Remembering America’s Most Famous Antelope

Annie and her brother Andy were Sun Valley resort's first pets.

Annie and her brother Andy were Sun Valley Resort’s first pets.

 

As the Sun Valley Lodge enters the second phase of its remodel and prepares to close after Labor Day, little slices of Sun Valley’s history are being packaged up and put into storage. One such gem is a photo of an antelope.

Those who have walked down the administrative corridor in the Sun Valley Lodge basement may have spotted the photo of an antelope peering its head into the Sun Valley Inn camera shop where Tillie Arnold is working. The plaque beneath reads “Annie the Antelope.” It’s a fun, whimsical photo, and one I’d always wondered about. So, when Annie was carried off, I took the opportunity to discover her story.

Annie the Antelope was the very first Sun Valley pet. Orphaned in 1939 near Challis, she and her siblings were ferried over Trail Creek to Sun Valley Resort. Publicity pictures of movie stars bottle feeding baby antelope soon littered the country’s newspapers, and the status of Annie and her family as Sun Valley mascots was set in stone.

As they grew, the antelope were allowed to roam the grounds of the resort unfettered by fences. Annie quickly emerged as the leader, and was known for trailing her crew in and out of Ketchum saloons, usually after a long day of shopping in the stores of the Sun Valley Village.

Annie’s brother, Andy, also helped Leif Odmark and his 1952 Olympic ski team train, by acting as a pacemaker for the skiers.

“They were so cute. They´d wander the grounds and everyone would pet and love them,” longtime Sun Valley resident Clayton Stewart once said. “Annie even had her picture taken nose to nose with a Pyrenees guard dog.”

Annie’s favorite sport was to entice dogs to chase her and then delight in outracing them when she kicked into her natural super speed. She once entertained the entire Lodge terrace by running across the lawn trailing a pint-sized Scottie, hardly higher than her hoof, in hot pursuit.

Sadly, in February 1941, Annie and her son, Runt, were killed after they ran into a car on the Sun Valley-Ketchum highway. Annie was three years old at the time of her death, and probably America’s most famous antelope.

Jennifer Tuohy

Wish You Were Here!


Fishing is for Kids

Children and fishing -- an iconic image of summer made even better in Sun Valley's pristine trout streams

Children and fishing -- an iconic image of summer made even better in Sun Valley's pristine trout streams (photo Brett Wilson)

There is an undeniable attraction between children and fishing. The iconic image of little ones poised on a dock dangling a worm-baited line into the water defines the joys of a childhood summer. Replace the dock with a pristine rushing river, place the children at the edge of an eddy, replace the worm with a fly and you have Sun Valley at its finest and the beginning of a love affair with a sport that lasts a lifetime.

To get the kids started with the right wader forward, Silver Creek Outfitters offers special instruction to make the adventure as fun as it is skill building. Fly fishing camps for children ages 8 to 12 are offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and can be arranged on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well with a minimum of three participants. You bring the child, Silver Creek provides a guide, equipment, snacks and a day he or she won’t forget.

Stop into Silver Creek and get out into the river!

Stop into Silver Creek and get out into the river!

First stop is checking in at Silver Creek HQ, located at 500 North Main Street in Ketchum to gear up. Though everything they need is provided, everything they want may not be. This could include baseball caps, logo t-shirts or all sorts of fun things like binoculars and polarized sunglasses that cut the glare of the water and help you see into the river. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Then there are the flies. Again, while provided, chances are getting your camper away from the cases and cases of colorful tied feathers, thread and fur could take a while.

Once they look the part, it’s off to the river they go. My son and his best friend set off last week with kid-friendly guide Brett Wilson who whisked them away and off to their adventure in record time. Five hours later we met back up at the shop. The boys were smiling and laughing, slightly wet and full of fish tales. On their secret stretch of river, they both landed two rainbow trout and hooked into a few more. They were thrilled and considered themselves quite the fishermen, talking with ease about which flies they used and how proficiently they cast.

Boys and fish equal one huge smile (photo Brett Wilson)

Boys and fish equal one huge smile (photo Brett Wilson)

With children, though, fishing is only peripherally about catching fish. Silver Creek teaches young anglers to be hands-on and embrace the entire experience from turning over rocks to search for bugs, to sitting on the banks to enjoy a snack, to kicking up the grass and watching the hoppers fly. Fishing is an experience and all the different parts are what add up to a memorable day and get the children invested in the process of fishing.

