With an eye toward the March launch of the 2017 Sun Valley Film Festival, organizers shifted their spotlight to Boise with a kickoff event Thursday night in the fifth-floor multimedia studios at JUMP.
Middle- and high-school students filled the JUMP studios earlier in the day, getting some real-world experience with professional camera and editing equipment. The event evolved into a party as SVFF officials announced a list of grants and prizes for budding filmmakers of all ages.
"It's the part of the Sun Valley Film Festival I love the most," said SVFF Director of Programming Laura Mehlhaff. "This year, we have significantly more prizes to inspire filmmakers: a short film screenplay competition; the continuation of our One Potato Initiative, where were give thousands of dollars toward the production of an Idaho-made film; plus more money to help complete works-in-progress in order to push those films over the finish line."
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National Geographic filmmaker Filipe DeAndrade speaks to attendees of SVFF kickoff event from his film set in New Mexico.
As an added attraction, Mehlhaff linked up with Filipe DeAndrade, who won the festival's Nat Geo "Wild to Inspire" short film competition in 2015. At that time, DeAndrade was an aspiring filmmaker; after winning the competition, he joined National Geographic photographers on the set of professional shoots in Africa. A year and a half later, DeAndrade has on his own film set and is preparing to launch a series for Nat Geo, Untamed.
"I love you guys," DeAndrade told the gathering in Boise, his image beamed via Skype onto a large screen at JUMP. "Can I change my relationship status from 'it's complicated' to 'committed?'"
DeAndrade said his journey over the past 18 months has been "scary" and "invigorating," and "the best decision I've ever met." He spoke from his set in New Mexico, where he is filming some of North America's most unique predators in the wild for Untamed, which searches out diverse animal species in the U.S.
"Sun Valley Film Festival changed my life forever," he said.
Mehlhaff and her programming team said they were pretty busy curating a slate of films and events for the festival, which runs March 15-19, adding, "It will be here before you know it."
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Attendees of the SVFF kickoff previewed footage from filmmaker Filipe DeAndrade new series Untamed, premiering in March 2017.