A Star-Filled Sun Valley Film Festival Returns

The stars will shine brightly in Sun Valley when the Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) returns from March 15 – 19. Celebrating its sixth year, this popular and highly-anticipated long weekend of screenings, intimate talks with industry insiders, parties, music, and big-name Hollywood stars is always one of the highlights of the year. The SVFF offers 30 feature film screenings including 5 world premieres, 16 documentaries, 14 narrative features, 25 shorts, 2 work-in-progress films, and several films fresh off their Sundance world premieres. It’s best to clear your calendar for the entire five-day event!

The legendary Geena Davis will receive the Vision Award at this year’s Sun Valley Film Festival, returning to the valley March 15 – 19 (photo credit SVFF)

And this year, the SVFF will be star-studded, indeed.  Organizers just announced that Academy-Award winner Geena Davis will be in attendance to receive the prestigious Vision Award on March 18. The Hollywood luminary will also be this year’s honoree and guest speaker at the Festival’s Grande Dame Brunch. Davis’ body of work is diverse and highly respected. Film credits include: Thelma and Louise, The Accidental Tourist, Beetlejuice, A League of Their Own, as well as the upcoming Marjorie Prime with Tim Robbins and Jon Hamm. Besides founding the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, she also started the Bentonville Film Festival in support of women and diversity in the entertainment industry. There is no question Davis is one of the most respected actors in the business.

Other accomplished stars set to receive recognition are Brett Ratner and Allison Williams. Ratner is known for directing some of the biggest hits in recent memory including the Rush Hour trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand, Family Man, and the Red Dragon. Other eye-popping credits include critical acclaim as a producer for films including The Revenant and Before the Flood.  He will receive Nat Geo WILD’s Pioneer Award on Friday, March 17.

Dozens of screenings and intimate events like Coffee Talks and Salon Talks define the Sun Valley Film Festival and delight audiences (photo credit SVFF)

Name-to-know Allison Williams will receive the Festival’s inaugural Rising Star Award on Thursday, March 16, as well as participating in a Coffee Talk discussion. Many probably know Williams from her starring role on the HBO Emmy and Golden-Globe winning television series, Girls, currently in its final season. Adding the silver screen to her accomplishments, Williams makes her feature film debut in number one box office hit Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele.

The Coffee Talk series, one of the Festival’s most popular offerings, features well-known industry insiders and actors in a very intimate venue. There is no better way to get up close and personal with some very shining stars, and also to gain insight into how the business of Hollywood and indie films works. Other big names participating in Coffee Talks this year are dynamic duo Peter and Bobby Farrelly. The brother/writer/producer comic genius team is responsible for classic comedies such as Dumb and Dumber, Me, Myself and Irene, Shallow Hal, There’s Something about Mary, and The Heartbreak Kid. They are sure to delight on Sunday, March 19 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum – the venue for all Coffee Talks.

Salon Talks also return this year, sponsored by Nat Geo WILD, and held daily in Festival HQ. Salon Talks provide a chance for Festival guests to get up close and personal with acclaimed filmmakers. Wildlife cinematographer Bob Poole, TV writer and producer Kenneth Biller, and directors Suzi Yoonessi, and Michelle Morgan will all be featured. Talks are held from 12-1:30 p.m. and seating is available only to Festival and Party Passholders. The Screenwriters Lab is another very popular offering. To learn about everything the SVFF has on the schedule, please click HERE.

Chace Crawford will present the Hotshot Award at the Future Filmmakers Forum, a venue for aspiring filmmakers during the Festival (photo credit SVFF)

If you know an aspiring filmmaker or want to see the work of the next generation of movers and shakers, be sure not to miss the popular Future Filmmakers Forum. This year, Chace Crawford and Jack Falahee will lend their celebrity and experience in inspiring upcoming directors, producers, and actors.  Held on March 18, films produced by students in grades 7 to 12 will vie for cash awards and recognition. Kipp Nelson and Scott Harris served as judges for this competition, and junior producers helped to shape the entire event. “We really wanted to also empower students for this part of the Film Festival to take the reins,” said Bex Wilkinson of the Future Filmmakers Forum. “The event has a lot of heart as well as a lot of talent.”

In addition, other big name stars including Charles Randolph, Chris Moore, Dree Hemingway, Jonathan Glickman, and Tony Hale will be in attendance for various events over the course of the weekend.

Movies are only part of the story, though. Parties and music also abound, keeping the action going well into the night. Headlining the Awards Party on March 18 at Ketchum’s Whiskey Jacques are the Lemon Twigs, brothers who NPR called “fabulously weird,” and whose music The Line of Best Fit described as “near perfect ... the best lo-fi rock & roll anthem you’ll hear this decade.” Other epic events include the Thursday Night Party for the People and the Friday Night Main Street Mix. Be sure to get your Party Pass so you don’t miss out.

The ‘fabulously weird’ Lemon Twigs headline the Awards Bash Saturday night (photo credit SVFF)

Full festival passes, party passes, individual film and panel tickets are available now but are likely to sell out so get yours now! Log onto www.sunvalleyfilmfestival.org to see all the options. Sun Valley Resort is an official lodging partner of SVFF and is offering special rates for festival passholders. Please contact reservations at 800.786.8259 and reference "Film Festival" to book at this special rate.  SVFF guests staying at the resort will also enjoy special lift ticket pricing of $89 per day.

March is one of the best months to be in Sun Valley. Between the SVFF and amazing spring skiing (the snow stake on Baldy is only a few inches from 300” total snow for the 2016-17 season), so the party will be going strong in the coming weeks. Be sure not to miss it!

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