A Young Festival, Off to an Amazing Start
On Sunday night, following the Awards Ceremony, the second Sun Valley Film Festival was, as they say in the movie biz, a wrap. Filmmakers, producers, screenwriters and fans gathered at Ketchum’s nexStage Theatre for the presentation of awards including the Vision Award, recognizing “the producer’s ability to keep a feature length narrative in focus during the journey of the project.”
Starlet’s Sean Baker was the deserving winner of the Vision Award and not only got to take home bragging rights and a lovely engraved award, but he also got to share the stage with two-time Academy Award wining actress, director and producer Jodie Foster. Foster graciously presented the award, keeping the attention on Baker, and was heading off stage when the Festival’s Marketing and Publicity Director, Candice Pate, summoned her back.
“Ms. Foster,” Candice laughed, “we’re not quite through with you!”
Back in the spotlight, Foster was introduced to Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe who presented her with the Key to the City. Mayor Briscoe thanked Foster for lending her support, credibility and star quality to the Festival.
But the focus really remained on the films at the awards ‘closing ceremony.’ The winner of the Gem State Award was Craters of the Moon by Jesse Millward and Stuck by Stuart Acher nabbed approval with the Audience Award. A full list of award winners is available here. Congratulations to all the award recipients, as well as the lucky audience winner of two round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines, one of the Festival’s primary sponsors.
The mood at nexStage was celebratory and festive throughout the evening, as Master of Ceremonies Mat Gershater kept the event moving along — no need for music from Jaws to get these winners to cut short their thank you speeches. Optimism and exuberance were the key words of the night and of the Festival, in general, as it stands poised on the brink of greatness.
In fact, Trevor Groth, Programming Director for the well-established Sundance Film Festival and a judge for the Sun Valley Film Festival, said the vibe and energy in Ketchum and Sun Valley over the weekend evoked a nascent Sundance. Ted Grennan, Executive Director of the Sun Valley Film Festival, was positively delighted with the weekend as he and Candice thanked their loyal and overworked staff, dedicated volunteers, the filmmakers, production crews, screenwriters and everyone else for stepping up to put on such a terrific event.
Caspar von Winterfeldt, SVFF board member and judge concluded, “The Film Festival has undoubtedly reinvigorated the incredible Hollywood legacy here in Sun Valley. It is drawing talented filmmakers to the valley and that to me is special. I look forward to many more festivals ahead!”
As I looked around the casual gathering of talented film folk and film buffs alike, I took a moment to think, remember this right now. It isn’t going to last. Chances are, the Sun Valley Film Festival, with the backing of our wonderful community and the amazing talent it attracts, will grow into something truly substantial, truly fabulous. It is exciting to see the beginning of the next chapter of filmmaking, and making film history, in Sun Valley.
Congratulations to everyone who played a part in creating this seamless event. The image of Sun Valley that is inextricably linked with Hollywood and filmmaking is finding a new incarnation, indeed.