Catching fish is only part of the fun but it is undeniably a big part!

Catching fish is only part of the fun but it is undeniably a big part! (photo Brett Wilson)

Camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and more details may be found HERE.

In my family, learning to fly fish is not an option. At about age eight, everyone is put into waders and put into the river and taught the joys of this lifetime sport. However, as with all activities that require learning new skills, sometimes it is best for the parents to leave the instruction up to the pros. Thank you, Brett, for getting the boy so excited about fishing and wanting to come back immediately and frequently!

Flies, glorious flies!

Flies, glorious flies!

If you are over the age of 12 but would like some basic instruction or a refresher, you, are also in luck. Silver Creek offers what they call “Fly Fishing 101,” a one-day introduction to the sport that covers the basics: casting, knot-tying, equipment selection, fly selection and trout food. Ready to move to the water? Graduate to “Fly Fishing 201” that offers three hours of practical instruction on the river.  Free casting clinics are also held in front of the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. A member of the guiding team will teach casting technique. Equipment is provided or you may bring your own.

Be sure to stop by the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings to learn, practice or refresh your casting skills at free clinics

Be sure to stop by the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings to learn, practice or refresh your casting skills at free clinics

Also coming up at Silver Creek Outfitters is a Tenkara Clinic called “Simple Fly Fishing” with Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard on Thursday, July 17. All the proceeds benefit Idaho Rivers United. The Fly Fishing Film Festival is also right around the corner and will be held on July 25 at the Sun Valley Opera HouseFly Fishing Fair. For full information on all classes and programs, please click HERE.

Fly fishing is one of the Sun Valley area’s finest resources and no trip is complete without getting into one of the region’s many crystal clear, trophy trout streams. Book a trip or class today for you and your children. Chances are, you’ll be hooked.

–RES

Fishing is a lifetime sport and a great family activity. Give it a try! (photo Brett Wilson)

Fishing is a lifetime sport and a great family activity. Give it a try! (photo Brett Wilson)


Giddy Up!

Growing up on the East Coast, my early perceptions of the west largely consisted of visions of horses and wide open plains – images from books and films. This reality was reinforced by trips to ‘dude ranches’ in Wyoming as a child. I mostly remember scratchy straw cowboy hats, stiff leather cowboy boots and saddle sores from vacations spent on horseback. But I also remember the gorgeous scenery and excitement of learning riding basics.

Picture yourself here. Trail rides are offered seven days a week throughout the summer in Sun Valley.

Picture yourself here. Trail rides are offered seven days a week throughout the summer in Sun Valley.

Though Sun Valley isn’t the Wild West, horseback trail riding is certainly still part of our western culture. And no trip to a dude ranch is required to get some quality time in a saddle.

The Sun Valley Horsemen’s Center, located within easy walking or biking distance of the Lodge and Inn, provides a genuine trail riding experience that is fun, scenic and great for all ability levels. During the summer, stop by the Stables, or call 208.622.2387, and book a guided one or one-and-a-half hour ride up scenic Dollar Mountain. Rides are also available by appointment.

Look for the wagon on Sun Valley Road and stop by the Horsemen's Center to reserve a trail ride or carriage ride.

Look for the wagon on Sun Valley Road and stop by the Horsemen's Center to reserve a trail ride or carriage ride.

Chana, the assistant manager at the Horsemen’s Center (who looks the part in her flannel shirt, cowboy boots with spurs and broad smile), said both rides are beautiful. The California native turned Sun Valley wrangler said the longer ride dips down the Elkhorn side of the mountain, while the shorter ride offers fantastic views of Ketchum and beyond.

“During the high season that really heats up in mid-June, we offer trail rides seven days a week,” Chana said. “The first ride goes out at 9 a.m. and the last ride at 4 p.m. Reservations are required and we can take up to eight people at one time. We cater to the ‘never-ever’, the experienced horse person and everyone in between.”

Participants must be at least eight years old, 52 inches tall and accompanied by an adult. Riders are asked to arrive at the Stables 20 minutes before their set-out time for an orientation. A one-hour ride costs $46 and the longer ride runs $59. Tax is not included.

