'Road' to open, 'Pi' to close next month's event

The 35th edition of the Mill Valley Film Festival has set the program for its Oct. 4-14 run in Marin County, Calif., including several films launching their awards-season careers. “The Silver Linings Playbook,” which just won the Toronto audience prize, and “On The Road” will open the fest on Oct. 4.

Closing night gala is “Life of Pi,” directed by Ang Lee, who will be honored at the fest with the Variety International Filmmaker of the Year Award. Lee, whose “Lust, Caution” opened the 2007 fest, is being recognized for his tradition of breaking new ground and his bold artistic vision.

Founded in 1977 by Mark Fishkin, fest has a longstanding reputation among industry members and cinephiles for programming high-profile fare, and presented the Bay Area preems of recent Oscar winners “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.”

Thesp John Hawkes will be honored by the fest Oct. 6, including a screening of “The Sessions.” The next day, Billy Bob Thornton will also be honored at an event including a screening of his film “Jayne Mansfield’s Car.”

Dustin Hoffman gets a tribute Oct. 9 including a Variety Master Class discussion with Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos and a screening of Hoffman’s directing debut, “Quartet.”

A special tribute to director Mira Nair on Oct. 10 will be followed by a screening of her latest film, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”

Other events and screenings include an award to DreamWorks Animation — as well as a conversation with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Bill Damaschke and Peter Ramsey and a screening of “Rise of the Guardians” — on Oct. 10, and Ben Affleck presenting “Argo” on Oct. 5.

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