Save the Dates for These Marin Film Festivals

It took more than a year, but Marin County is steadily reopening for events and gatherings as vaccinations keep the pandemic’s numbers relatively low in the North Bay. Already, local music venues, art galleries and restaurants are letting people in, and now the region is adding film festivals to its live offerings.

For more than 40 years, the Mill Valley Film Festival has gathered the world’s best films and biggest stars for its annual fall event. Last year, the MVFF took to the internet and stayed in cars for a socially-distanced Drive-In Cinema series at Marin Center in San Rafael and virtual screenings.

This year, the festival will go back to the theater when it returns for its 44th year on Oct. 7–17. MVFF will continue to be a hybrid event in 2021, mixing online screenings with in-person events throughout the Bay Area, including 11 days at the CineArts Sequoia in Mill Valley and the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

The 2021 festival will continue to add to MVFF’s long-standing reputation as a world-class film festival, celebrating the best in American Independent and international cinema alongside high-profile and prestigious award contenders and continuing MVFF’s tradition of delivering the season’s most anticipated films.

In addition, the festival will continue to showcase a selection of both entertaining and meaningful documentaries, short films, and family films while building upon its history of honoring both veteran and rising luminaries of the cinema industry. 

MVFF prides itself on creating a relaxed and non-competitive atmosphere, giving filmmakers and audiences alike the opportunity to share their work and experiences in a collaborative and convivial spirit. To that end, the MVFF team is currently planning to create a safe and accessible event. MVFF early-bird ticket packages will go on sale August 3, with the general on-sale date launching in mid-September. Visit for updates.

Another popular Marin film fest that had to go virtual last year, the Tiburon International Film Festival, is also returning for live screenings this year.

Now in it’s 20th year, the annual event showcasing independent feature and short films from around the world will take place November 12–18, 2021.

Founded in 2001, the TIFF has long been a source of cultural enrichment and awareness for Marin County each spring, as TIFF normally plays at the Tiburon Playhouse every April. Last year, the pandemic forced the fest to postpone it’s virtual offerings until late fall, and this year’s live event will stay on that late-year schedule.

Currently, the festival is accepting film submissions for all genres, with an early bird deadline for filmmakers coming Sept. 1, and the late deadline set for Oct. 1. More details can be found at

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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