The Sun Valley Film Festival has grown by leaps and bounds in its third year, but still retains the charm of a smaller festival. That means that the filmmakers are accessible, the national media has yet to arrive and the films are personal and authentic.
The best part about planning a vacation in a resort town like Ketchum/Sun Valley is that you can do all of your resort stuff as well as being part of an artistic community for a few days. Sun Valley is (one of) the best ski mountains in the country. You can do all of your outdoor activities (skiing, sledding, tubing, ski skating, cat-skiing, etc.) and then play with the indoor people (artists) at night. There are lots of films to choose from – documentaries, shorts, dramas, comedies and even works in progress presented by the filmmakers. There is more to a vacation than just eating and spa-ing. (Although there is plenty of that in Sun Valley as well.)
One of the more intimate events at the Festival are the Coffee Talks, held at the NextStage Theater. Hosted by Boise State University, the three Coffee Talks featured producers Ron Yerxa and Jim Burke (Election, Nebraska), actress Mariel Hemingway – on her home turf, and Kevin Smith, at the festival for the 20th anniversary screening of Clerks. Each reflected on aspects of the business that you don’t get to hear about in magazines, from what they’re looking for in their next film to private stories about getting into the film business.
And the films: Opening the festival was The Face of Love with Annette Bening and Ed Harris. Arie Posin, the film’s director did a Q&A following the film, explaining how he had to alter the script to make the financing work (add an actor, cut a scene). Luckily for him this added Robin Williams to the cast – making it a perfect score for his first choice in casting the leads. Sometimes, the planets do align.
Of course, there is plenty of music and parties after the films. This year, J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. and the Nashville band, Those Darlins, played the festival parties.
The Sun Valley Film Festival runs the third week of March, which meant incredible spring skiing this year. The caliber of ski conditions, the proximity to the film community and the luxurious setting of Sun Valley makes this a great getaway – without the kids.
Elizabeth Rodgers is an avid traveler, award-winning filmmaker and Los Angeles native who lives in Boise, Idaho. She is also someone who never thought in a million years that she would live in a place like Boise… and she loves it.