The evening began with a VIP reception at the Outdoor Art Club in downtown Mill Valley. Foxx, who won an Academy Award in 2004 for his performance as Ray Charles in Ray, appeared at screenings of the film at both the CinéArts Sequoia & Smith Rafael Film Center, as well as the MVFF42 Opening Night Gala at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur afterwards, where an array of Mill Valley film lovers walked the red carpet and celebrated the arrival of one of Mill Valley's favorite events of the year.
The 136-minute film, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton with a screenplay by Cretton and Andrew Lanham, tells the story of African American Walter McMillian (played by Foxx), who was sentenced to death for killing a white woman in 1988. A real-life, modern-day Atticus Finch in the form of recent Harvard Law grad Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) challenged a corrupt, racist system to free an innocent man. The cast includes Brie Larson, Tim Blake Nelson, and Rob Morgan. Both Fox, Nelson and Morgan are expected to appear.
MVFF has long since graduated to being a landmark stop on Hollywood's festival circuit. As organizers unveiled the lineup for MVFF's 42nd edition today, it quickly became clear that its star continues to rise, with an array of star-studded marquee screenings of likely Academy Award contenders and a whirlwind of spotlights, tributes, special premieres and appearances that will leave cinephiles' heads spinning. In total, MVFF42 will screen 111 features and 98 shorts, including 13 world premieres, 10 North American premieres and 10 U.S. premieres.
Just Mercy is set to his theaters on Christmas Day. Here's the trailer: