Idaho-Based Smoke Signals Opening Night of Sun Valley Film Festival 

click to enlarge The Kuna caves are among the multiple Idaho backdrops for the Idaho-based Smoke, based on Alan Heathcock's short story. - SMOKE
  • Smoke
  • The Kuna caves are among the multiple Idaho backdrops for the Idaho-based Smoke, based on Alan Heathcock's short story.

Standing before an audience at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum, bestselling Boise-based author Alan Heathcock lifted a glass of lager and said, "cheers." 

With that simple toast, he helped usher in the fifth annual Sun Valley Film Festival and the world premiere film adaptation of "Smoke," one of the short stories folded into Heathcock's bestseller VOLT, which was hailed as one of the best books of 2011.

"Driving over here from Boise today, I was thinking about the life of Smoke," he said. "It started when I was 9 years old and my grandfather told me a story."

Heathcock can add executive producer to his already decorated resume, which includes bestselling author and Boise State University professor. He provided oversight to Boise directors/producers Cody Gittings and Stephen Heleker, who approached Heathcock about bringing his short story to the big screen. The result of those efforts was Wednesday night's SVFF premiere of Smoke, featuring two must-see performances from Joel Nagle and Amadeus Serafini and some beautiful Idaho backdrops.

"We shot the film in Sweet, Idaho, among the cliffs of Bogus Basin outside of Boise, the fields of Cascade in Valley County and the Kuna caves," Gittings told the premiere audience.

The Kuna caves might as well be credited as a co-star, with beautifully lit, rare beams of light in one of the 43-minute film's pivotal scenes.

"We only had two hours, from noon to 2 p.m., to catch that beam of light just right," said Gittings.

Boise audiences will get their first viewing of Smoke when it screens Wednesday, March 23 as part of Filmfort, the film festival extension of the Treefort Music Fest.

Smoke Teaser from Cody Gittings on Vimeo.

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