Dozens Don Costumes as 'Star Wars' Turns 35 at MVFF

The Mill Valley Film Festival celebrates George Lucas' classic film with a costume event and parade before a 35th anniversary screening at Century Cinema in Corte Madera.

The 35th Mill Valley Film Festival celebrated George Lucas' classic film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope with a costume event and parade before a 35th anniversary screening at Century Cinema in Corte Madera.

It seemed the entire Empire and the Rebel Alliance showed up for a special screening of the science-fiction epic that helped define a culture.

David Tanaka, "just a kid from Oakland" who now works at Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic was one of the children inspired by Star Wars 35 years ago.

"I think I saw Star Wars 43 times that summer," he told the crowd Monday night.

If it wasn't the Force, then it must have been the Halloween spirit that brought together so many fans in full regalia. In addition to all the Star Wars-themed designs, there were a few Pandas in the house, showing their never-say-die support for the San Francisco Giants.

Fortunately, there seemed to be a cease-fire between the two opposing Star Wars sides, except for a few imaginary skirmishes between 6-year-olds in the parking lot before the show.

"I've seen all the movies," said little Dakota, dressed as a Rebel pilot. 

LilMissCeeJ posted on Foursquare, "My 1st time seeing Episode IV on the big screen."

Fans packed the parking lot, waiting for nearly an hour in a line that stretched around the theater. The day brought back memories from 35 years ago, when the film first played there.

"My mother took my brother and me to see Star Wars when it first came out. I wanted to see the movie so much," said John, who was taking his own two children to see Star Wars in the theater to recapture the experience.

John, who preferred not to give his last name, was one of several fans returning to the theater where they first saw Star Wars. A show of hands revealed nearly all of the sold-out crowd saw the movie in its initial release at either the Century Cinema or San Francisco's now-defunct Coronet Theater.

Corte Madera hasn't seen crowds that big and enthusiastic since the iPhone 5 was released in September. A lot of those same iPhones were in service Monday, taking photos of all the kids in costumes.

Fans had their photos taken with members of the 501st Legion, a group of loyal fans dressed in very authentic-appearing costumes. Some of the costumes were a little too authentic for a frightened and very young Princess Leia.

Characters Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Princess Leia judged the costume contest, but there were a few clear crowd favorites, including one youngster dressed as a Jawa with glowing eyes. Latham Erving was one of the winners of a light saber for his recreation of Yoda, even though the little, green guy wasn't in the original Star Wars.

Did you go? Post your photos here!


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