Two new films will enjoy premieres at the upcoming Mill Valley Film Festival. Organizers have announced that A Light Beneath Their Feet and Angelica will both debut on Saturday, October 10, 2015. Screenings will be followed by on-stage conversations. A party — but of course! — will close out the evening.
Attending for the world premiere of A Light Beneath Their Feet: actress Taryn Manning, director Valerie Weiss, and producer Jeffrey Loeb.
Attending for the U.S. premiere of Angelica: actress Jena Malone, and director Mitchel Lichtenstein.
MVFF38: A Light Beneath Their Feet (World Premiere)
In the last few months of high school, college-bound Beth contends with the typical rites of passage: deciding on a school, finding a date to the prom, managing peer pressure from the mean girls and questions about an uncertain future. As an intelligent and mature young woman, Beth longs for her independence, but is torn between the prospects of her dream school, UCLA, or sticking closer to home at Northwestern to care for her mother, Gloria (Taryn Manning of Orange is the New Black, illuminating in a demanding role), who is struggling to stabilize her bipolar disorder. Set to a broody but wistful indie-rock soundtrack, this coming-of-age drama sets itself apart in its bold exploration of mental illness and its effect on the family as well as the afflicted. Director Valerie Weiss assuredly elicits strong performances from the entire cast, especially the young lead, Madison Davenport, whose performance firmly establishes her as a rising star to watch.
MVFF38: Angelica (U.S. Premiere)
Sexual repression and supernatural entities make uneasy bedfellows for Constance Barton (the radiant and gifted Jena Malone) in this playfully twisted period drama, which had its world premiere at Berlinale. It’s not that Constance doesn’t want to make love with her husband Joseph (Ed Stoppard); it’s that she’s been forbidden to after the difficult birth of their daughter Angelica. Overwrought by this enforced physical separation, the young mother sees nightmarish visions taking shape in the house and threatening her and the child, so she turns to a formidable spirit hunter named Mrs. Montague (Janet McTeer) for assistance. Based on the novel by Arthur Phillips, Lichtenstein’s film revels in the psychosexual turmoil of its heroine while making pointed references about the predicaments of women in the Victorian age. With ravishing art direction and a careful balance of chills and dramatic suspense, Angelicais a haunting tale of unfed appetites and the damage they can wreak.
MVFF is now in its 38th year, and runs October 8-18, 2015 at CinéArts Sequoia (25 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley), the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael), and other venues across the San Francisco Bay Area.
Stark Insider has been covering the festival since 2009, and you can watch some of our favorite moments below in the Best of MVFF reel.