Communing with Sun Valley's horses is a popular family activity.

Communing with Sun Valley's horses is a popular family activity.

If you don’t want to ride a horse, you can still visit with some of Sun Valley’s most popular residents. The wide pasture along Sun Valley Road is populated by some of the Resort’s gentle horses that are more often than not up for a scratch on the nose or a carrot treat.

Another way to get a taste of the western experience is to book a summer wagon ride to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner. Please call 208.622.2387 for the details on this memorable mode of transportation. Currently, wagon rides are being offered on Tuesday and Friday evenings. The cost is $28 for guests 13 years and older and $18 for ages 2 – 12. This does not include dinner.

Your limousine awaits ... Idaho style!

Your limousine awaits ... Idaho style!

Rustic takes a turn to the romantic when the horse drawn carriage ride is part of a special package in Sun Valley. First, you will be welcomed with chocolates in your well-appointed and elegant room. Then, step back in time as you board a carriage that will carry you to, and from, the sublime Trail Creek Cabin. There, a table for two awaits, either outdoors on the patio or inside in the one-of-a-kind dining room. This romantic special is $237 per person double occupancy and includes one night’s lodging and the carriage ride. It does not include dinner. For reservations please call (866) 616-8224.

Get your giddy up on!

–RES

A meal at Trail Creek Cabin is made even more special by a horse drawn carriage ride

A meal at Trail Creek Cabin is made even more special by a horse drawn carriage ride.

Free Fly Fishing Casting Clinics – Sun Valley Lodge Lawn. Tuesday – Saturday from 5:30pm – 6:30pm.

Come join the Silver Creek Outfitters professionals for a free fly fishing casting clinic. These clinics will take place Tuesdays through Saturdays on the Sun Valley Lodge Lawn from 5:30pm – 6:30pm. All equipment will be provided. For additional information please call Silver Creek Outfitters at 208 726 5282.

Sun Valley On Ice Presents Ryan Bradley. July 12, 2014.

2011 United States Gold Medalist and United States Silver Medalist Ryan Bradley headlines the July 12, Sun Valley On Ice Show. This will be a show you won’t want to miss! For tickets and additional information please visit http://www.sunvalley.com/things-to-do/iceshows/

A Walk Through History: The Sun Valley Lodge

Sun Valley Resort’s historical walking tour is a must-do for anyone visiting Sun Valley. But for those who can’t wait until they’re here to discover the secrets behind this historic resort, here is Part One: The Sun Valley Lodge. Parts two and three are coming soon.

Sun Valley Lodge

 

In March of 1936, on the spot where the Sun Valley Lodge now stands, a short, stout New York publicist surveyed what was to become his next project: a barren cattle field, waiting for the birth of a luxury ski lodge. Despite the snow filling his Fifth Avenue loafers, Steve Hannagan felt warm. The intense heat of the deep-winter Idaho sun was remarkable. In that moment, Hannagan knew how to convince the rich and famous to travel to the middle of nowhere and risk their necks hurtling down a mountainside in the decidedly uncivilized pursuit of skiing. He was going to lure them with the promise of “Winter Sports Under a Summer Sun.” He was going to call it Sun Valley.

Sun Valley Resort exists because of three men: Hannagan, William Averell Harriman and Count Felix Schaffgotsch. The brains, the money and the brawn behind the project respectively, this trio turned the then crazy idea of building a magnificent palace in the snow into a reality. Harriman, chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad, was a famous playboy whose passion for glamorous pursuits inspired the idea of creating America’s first destination ski resort at the end of one of his railroads. The promise of passenger traffic on the freight-heavy line was enough to convince UP’s board and, after a snow-seeking odyssey across the Wild West, Count Schaffgotsch found the perfect spot. Then, with Hannagan’s marketing genius, Harriman’s cash and connections, and the charming Count’s direct line to the best ski instructors in Europe, a legend was born.

