Filmmakers from around the world brought their visions to the second annual Sun Valley Film Festival last week, and about 2,500 visiting and local movie enthusiasts watched those visions come into focus on Wood River Valley screens.
Festival directors on Monday called the event a “tremendous success” and said that this year’s event almost doubled its ticket sales compared to last year. Organizers expressed pride that this year’s festival featured over 60 “cutting-edge” films and TV premieres.
“I was thrilled with how the event unfolded,” said Director Candice Pate. “We received so much positive feedback from local businesses and residents that it made all the hard work worthwhile.”
Pate said she looks forward to growing the event even more next year. She said adding the Liberty Theatre in Hailey this year was very successful and that she would like to secure more new venues next year.
“A lot of filmmakers and event sponsors from out of town were raving about how friendly and welcoming the community is, repeatedly,” she said. “People said, ‘Everyone here is so nice.’ The community had its A-game on and the visitors really felt it.”
During a closing ceremony Sunday in Ketchum, the festival presented eight awards to participating filmmakers.
The Gem State Award, which celebrates an Idaho filmmaker whose work best reflects the beauty and diversity of the state, was given to Blackfoot native Jessie Millward, director of “Craters of the Moon.” Zions Bank, one of the festival’s sponsors, gave Millward $1,000 for the award.
The Vision Award, which recognizes a producer’s ability to keep a feature-length narrative “in focus” was given to Sean Baker, producer of “Starlet.”
The One in a Million Awards, which honor both a feature-length documentary and narrative, were presented—respectively—to Fredrik Stanton, director of “Uprising,” and Benjamin Dickinson, director of “First Winter.”
The Shorty Award, which recognizes the best short film, regardless of genre or aesthetic, went to Anthony DiBlasi, director of “The Test.”
The Mini Mixed Media Award, which celebrates the best music video, “webby” or “sizzle reel,” was bestowed to Tyler Williams, director of “Done to My Love/East Coast Dying,” a music video by Gayze.
The Screenwriter’s Lab High Scribe Award, which gives kudos to the top writer who participated in the festival’s Screenwriter’s Lab activity—taught this year by Independent Spirit Award nominee Will McCormack, was awarded to Cody Tucker, writer of “Life of the World To Come.”
The Hot Shot Award, which goes to a promising filmmaker under age 18, was presented to Natalie Markiles, director of “Finding Erica Jones.”
Lastly, the Audience Award, voted on by the festival’s attendees, went to Stuart Archer, director of “STUCK.”
In a surprise addition to the closing ceremony, Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe presented Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster with a key to the city. Foster was a featured guest at this year’s festival and headlined a “coffee talk” as one of the festival’s events. Briscoe noted that Foster contributed significantly to the growth of the festival this year and helped put it on national radar through her participation.
“This key means you’re always welcome in Sun Valley,” he said.
In jest, Foster asked if possession of the key meant that she would be allowed to speed on city streets.
Brennan Rego: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wildlife filmmakers invited to submit entries
Nat Geo WILD’s “Wild To Inspire Short Film Competition” gives independent documentarians the chance to win an apprenticeship in wildlife filmmaking with an acclaimed National Geographic filmmaker in Tanzania. Films should be no more than five minutes long and focus on nature, with the goal of inspiring people to let the wild into their lives every day through awe-inspiring, real, unexpected, fearless content. For specific criteria, visit HYPERLINK "https://vimeo.com/groups/wildtoinspire/" https://vimeo.com/groups/wildtoinspire/. This competition came about with the help of the Sun Valley Film Festival and the African Wildlife Foundation. The top three finalists will be flown to the Sun Valley Film Festival in 2014, where they’ll screen their short films for festival attendees and a panel of judges, including Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager for Nat Geo WILD; Casey Anderson, wildlife expert and host of Nat Geo WILD’s “America the Wild”; National Geographic filmmaker Bob Poole; and representatives from Sun Valley and the African Wildlife Foundation.