SV-FFYou missed it!  It ran in mid-March.  But there are lots of reasons why you need to put a pin in your calendar for next year’s Sun Valley Film Festival and make sure you get your butt there this time next year.  

Have you ever been to the Sun Valley?

Sun Valley itself is like a little bit of paradise.  All of the great spots in Idaho are this way: majestic, pristine and a little wild.  There are less than 1.6 million people in the whole state, so even when it’s “crowded,” it’s manageable. The ski resort is world class — and if the weather isn’t cooperating, they make snow.  You just can’t lose here.  There are terrific restaurants in this tiny mountain town and staying at the Lodge makes you feel like you’re at a very fancy family camp.  All your needs and your children’s needs, are met. Even if you don’t go to the festival, you must come to Sun Valley before you die — any season will do (well, late Spring is a little tough).

Good and Crazy

running from crazyOpening the festival was a sold-out screening of Mariel Hemingway and Barbara Kopple’s new documentary, Running From Crazy, examining the personal journey of model and actress Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, as she strives for a greater understanding of her complex family history. They stayed and answered questions for the Q&A — this is a hometown girl coming home…

Breeda Wool

breeda2

No, not high tech fabric, but rather a daring young actress who appeared in the film, Craters of the Moon, shot entirely in Idaho. Totally watchable, believable and you root for her in a big way (sure helps that her film-husband is a sadist), Breeda is an actress on the rise.  She looks like a cross between Uma Thurman and Cameron Diaz, beautiful, a little goofy and a doll in person. Young talent is coming to this festival. You can meet them before they blow up into stars.

Grab a Coffee.  Let’s Talk.

Jodie Foster HeadshotEach morning, there were Coffee Talks — free to the public — with dynamic filmmakers. On Friday, Stephen Gaghan spoke about his career for over an hour to an enthralled audience. He spoke about luck (he has had lots of it) as well as the change in the structure of the business (they aren’t making $48 million movies about foreign policy anymore) and some hairy stories set in Beirut about the research for Syriana.  On Saturday, we saw the filmmakers who had works in progress at the festival. Jodie Foster spoke to a SRO crowd on Sunday morning. Pretty great for a festival in its second year.

Great and Crazy

operahouse inside

The documentary, First Comes Love, (to be broadcast on HBO July 2013) tells the story of filmmaker Nina Davenport’s crusade not only to have a baby by herself at age 41 from a friend’s donated sperm, but to document the process and how it affected her and those closest to her.  What could have been merely a self-indulgent exercise (maybe, still) was a winning story about the new normal of modern urban women and the possibilities of a new life with the love and support of friends and family, if not a traditional partner.  It was impossible not to root for Nina and care about the new life and responsibilities that motherhood would bring.  Spoiler alert: you will cry. And Nina is a little crazy – in a great way.

What You’ll See Next Year

At the festival, NatGeo WILD, in partnership with the Sun Valley Film Festival and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), announced the first annual WILD to INSPIRE Short Film Competition—a short film competition that will give independent documentarians the chance to win an apprenticeship in wildlife filmmaking with an acclaimed National Geographic filmmaker in Africa.  We’ll get to see the top three films at next year’s festival.  Also got to see NatGeo’s Wild West series, narrated by Timothy Olyphant — kind of like Rango and nature television all rolled into one.

Make a Plan

Spring skiing, lots of great films, intimate coffee talks with filmmakers, cool parties, screenings of works in progress — SVFF Year Three (it’s a magic number). See you there!