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The California Film Institute, (CFI), is a film organization based in San Rafael, California. The organization exhibits films year-round at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, presents the annual Mill Valley Film Festival and DOCLANDS Documentary Film Festival, and supports the year-round CFI Education Program. The founder and current director of CFI is Mark Fishkin.

California Film Institute
California Film Institute logo.svg
California Film Institute's logo
FounderMark Fishkin
TypeFilm organization
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center on 4th Street in San Rafael, California.

The non-profit California Film Institute (CFI) celebrates and promotes film by presenting the annual Mill Valley Film Festival and DocLands Documentary Film Festival, exhibiting film year-round at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, and building the next generation of filmmakers and audiences through CFI Education. CFI relies on the generosity of its community to sustain these core programs. The invaluable support of our sponsors, foundations, and individual donors ensures our continued success as we celebrate our 40th year.

Mill Valley Film FestivalEdit

Founded in 1978 by Mark Fishkin, the Festival is held every October, and screens over 200 US and international films for over 70,000 participants.[1]

Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film CenterEdit

This beautifully restored, state-of-the-art, three-screen theater is one of few nonprofit theaters in the United States. The venue exhibits independent documentaries, classics, retrospectives, international works and hosts special events with filmmakers from around the world year-round. The Film Center annually serves approximately 200,000 attendees.

DocLands Documentary Film FestivalEdit

DocLands Documentary Film Festival brings compelling stories and the provocative insights behind them to Marin County, California in early May. Expanding upon the exchange of ideas and inspiration through public screenings, engaged conversations and grassroots networking events, DocLands aims to build an active, involved, fully supportive community around documentary film, dedicated to initiating connections and partnerships that will illuminate and invigorate the business and art of non-fiction filmmakers.

CFI EducationEdit

Serving over 8,000 students per year and hundreds of teachers and families since 1986, CFI Education works closely with 200 Bay Area schools and community groups to provide Bay Area students and lifelong learners from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to interpret the world and themselves through film. Featuring a rich program of classes and hands-on workshops, and utilizing a broad range of activities, including screenings, Q&A sessions with top international filmmakers and seminars with industry professionals, CFI Education introduces students to the power of film. These programs help build an understanding with communities across the globe, promoting tolerance and a sophisticated world-view by expanding classroom topics across borders and disciplines. CFI is enhancing the next generation of filmmakers and film lovers through its creative programs.


  1. ^ "Mill Valley Film Festival 1978" (Press release). Mill Valley, CA. 1978.