STOP ONE: Stand on the path at the edge of the duck pond and take in a panoramic view of the Sun Valley Lodge. The X-shaped building is virtually unchanged from when it was constructed in the summer of 1936. Four stories high, with 220 rooms (now 148), the building rose from the ground in less than eight months and cost $1.5 million. You could be forgiven for assuming it’s a traditional wooden lodge. In fact, the walls are made from concrete, to ensure it would not suffer the fate of its architect’s previous project, the Grand Canyon Lodge, which burned to the ground three years earlier. Each “log” was made by pouring concrete into wooden molds and then staining and stenciling it to resemble wood.

STOP TWO: Walk around the pond and let one of Sun Valley’s genial doormen welcome you into The Lobby. Here you will stand in a room not much changed since Gary Cooper stepped inside on opening day, December 21, 1936. On your right is a portrait of Harriman, Sun Valley’s founder. Harriman had the Lodge furnished and decorated by Newport socialite Marjorie Oelrichs Duchin, the best friend of his wife Marie. Marjorie banished the color white from the interior, even from the linens. Instead, yellows, oranges and greens, complemented by rich red carpets and navy blue upholstery dominated the decor. When it first opened, alongside the usual requirements of a hotel, the Lodge also boasted a barber shop, a beauty parlor, a surgery department, a bachelor’s lounge (which quickly became a game room), writing rooms and, of course, a ski room. Saks Fifth Avenue also opened a store, selling the latest in skiing fashions from Manhattan that combined the style of the era with the practicalities of the unladylike pursuit of hurtling down a mountainside on two planks of wood.

STOP THREE: Step through the lobby and to your left into The Duchin Lounge. The Lodge’s premier nightspot, the lounge was originally located where Gretchen’s Restaurant is today and the Saks Fifth Avenue store was in lounge’s current location. Contrary to a popular myth, The Duchin Lounge was not named for famous forties’ bandleader Eddie Duchin, who played at Sun Valley many times, but for his wife Marjorie, in recognition of her work designing the Lodge’s interior.

STOP FOUR: Cross the lobby to Gretchen’s Restaurant. Opened in 1985 after the lobby was remodeled, it was named for America’s first Olympic skiing champion, Gretchen Fraser. Fraser was the star pupil of Sun Valley ski school director Otto Lang, who had her stand in for his friend the ice-skater Sonja Henie in the skiing scenes of Thin Ice (1937) and Sun Valley Serenade (1941). Fraser and her husband Don lived in Sun Valley for many years until their deaths in 1994. Fraser’s ashes were scattered over Gretchen’s Gold, the Baldy run named in honor of her victories at the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz.

STOP FIVE: Exit the lobby through the northern corridor, otherwise known as the Hall of Fame. Also installed in 1985, this gallery of photographs showing off many of the Lodge’s rich and famous guests was the brainchild of Earl Holding, the resort’s owner since 1977. Look for photos of the Kennedy family vacationing on Sun Valley’s slopes, local residents Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, classic crooners such as Louis Armstrong and Bette Midler, and legends of the silver screen including Clarke Gable and Claudette Colbert, all of whom were regular visitors to the resort.

STOP SIX: Continue down the hallway to the Lodge Pool. Originally intended to mimic Idaho’s natural hot springs, Union Pacific was unable to strike a deal with the State to pump its water into the pool. So the management decided to make its own. Large vats were installed in the basement to mix precisely the required minerals into the water. However, the resulting sulphuric stench was considered unbearable, and rapidly the mineral concentration was reduced just to a few teaspoons, still technically hot springs to draw people to the resort, but no longer obnoxious for those already here.

STOP SEVEN: On your way back to the lobby there is a doorway on your right that leads downstairs to the Bowling Alley. Installed in the summer of 1940, the bowling alley had been part of the original plans for the in-house entertainment of the Lodge. It joined a game room, which featured a very popular ping-pong table and a not so popular piano. One of the first guests at the resort, Gone With the Wind producer David O’ Selznick, was slightly appalled at having to pay for his ping-pong balls, especially as he kept losing them.

STOP EIGHT: Return to the lobby and take the elevator to the second floor. In front of you is the Sun Room. Offering excellent views of the ice rink and Bald and Dollar Mountains, it was once called the Redwood Room. In here, on July 17, 1954, Groucho Marx, 63, married actress Eden Hartford, 24. It was the groom’s third wedding.

