Emma Stone ‘La La Land’ interview at Mill Valley Film Festival (Video)

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Last night, the Mill Valley Film Festival kicked off in high style. The 39th edition of MVFF enters the award season with a strong line-up of films, and at opening night the stars came out in force. Wonderful. Exciting. Glamorous. Just a few of the words I’d use to describe the evening.

Emma Stone and Amy Adams both graced the red carpet for the premieres of their much talked about films, La La Land and Arrival respectively, and spent time with Stark Insider.

In this segment in addition to speaking with Emma Stone, I catch up with the creative mastermind behind La La Land (and the equally amazing Whiplash), director Damien Chazelle. He’s joined with his college buddy, and very talented composer Justin Hurwitz, who’s original music is simply breathtaking. You can watch the scene at opening night of MVFF last night in the video above.

I’m sure La La Land will be a frequent topic of discussion — and awards talk — for the coming months, likely even years. The cinematography is astonishing. Chazelle told us the opening shot (which appears to be one continuous take during L.A. rush hour) is actually three shots with invisible cuts. Each took about twenty takes.

San Francisco Arts & Culture news, stories, videosMVFF: News, Reviews, Interviews, Videos

“Since college we [himself and Justin Hurwitz] were talking about doing a musical like this,” said director Damien Chazelle before the screening. “Movies like ‘Hallelujah, I’m a Bum’ and some of the very proletariat musicals of the 30’s during the great depression. I love that sort of tradition.”

IN PHOTOS: LA LA LAND Opening Night at Mill Valley Film Festival

La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival
Director Damien Chazelle and actress Emma Stone at LA LA LAND screening for opening night of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Damien Chazelle with Emma Stone - La La Land press conference
Damien Chazelle describes how musicals of the 30’s through 50’s influenced his sensibility and approach to making ‘La La Land’.
La La Land Premiere - MVFF
Composer Justin Hurwitz, director Damien Chazelle and Emma Stone arrive at the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Emma Stone with Loni Stark - La La Land Interview
Emma Stone talks with Loni Stark handling rejection, working through stage fright as a child, and tap dancing with Ryan Gosling in new throwback musical ‘La La Land’.

Emma Stone plays Mia, a struggling actor looking for her big break. Ryan Gosling’s character, a jazz fanatic, encourages her to forget auditioning, and to just write her own script. Soon she finds herself performing a one-woman play. The results aren’t exactly the stuff of dreams, but she keeps trying and trying.

The periods of time when I was not getting any auditions was actually harder for me than bad auditions because not even being considered is more brutal than being rejected.

And speaking of perseverance — a strong theme in La La Land — Emma Stone had this to say about her own dealings with rejection:

“Just keep going,” she said. “The periods of time when I was not getting any auditions was actually harder for me than bad auditions because not even being considered is more brutal than being rejected.”

IN PHOTOS Continued: MVFF 39 Opening Night with Emma Stone and Amy Adams

Photos by Aaron Thompson of MomentumFilms.net (Thanks Aaron!)

La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video
Loni Stark speaks with ‘La La Land’ director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz on opening night at Mill Valley Festival 39.
La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video
Amy Adams and Emma Stone arrive for the twin billing of ‘Arrival’ and ‘La La Land’ at MVFF 39.
La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video
Amy Adams speaks with reporters on red carpet.
La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video
MVFF director of programming Zoe Elton, composer Justin Hurwitz, director Damien Chazelle, actress Amy Adams, MVFF founder and executive director Mark Fishkin at opening night of ‘La La Land’.
La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video
Loni Stark with Emma Stone at the MVFF screening of La La Land.
La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video
Loni Stark with Amy Adams at MVFF screening of ‘Arrival’.
La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video
Amy Adams and Emma Stone.

La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video La La Land - Mill Valley Film Festival - Interview Video

Later, as I walked out into a brisk Mill Valley evening I could only describe the experience as: inspiring. As Chazelle said when explaining his approach to knocking down road blocks in Hollywood and getting his work out there and onto big screens:

“At the end of the day you can always sit and write a melody or a script. You don’t need anyone’s permission to do that.”

Art imitating life? Sounds just like Mia herself in La La Land.

San Francisco Arts & Culture news, stories, videosFrom Around the Web: Mill Valley Film Festival Headlines

On a final note, kudos also to cinematographer Linus Sandgren for capturing some of the most stunning imagery you’re likely to see in a movie this year.

Stay tuned for more MVFF coverage on Stark Insider.

Here’s to the fools that dream.

WATCH: Actress Emma Stone LA LA LAND Interview @ Opening Night of MVFF

With director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz.

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