The mostly unglitzy hamlet of Mill Valley seems an unlikely place to see actress Helen Mirren sit down for tea. But when the Mill Valley Film Festival sweeps into town, residents often find themselves elbow to elbow with Hollywood's A-list.
Not that it goes to their heads. "At a lot of film festivals, you get people showing off what they're wearing - or not wearing," says producer-actor-director Sydney Pollack. "Here, you get intelligent people who are interested in really good film."
Mill Valley is 10 miles north of San Francisco in Marin County. From U.S. 101, take the E. Blithedale Ave. exit to Throckmorton Ave. The intersection of Throckmorton and Miller Avenues marks the center of town, which usually buzzes with activity during the festival.
The 30th annual Mill Valley Film Festival Screenings, discussions, and other events at CinéArts at Sequoia Theatre (25 Throckmorton Ave.) and other Marin County venues. INFO: Oct 4-14; advance tickets (from $12) highly recommended; 877/874-6833.
142 Throckmorton Theatre With movie luminaries in town, top-name musicians also convene. Woody Allen tooted his clarinet here recently. INFO: 142 Throckmorton Ave.; 415/383-9600.