STOP NINE: From the Sun Room turn left down the hall and walk towards the Lodge Dining Room. Glance down the hallway to your left. At the far end is Room 206. Arguably the most famous room in the resort, it was here Ernest Hemingway wrote the majority of For Whom The Bell Tolls on a wooden desk specially installed for the author. He first came to Sun Valley on September 20, 1939 with soon-to-be-wife number three, Martha Gellhorn. A passionate hunter, Hemingway was lured to the resort by publicist Gene Van Guilder as a way to promote the new fall season. He fell in love with Idaho, returning most years to his “Glamour House.” He finished For Whom The Bell Tolls on October 10, 1940, and sent the galleys to his publisher right from The Inn’s camera shop.

STOP TEN: Sun Valley’s grand opening dinner was held in the Lodge Dining Room on December 21, 1936. A lavish affair, Life magazine said the Lodge opened with “As fancy a crew of rich socialites as have ever been assembled under one roof.” Along with a menu featuring Beef Tea des Viveurs and Ananas Surprise Union Pacifique, guests were treated to a good old-fashioned fistfight. David O’Selznick threw a punch at a Chicago banker who presumed to ask Claudette Colbert for a dance. The resulting headline, “Sun Valley Opens With a Bang,” cemented the hotel’s place in history as the most talked about destination ski resort for decades to come.

Written and researched by Jennifer Tuohy

Click here for Part Two: The Sun Valley Village 

Click here for Part Three: Sun Valley Resort

Spring Renewal

Wonderful changes are underway at the storied Sun Valley Lodge

Wonderful changes are underway at the storied Sun Valley Lodge

As March wound down, one chapter of Sun Valley’s storied history came to a close, while another one began to be written. On Saturday night, March 29, the elegant Lodge Dining Room hosted its final dinner, while on Sunday the 30th, hundreds gathered in the iconic room, the “grand dame” of the Sun Valley Resort, to feast on one final Sunday brunch. On April 1, the beautiful, tiered space with its rounded walls and floor-to-ceiling picture windows, began its transition as a central part of a spectacular new renovation that began earlier this week.

Among the revelers at Saturday night's party at the Lodge Dining Room were Mike and Carole Sampson and their guests Dr. David and Patti Puz. Mike, a local real estate agent, said, "Carole and I have been doing Christmas dinner at the LDR since the Holdings bought Sun Valley.  I was a ski instructor and she owned an interior design business. It Happened in Sun Valley!"

Among the revelers at Saturday night's party at the Lodge Dining Room were Mike and Carole Sampson and their guests Dr. David and Patti Puz. Mike, a local real estate agent, said, "Carole and I have been doing Christmas dinner at the LDR since the Holdings bought Sun Valley. I was a ski instructor and she owned an interior design business. It Happened in Sun Valley!"

The Lodge Dining Room will morph into a portion of a glorious new spa, salon and fitness center, part of a large renovation project announced last month by the Sun Valley Resort aimed at continuing to make the Sun Valley experience an unforgettable one for guests. The new 20,000 square foot facility will offer resort guests and the local community all the pampering they could ever wish for in an atmosphere designed to interact harmoniously with the area’s spectacular surroundings. Fifteen private treatment rooms for individuals and couples, steam and sauna facilities, large plush locker rooms, relaxation lounges, a yoga studio and large fitness facility filled with the latest and best aerobic and strength training equipment will add tremendously to the full Sun Valley experience. The views of Baldy should be pretty spectacular, too. And for you Lodge pool fans (like me), no worries. The wonderful, warm, round pool will remain in an improved form that includes a spacious deck and new food and beverage service.

The spa addition is just part of enhancements planned for the Lodge that was originally constructed in 1936 as America’s first destination ski resort. In addition to the spa, the project’s plans include creating guest suites with fireplaces and expanded bathrooms. Visitors will also be greeted in a lobby with enhanced space for gathering and comparing notes – whether they are about the best run of the day or the largest trout netted. Exciting restaurant plans are also in the works.

