of the 39th year, whether you’re a festival veteran or first-time attendee.

• Purchase tickets early, as they sell out fast. Figure out which ticket pass best suits your budget and start making a list of movies you’d like to view. With thousands of fellow moviegoers making their own plans, you’ll be glad you strategized.

• Speaking of buying tickets early, join the CFI (California Film Institute) for the real inside scoop. Members get first access to conversations with filmmakers at the festival in addition to discounted tickets at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.

• Don’t miss out on the MVFF Music program; tickets for all MVFF Music shows are available online or in person at the Sweetwater box office in Mill Valley, but not at the regular MVFF box office. No festival badges other than the MVFF Music Pass grant admission to MVFF Music shows.

• Don’t suffer for fashion. Check weather reports and dress in climate-appropriate, comfortable garb. In particular, skip the heavy gown and leather jacket if you’re seeing a film at the Sequoia in Mill Valley — it doesn’t have air conditioning.

• To get around safely and efficiently, plan your rides before you start drinking. Everyone wants to attend both the opening night film and the party, but Mill Valley and Larkspur aren’t exactly within walking distance. Designate a driver or use rideshare apps or a taxi to move between venues. The same goes for closing night festivities.

• Hungry for more star power? Have a spare room in your home? Surround yourself with talent by hosting a filmmaker. Past hosts have had positive experiences, with guests returning year after year. Refer to mvff.com/housing for more information.

• See films for free by volunteering at the festival. Volunteers get access to a pre-festival volunteer screening, post-festival volunteer appreciation party, one MVFF voucher per shift completed, an associate level CFI Membership for 50 or more completed hours and a coveted MVFF39 T-shirt.

• Your festival ticket gets you more than a seat; bring your ticket to participating merchants for additional deals and discounts. Last year’s savings were valid through the month of October and included stores in Marin and beyond.

For more information and details please refer to the official festival site, mvff.com.

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