The first Mill Valley Film Festival, a three-day event, began on Friday Aug. 11, 1978, in Odd Fellows Hall at 142 Throckmorton with champagne at 7 p.m. followed at 9 p.m. by a tribute to filmmaker James Broughton, widely known as one of the most influential pioneers in the realm of avant-garde cinema and poetry.
At midnight, the Sequoia Theater showed “Woodstock” a work of cinematographer David Meyers. On Saturday at 142 Throckmorton there were films by John Korty, Francis Ford Coppola, and George Lucas followed by a tribute to David Myers.
Meanwhile on Saturday there were films, seminars and workshops at the Mill Valley Center for the performing Arts (Golf Clubhouse).
On Sunday at 142 Throckmorton, there were three films about Imogen Cunningham, and films by Carroll Ballard, David Myers and Gunvor Nelson. At 9 p.m. there was a tribute to John Korty.
The idea of a local film festival had been kicking around for several years among filmmakers and art aficionados, according to festival director Mark Fishkin. He had set aside running the popular Saturday Night Movies five months earlier to work on the festival. The result was a great success.
Many annual film festivals followed.