The iconic and wonderful year-round Lodge pool will receive some improvements during this project

The iconic and wonderful year-round Lodge pool will receive some improvements during this project

The Sun Valley Lodge, however, will still be the Sun Valley Lodge with its unique and welcoming character that generations of visitors have enjoyed. According to the Resort, “With these improvements, the utmost care will be taken to maintain the character and essence of this magnificent historic building that was originally designed by Stanley Underwood in 1935.  For nearly 80 years the Sun Valley Lodge has been recognized as an icon of architecture, hospitality, comfort and entertainment.  As the pictures in its hallways display, it has been a place where movie stars, dignitaries and other celebrities come together with kids, families, locals and visitors of all walks of life throughout the world to enjoy the beauty and recreation that Sun Valley has to offer.”

“There are few more enduring icons of quality and hospitality in the world than the Sun Valley Lodge.” said Carol Holding, resort owner for the last 37 years with her late husband Earl. “Our family has loved Sun Valley for over three decades.  We have always tried to make it better while maintaining the personal and intimate feeling that makes it so special.  We want to keep the wonderful feeling of the Lodge while at the same time providing the modern comforts and conveniences that our guests expect, fitting the Lodge for the next 75 years of fun in the sun.”

The view from above on April 3

The view from above on April 3

For Resort guests, the changes should be largely seamless. According to Dick Andersen, Director of Hotels, starting April 1, this first phase of the much anticipated remodel will not interrupt “business as usual.” Everything at the Lodge will be in full operation through April 6 with the exception of the current Salon that will reopen April 3 in a new, temporary location at the former Signatures and Gift Shop in the Sun Valley Village.  Signatures and Gifts can be found adjacent to Pete Lane’s in the Village during the renovation. The Business Center has also temporarily relocated to the Village and the Lodge concierge is happy to also assist guests with business needs and services like printing boarding passes.

Beginning April 7, the Lodge pool will close but the Inn pool will remain open daily 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

At this time, the Spa will join the Beauty Salon in the Village and the Fitness Center will move down the hallway toward the public bathrooms in the Lodge.

Stop by the Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa, now located in the Village, for the best pampering around

Stop by the Sun Valley Salon and Day Spa, now located in the Village, for the best pampering around

Sun Valley has retained the Boston design firm of Frank Nicholson Inc and local architects Ruscitto, Latham, Blanton to oversee the project.  Having worked together for over two decades for the Holdings in Sun Valley, this design team is very familiar with the needs and character of the resort.  Their prior projects include: River Run Lodge 1994, the Sun Valley Inn and Ballroom expansion 2003, Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge 2004, the Sun Valley Lodge improvements in 1996 & 2004 and the Sun Valley Pavilion 2008. 

Full renovation of the Lodge begins in September and both projects are expected to be completed by June of 2015. According to Tim Silva, Sun Valley’s General Manager, “We anticipate completing both projects by June of next year.  We are pleased that during construction the Sun Valley Inn, cottages and condominiums as well as restaurants, retail shops and entertainment venues will be fully operational to accommodate Sun Valley’s guests.”

It is an exciting time in Sun Valley as everyone looks toward the future and toward offering the finest year-round experience for our guests. I, for one, can’t wait for the new spa. Even though I was always a loyal fan of the Lodge Dining Room, this will be a wonderful reinvention of a wonderful space: one that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Stay tuned to this blog for updates on the renovations and exciting developments at the Sun Valley Resort.

–RES

Family of Women Gather in Sun Valley

Welcome film fans!

Welcome film fans!

The seventh annual Family of Woman Film Festival returned to Sun Valley this week, bringing both rising and established documentary filmmakers to town to screen movies guaranteed to provoke thought, spur conversation and encourage action. This year, the weeklong event, running through March 10, focuses on the subject of education for women throughout the world.

This year’s theme “advocates for the empowerment of women and girls,” according to festival organizers. Events include not only the screening of powerful films at the Sun Valley Opera House, but intimate discussions with the filmmakers, the first Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture for the Health and Dignity of Women, receptions, events at Ketchum’s Community Library and much more.

On Friday, filmmakers Allison Shigo, Freida Lee Mock and Alexi Pappas joined other directors for an intimate, casual roundtable at the Sun Valley Lodge

On Friday, filmmakers Allison Shigo, Freida Lee Mock and Alexi Pappas joined other directors for an intimate, casual roundtable at the Sun Valley Lodge

On Friday, five filmmakers gathered in the Sun Room at the Sun Valley Lodge to take part in a media roundtable discussion. Filmmakers Allison Shigo, “A Walk to Beautiful,” Academy and Emmy-Award winner Freida Lee Mock, “Anita,” Jeremy Teicher and Alexi Pappas, “Tall as the Baobab Tree,” and Annie Eastman, “Bay of All Saints,” spoke about their projects in a casual, intimate atmosphere.

