MVFF41 Spotlight on Maggie Gyllenhaal | Photo © Tommy Lau Photography

Dr. Stacy Smith (center), USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, receives the Mind the Gap award from Chaz Ebert (left), CEO, Ebert Companies, and Zoe Elton (right), MVFF Programming Director. | Photo © Tommy Lau Photography

Spotlight on Dee Rees – MUDBOUND | Photo © Tommy Lau Photography

Films represent one of our greatest opportunities to impact society. Films break through language barriers and highlight common values and shared experiences. Movies change the way we think and operate in society. Which is why it’s so important for films to reflect the totality of the world. Every race, every age, every religion, every sexual orientation. And every gender. We have a long way to go on all counts, but the Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF) is focusing on where we can have the greatest immediate impact: Gender.

After decades of supporting the work of women filmmakers, MVFF formally launched Mind the Gap in 2015, an initiative dedicated to achieving gender equity in the film industry. We’re committed to reaching 50/50 gender equity in films screened at the Festival by the year 2020. At the 2017 Festival, 44% of our films across all sections were directed by women. This included a Mind the Gap summit weekend with speakers Catherine Hardwicke, Connie Nielsen, Dee Rees and the MUDBOUND creative team, including Oscar® nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison.  

The same year, the California Film Institute (CFI) began expanding the Mind the Gap initiative across the entire organization in order to provide an inclusive platform to showcase female-forward contributions in all aspects of the film industry, celebrate the dynamic achievements of women in film, and empower future filmmakers.

The Mill Valley Film Festival and CFI are proud to be at the forefront of promoting women and diversity in all aspects of storytelling through film. We hope you will join us in our efforts.