Williams to be feted at film fest

SAN FRANCISCO — A mix of upscale star power, new American indie talent and international features will ballast this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival, unspooling Oct. 7-17 at various Marin County venues.

Opening night selections are a tripleheader of major upcoming releases: Sony’s Sydney Pollack-directed romantic drama “Random Hearts,” starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas; USA Film’s Ang Lee-helmed Civil War pic “Ride With the Devil”; and Miramax’s pickup of Canadian Patricia Rozema’s liberal Jane Austen spin, “Mansfield Park.” Closing gala feature will be Universal’s bestseller adaptation “Snow Falling on Cedars,” with director Scott Hicks (“Shine”) and novelist David Guterson in attendance.

Other glittery events will include an Oct. 14 salute to Robin Williams, S.F.’s biggest box office resident star, and an Oct. 13 “centerpiece premiere” of Fine Line’s Toronto-bowed, Sam Shepard-adapted seriocomedy “Simpatico,” with Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges, Sharon Stone and Albert Finney toplining for director Matthew Warchus. Helmer Gillian Armstrong (“My Brilliant Career,” “Oscar and Lucinda”) will appear at a fete in her honor Oct. 12, while singer-thesp Edie Adams will attend a tribute to her work with late husband and TV comedy innovator Ernie Kovacs.

World preems are all-American indies: locally shot African-American slice-of-life “Metal”; Brooklyn-set drama “Looking for an Echo,” with Armand Assante; and Tanya Fenmore’s campus seriocomedy “The Sterling Chase”; and Paige Taylor’s twentysomething ensemble satire “American Intellectuals.”

Notable U.S. preems include Sinan Cettin’s Turkish sociopolitical scrutiny “Propaganda” and Dutch comedy “One Man and His Dog.”

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