In addition to discussing their work, the artists all said how much they enjoyed participating at this festival in Sun Valley. Allison Shigo, who first brought her Emmy Award-winning documentary to the 2009 Family of Woman Film Festival and returned for a Filmmaker Update said, “I really enjoy this festival. There are so many fascinating filmmakers and the global perspective is inspiring and thought provoking.”

Annie Eastman said she was enjoying her first trip to Idaho to screen her film, "Bay of All Saints."

Annie Eastman said she was enjoying her first trip to Idaho to screen her film "Bay of All Saints."

This trip marked Eastman’s first time to Idaho and she said she was “just thrilled to have been picked.” She called Family of Woman “such a different festival experience.”

All the filmmakers acknowledged that part of what makes this festival unique is the opportunity to spend time with the other exhibitors, as well as members of the community. “We really get the opportunity to get to know each other,” Eastman said.

Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock's next film focuses on Anita Hill (photo Anita Hill American Film Foundation)

Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock's next film focuses on Anita Hill (photo Anita Hill American Film Foundation)

Freida Lee Mock, who may be best known for the Oscar-award winning film, “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision,” said how happy she is to be back in Sun Valley. The film she brought this week, “Anita,” about the life of Anita Hill, will be released nationally in two weeks, so this experience was akin to the calm before the storm. Mock also glanced out the plate glass windows over Dollar Mountain and the iconic outdoor skating rink and smiled, “where else can you go skating, enjoy that amazing hot pool and still draw a fantastic, engaged audience to your film?”

Teicher agreed, “we really wanted to come because of the intimacy of this film festival. It’s a great way to connect with the a passionate audience and the other filmmakers.”

Filmmaker Jeremy Teicher said he appreciates the opportunity to get to know fellow directors at this festival as well as its global nature

Filmmaker Jeremy Teicher said he appreciates the opportunity to get to know fellow directors at this festival as well as its global perspective

Also in attendance was Festival founder Peggy Elliott Goldwyn whose commitment to human rights and the health and dignity of every woman compelled her to create this forum.

The Family of Woman Film Festival is closely aligned with the United Nations Population Fund. Goldwyn joined the board of this organization in 2003 and according to a statement, “one of my main duties was to make the American public aware that the UN had a women’s agency and of the remarkable work it did. My first thought was to use film – but how?” This longtime part-time resident decided Sun Valley was the perfect place to find the support she needed to make this dream a reality.

Three years ago, photographer and philanthropist Stephanie Perenchio joined Goldwyn as co-chair of the festival. The commitment and capability of these two women and the organization’s many volunteers and supporters saw the festival grow. Screenings moved to the Sun Valley Opera House and the festival partnered with the Sun Valley Company to continue to bring the filmmaker’s messages to bigger audiences.

Screenings for the Family of Woman Film Festival take place at Sun Valley's historic Opera House

Screenings for the Family of Woman Film Festival take place at Sun Valley's historic Opera House

Perenchio said in a statement, “It’s one thing to read about intolerance or gender persecution in the newspapers; it’s a significantly different thing to see the stories unfold on the big screen. To have a chance to talk with filmmakers or people featured in these films adds a layer of understanding.”

The passion for the projects this year’s featured filmmakers brought to Sun Valley was readily evident in their careful, thoughtful responses at Friday’s roundtable. While we in Sun Valley may not think every day about issues such as early marriage for Senegalese girls, obstetric fistula in Ethiopia, or the plight of single mothers in Brazil fighting for their homes, audiences here embrace opportunities to learn about issues challenging women throughout the world and look forward to the eighth installment of the Family of Woman Film Festival next spring.

For the festival’s schedule, please click HERE.

–RES

Christina Healy Trunk Show – Sun Valley Lodge Gift Shop 2pm – 5pm

Come check out the latest designs by Christina Healy at the Sun Valley Lodge Gift Shop from 2pm – 5pm on Friday, February 21st.