Organizers of the Sun Valley Film Festival are calling this year’s event a success. Ticket sales nearly doubled from last year and eight awards were given to filmmakers.
Director Sean Baker received the Festival’s highest honor, the Vision Award, for his film Starlet. It’s about an unlikely friendship between a young aspiring actress and an elderly widow.
Producer Jesse Millward was honored with the Gem State award for his movie Craters of the Moon which he filmed in Idaho. The Festival’s founder Ted Grennan says this year’s event tried a few new ideas including the Screenwriters Lab which received more than 150 submissions.
“We are introducing new elements slowly and quickly at the same time, like the Screenwriters Lab,” Grennan explained. “I was so nervous (for the lab). I didn’t know if we would have more people on stage than in the audience and we had an unbelievable attendance.”
Organizers estimate 2,500 people attended the festival this year to see more than 30 feature length films. Long lines snacked out theatre doors for most of the films. Sunday, people were turned away because every seat was full at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum to hear Academy Award winning actress Jodie Foster.
The Festival ended with a surprise when Sun Valley’s mayor DeWayne Briscoe presented Foster with a key to the city. “We all appreciate your support of this community,” Briscoe said of Foster in a press release. Foster says she comes to Sun Valley often to ski and when her friend Ted Grennan asked for help she couldn’t say no.
“He made me do it,” Foster said. “I know a lot of people here and have friends here so it was an opportunity to come and hang out with friends and watch movies and be a part of it (festival).”
Below is a complete list of the eight winners at this year’s Sun Valley Film Festival.
VISION AWARD WINNER: Sean Baker, Starlet
The Vision Award was presented by Academy Award®-winning actress Jodie Foster and recognizes the producer's ability to keep a feature length narrative in focus during the journey of the project.
ONE IN A MILLION WINNERS:
Documentary: Uprising by Fredrik Stanton; Narrative: First Winter by Benjamin Dickinson
This award honors feature length stories made for under a million dollars. One narrative and one documentary film were recognized.
AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER: STUCK by Stuart Acher
The SVFF Audience Award is the voice of the Valley and was selected by audience text vote.
GEM STATE AWARD WINNER: Craters of the Moon by Jesse Millward
Zions Bank presented this $1,000 award to the Idaho filmmaker whose work best reflects the beauty and diversity of the Gem State.
HOT SHOT WINNER: Finding Erica Jones by Natalie Markiles
The Young Filmmaker Award was presented to best film helmed by a student under 18 years old.
SHORTY WINNER: The Test by Anthony DiBlasi
Best Short Film goes to the best short story film, no matter the genre or aesthetic.
MINI MIXED MEDIA WINNER:
DoneToMyLove & EastCoastDying by Gayse; Director Tyler Williams
This award recognizes the top music video, a webby, a sizzle reel, or a short film.
SCREENWRITER’S LAB HIGH SCRIBE: Life of the World to Come by Cody Tucker
This list courtesy of the Sun Valley Film Festival