On the evening of Feb. 15, filmmakers, movie-lovers and organizers stood shoulder-to-shoulder at The Modern, watching trailers of movies that will be screened at the fourth annual Sun Valley Film Festival
, March 4-8.
"This is a celebration of the film festival," SVFF programming director Laura Mehlhaff told Boise Weekly.
She said the party hasn't been as packed in past years, but the festival is starting to catch on. A simultaneous party took place in Ketchum as well.
"The Sun Valley Film Festival is for people who love film—any kind of film," Mehlhaff said. "We have everything from blockbusters to the obscure, stuff you might not see anywhere else."
Big names on this year's line-up include Scott Glenn in The Barber
, which screens on
opening night; Billy Bob Thornton in Cut Bank
and Neil deGrasse Tyson, who narrates National Geographic Channel's Hubble's Cosmic Journey
. Bruce Dern and Bill Paxton will participate in this year's Coffee Talks and Clint Eastwood will be honored with the festival's inaugural Lifetime Vision Award.
"We have the ability to access these filmmakers and that lets people experience film in a way that they don't normally get to," Mehlhaff said.
Several Idaho filmmakers, like Christian Lybrook, milled around the room with lemon-laced cocktails, expressing excitement for the upcoming festival. Lybrook has an especially intriguing entry in this year's film fest, which will showcase the world premiere of his project, Zero Point,
at the Magic Lantern Cinema in Ketchum. Zero Point
isn't a movie, however.
"It's the pilot episode to a series," Lybrook explained. Zero Point
follows a female detective who obsessively investigates a disease she thinks is killing children in a time of oil exploration, climate change and the proliferation of GMOs. It's the 47-minute beginning of a drama that asks bigger questions of the audience, like what would happen in a human colony collapse. The project is fueled by the trend of AMC's Breaking Bad
and Netflix's House of Cards
, as viewers are more drawn to serialized storytelling.
"Are you watching a 40-episode TV show or 40-hour movie?" Lybrook said.
Lybrook has been working on the show with his creative partner, Gregory Bayne, for two years. The pilot was shot in Boise, Nampa and Caldwell and features almost an entirely local cast. Lybrook calls it a truly "homegrown" production and said he's looking forward to the screening at the SVFF to see the reactions of the audience and gauge whether they'll be excited to see the next episode. He doesn't think this will necessarily be his big break, though.
"The days of people going to festivals to be discovered are gone," Lybrook said. "Now it's about creating relationships. It's about finding the people who care about the story, who can come into it with a creative vision."
During the course of SVFF, Ketchum "essentially doubles in size," according to Michael Tetro, an event organizer. This year, Tetro is working with Boise State University to get more students up to the festival. Through Boise State's research and economic development department, students can get round-trip bus transportation and tickets to films
, panels and parties for $100; and lodging for $25 per night.
A full list of movies can be viewed here