MVFF SPOTLIGHT presentation on IFC Films’ WILDLIFE, featuring an onstage conversation with writer/director PAUL DANO and star CAREY MULLIGAN. The MVFF award is being presented in acknowledgement of the creative collaboration between Dano and Mulligan.

The conversation will explore the director-actor relationship, and how they work together to distill the anatomy of the creative process that leads to great onscreen performances.

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WILDLIFE is the directorial debut of Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine), co-written along with Zoe Kazan (The Big Sick). Elegantly adapted from Richard Ford’s novel of the same name, Carey Mulligan (Mudbound, An Education) delivers one of her finest performances to date as Jeanette, a complex woman whose self-determination and self-involvement disrupts the values and expectations of a 1960s nuclear family. Fourteen-year-old Joe played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould, is the only child of Jeanette (Mulligan) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal)—a housewife and a golf pro—in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job—and his sense of purpose—he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother’s struggle as she tries to keep her head above water. With precise details and textures of its specific time and place, Wildlife commits to the viewpoint of a teenage boy observing the gradual dissolution of his parents’ marriage.


Carey Mulligan exploded onto the independent film scene in 2009 with her unforgettable performance in An Education, and her career has gathered momentum ever since. A constantly in-demand actress, her work in the films Drive, Shame, The Great Gatsby, Mudbound, and Suffragette has won praise from audiences and critics alike, a trend sure to continue with her latest film, Wildlife.


Paul Dano is a true Hollywood multi-hyphenate: actor/director/screenwriter/producer. Dano won early recognition  in break-out indie hit L.I.E., which he followed up with acclaimed turns in Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood, 12 Years A Slave, and Love & Mercy, among many others. Wildlife, adapted with life and work partner Zoe Kazan, marks Dano’s auspicious directorial debut.