Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, New York, Sundance
Locals hatch plan for Sun Valley Film Festival
By HANS IBOLD
Express Staff Writer
Well, its more than a plan. Its a go.
After a year of research, Ketchums Wanda Petitclerc and Kate
Wright created the Sun Valley Film Festival, probably the regions most recently
established nonprofit organization. In October of next year, an array of local and
international talent will converge in Sun Valley to screen new movies and celebrate the
art of acting.
Its too early to say for sure who that talent will be, but the
two festival founders said they have a long list of major actors, directors and other
industry professionals who are willing to participate.
The three-day day film festival, to be held mostly at the Sun Valley
Opera House, will pay tribute to the art of acting with lectures, panel discussions, a
play reading with local and international actors and screenings of new films.
The "heart and soul" of the festival, Petitclerc said, will
be the celebration of an acclaimed actress and actor. Their past and recent work will be
the highlight of the festival. A premier screening of their latest features will begin
Screenings will include documentaries, shorts, silent films, animation
features and commercials.
A newly written play by an established playwright will be read publicly
for the first time by actors. The playwright will be in attendance.
If anyone has the background and passion to pull off a film festival of
this caliber here, its Petitclerc and Wright.
Wright helps organize the Sun Valley Writers Conference and has
organized past film festivals for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. For most of her
life, Petitclerc has been immersed in Hollywoodas an acting student under director
Daniel Mann and as a collaborator with her husband, screenwriter Denne Petitclerc.
And both Petitclerc and Wright are devotees of the medium. A recent
interview with them could not begin until the pair had thoroughly debated the film Flawless
and then checked their watches to see when they could make an afternoon showing of Being
"Our goal is to educate and entertain," Wright said in the
interview. "And we think it will be good for the whole valley."
Petitclerc and Wright plan to give as many people as possible an
opportunity to attend festival events. Educational programming for children will be one of
the hallmarks of the festival, Petitclerc said.
The choice of acting as a focus came after the two researched other
major festivals and discovered that acting was always incidental to the festivals. Acting
was also chosen on behalf of the talented base of actors living and working here.
"The local theater is so strong," Wright said. "It makes
sense for the festival to celebrate their art."
Wright said that Company of Fools co-founder Denise Simone has joined
the festivals advisory committee and Laughing Stock director Kathy Wygle has pledged
Other individuals and organizations who have pledged support, according
to the festivals websitewww.sunvalleyfilmfestival.cominclude
the Idaho State Film Commission, the Ketchum-Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce and Ketchum
attorney Brian Barsotti. Variety magazine and the Sun Valley Co. are listed as festival
Petitclerc and Wright said they will donate a portion of the festival
proceeds to community theater groups to support youth programs. Another beneficiary will
be the Los Angeles-based Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.
At the festival website, Petitclerc and Wright state their overall
mission: "We plan three nights and three days of absorbing events in which young and
old can forget about the world and indulge in great films
to not only pay tribute to
the art of acting, but to also create an atmosphere in which the actors art can be
seriously practiced and truly appreciated."
Look out Sundance.