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MVFF Celebrates 35th Anniversary With Star Wars

The film that spawned a new culture comes to Corte Madera tonight for a special screening.

Luke Skywalker might have been raised on a desert plant in a galaxy far, far away, but the Star Wars legacy has its roots here in Marin County.

George Lucas is one of the most prominent names in Marin, establishing his Skywalker Ranch, from where he launched decades of movie projects. But it all started with Star Wars.

If you grew up in the 1960s or early 1970s, you probably remember when Star Wars exploded onto movie screens and became an essential part of pop culture. For a generation of film fans and movie makers, it was possibly the formative experience of their early years.

The Mill Valley Film Festival is sharing its 35th anniversary this year with a special screening at Corte Madera's Century Cinema of Star Wars, Episode IV, which also debuted 35 years ago. The show starts at 5 p.m. on Oct. 8.

The Century Cinema last year hosted the festival's showing of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark with a costume contest and special guests. During this showing of Star Wars, you might end up sitting next to a Wookie, or a droid, or even Darth Vader.

Tonight's highlights:

  • Star Wars-themed photo booth opportunity.
  • Meeting members of the 501st Legion, billed as "the world's definitive imperial costuming organization."
  • Costume parade. Come as your favorite Star Wars character and join the parade!
  • Special prizes and giveaways.
  • Watch out for special guests and join in a Q&A after the screening.

And here's a little trivia to warm you up for tonight's screening of Star Wars, courtesy of MovieMistakes.com:

  • Harrison Ford wasn't an original candidate to play Han Solo. He was originally brought in simply to feed lines to the other auditioners. After watching Ford, George Lucas realized he was the perfect Han.
  • When George Lucas was mixing the American Graffiti soundtrack, he numbered the reels of film starting with an R and numbered the dialog starting with a D. Sound designer Walter Murch asked George for Reel 2, Dialog 2 by saying "R2D2". George liked the way that sounded so much he integrated that into Star Wars.
  • Luke says "Prisoner transfer from block 1138" on the Death Star - a reference to George Lucas' film THX-1138.
  • In the bar on Tattooine (where Luke and Obi-Wan meet Han Solo), you see lots of aliens at the bar. Look carefully in the background of these shots, and you'll see a NASA astronaut in full space walk gear (helmet etc) walking across the back of the shot, complete with American flag on his arm. It's quite obvious once you know where to look.
  • Denis Lawson, who plays Wedge Antilles, is the uncle of Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels.

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