Championing San Rafael’s film center

Hollywood goes north for venue's grand opening

Hollywood went north to Marin County over the weekend for the grand opening of the Rafael Film Center, the centerpiece of San Rafael’s rapidly revitalizing downtown. Nick Nolte and director Alan Rudolph flew in for Friday’s U.S. premiere of “Breakfast of Champions,” the psychedelic sci-fi Kurt Vonnegut adaptation financed by star Bruce Willis.

Saturday’s ribbon-cutting gala included the world premiere of “Election,” with director Alexander Payne, Paramount’s Rob Friedman and star Matthew Broderick attending. Local residents turning out to check out the new Marin moviegoing option included Sean Penn and Peter Coyote.

The restored 1938 deco theater complex offers three auditoriums that will screen retrospectives, firstrun art films and film festival selections seven days a week. Sponsored by the Film Institute of Northern California, which runs the Mill Valley Film Fest, the venue will serve as an additional site for the Mill Valley Fest as well as the upcoming San Francisco Intl. Film Fest.

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