Sun Valley, ID….The 4th annual Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF), presented by Zions Bank, wrapped up a successful, fun-packed festival with an intimate Saturday night dinner for SVFF Lifetime Vision Award recipient Clint Eastwood, and a lively awards party hosted by comic Seth Herzog. Music by The Weeks entertained the crowd as the winners, filmmakers and movie lovers celebrated into the night. The Festival concluded Sunday with encore screenings of some of the Festival’s most popular films.
“We couldn’t be happier with this year’s festival,” said SVFF executive director Teddy Grennan. “We seem to be on a great trajectory with this event. Our ticket and pass sales increased by 20% over last year and we had close to 150 filmmakers and other special guests in attendance, including some of the top legends in the industry. We raised the bar another notch this year and the feedback has been incredibly positive from both the filmmakers and the audiences. People really appreciate our focus on quality over quantity with our innovative programs, eclectic independent film selections, and intimate opportunities to hear from experienced industry veterans.”
The Festival’s inaugural Lifetime Vision Award was presented to Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, in honor of his long, remarkable, award-winning career as a visionary filmmaker. Upon receiving the award Eastwood remarked, “I absolutely love Sun Valley. I was lucky enough to make a movie here (Pale Rider), and if I had my way I would hang out here all the time. But I guess I’ll have to make another movie at some point since my last movie (American Sniper) did fairly well. So much of this business is hard work and a lot of good luck. And tonight I consider myself lucky to get to know you all. I can only wish you the best of luck to keep this great film festival going for many years to come.”
The SVFF features a diverse list of awards, including two cash prizes designated specifically for Idaho filmmakers and one for student filmmakers under 18 years old. In addition to two audience awards (narrative and documentary), the festival’s juried awards include:
Vision Award: This award recognizes a producer’s ability to keep a dramatic, feature length film in focus during the journey of the project.
WINNER: Finders Keepers, Producers Seth Gordon, Lauren Selig and Clay Tweel
One In A Million Award: The One In A Million awards honor feature length stories made for under a million dollars. One narrative and one documentary film are each awarded.
DOCUMENTARY WINNER: Finders Keepers by Seth Gordon, Lauren Selig, Clay Tweel
NARRATIVE WINNER: [tie]:
– The Midnight Swim by Sarah Adina Smith
– Imperial Dreams by Malik Vitthal
• The Audience Award: Voted on by movie goers.
WINNER: Land of Leopold by Akis Konstantakopoulus
Shorty Award: Best Short Film goes to the best short story film, no matter the genre or aesthetic.
WINNER: Slut by Chloe Okuno
Gem State Award: Presented by Festival sponsor Zions Bank, this $1,000 jury prize recognizes an Idaho filmmaker whose work best reflects the beauty and diversity of the Gem State.
WINNER: Zero Point by Gregory Bayne and Christian Lybrook
• The Gem State Junior Award: Recognizes the best short film made by an Idaho student aged 18 or younger along with a prize of $250.
WINNER: Taylor Foetster for Metanoia
• The Hot Shot Award: Presented to the best film helmed by a student filmmaker under 18 years old along with a $500 cash reward, sponsored by the Marshall Frankel Foundation.
WINNER: Sarah Lew for Dear Family
Film Jury members included actor Joshua Leonard, producer/director Heather Rae, film writers/critics Sharon Swart, Katherine Tulrich, and producer Caspar von Winterfeld.
The 2015 High Scribe judge and mentor was film, television, and stage actor, Will McCormack.
Additional SVFF Film Competition Winners
Nat Geo WILD TO INSPIRE Winner: The 2nd Annual WILD to INSPIRE prize receives an opportunity to study filmmaking and wildlife in the Maasai Steppe landscape in Tanzania, Africa with Emmy Award winning cinematographer, Bob Poole. This competition is a result of a unique SVFF partnership with Nat Geo WILD and the African Wildlife Foundation.
WINNER: Felipe DeAndrade for Adapt
High Scribe Winner: The SVFF Screenwriters Lab High Scribe competition gives finalists an opportunity for one-on-one meetings with some of the industry’s finest to discuss their work; the winner receives mentoring from an experienced professional.
WINNER: Clark Carol for “High Scribe”
One Potato Winner: The new One Potato short screenplay competition awards the screenwriter a $2500 stipend to go towards shooting their film in Idaho.
WINNER: Christian Lybrook for Zero Point
Other Festival Programs & Events
Other signature Festival programs and events that were jam-packed with locals and out-of-town guests from across the country, included:
• Coffee Talks, where industry experts offered their insights to festival audiences each morning, featured legendary actor and two-time Academy Award® nominee Bruce Dern, notable actor Bill Paxton (Apollo 13, Titanic) and veteran Director of Programming for Sundance Film Festival, Trevor Groth.
• Screenwriters Lab, featured an entertaining discussion by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, the Academy Award®-winning writers of The Descendants and 2014’s comedy, The Way Way Back, and a live table read of Rash and Faxon’s new script, co-written with Jason Reitman, entitled, “Force Out” with actors Will McCormack , Jennifer Lafleur, Ross Partridge, Lacey Dorn, Haroula Rose, Colin Thompson, Keith Moore , Emily Arlook, James Paxton , Michael Weaver, Peter Cambor.
• Informal afternoon talks in the “Après Ski Salon” with filmmakers and others, including Academy Award® winning screenwriter Stephen Gaghan, producer/director Seth Gordon, and independent film marketing/development expert Melanie Miller.
The Festival’s new Film Lab, conTent, and Future Filmmaker’s Forum with director/writer/producer Bobby Farrelly and rounded out the signature events of the Festival. And Actor Scott Glenn held a Q&A following a sneak peak of his new film, The Barber.