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Sun Valley Film Festival Revives Golden Age of Cinema

Celebrating the best of Hollywood in Sun Valley



The birthplace of Hemingway’s last novel, the backdrop of Marilyn Monroe’s Bus Stop and Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider, Sun Valley has long been a favorite escape for artists. Spend a day here, and you’ll see why. The fabled resort town strikes a balance between natural beauty and charm that guarantees nobody visits just once.

Enter the Sun Valley Film Festival: a destination event that captures all the romance and thrill of Hollywood’s heyday over one spectacular weekend in March. Between screenings, guests can hit the slopes like Gary Cooper or dance the night away in the lodge once frequented by Bing Crosby and the Glenn Miller Orchestra. But the boutique Festival is more than an homage to the Valley’s cinematic past—it’s a way to continue the legacy of storytelling and artistic collaboration that put the town on the map.

Heralded for its accessibility and pronounced intimacy, the SVFF is a welcome reprieve from the Hollywood scene, focusing instead on bringing films that matter to the people who love them. The laid-back atmosphere and diversity of attendees means you’re just as likely to share a beer (or a gondola) with a Nat Geo explorer as you are with an Oscar-winning director, but you’ll find no velvet ropes here. The Festival’s mission is simple: creating connection through the shared wonder of storytelling.

“We’re all here for the same reason,” says Executive Director Teddy Grennan, “to celebrate the art of film and the people who bring it to life.”

In addition to engaging the community through innovative programming, the Festival remains an important stepping stone for budding filmmakers, providing a platform for emerging voices in all aspects of the industry. Exposure and mentorship has helped launch the careers of writers, directors and producers, many of whom return to the Festival year after year.

The Festival has a reputation for attracting actors and filmmakers who are making a difference in the world, and 2019 is no exception. This year acclaimed filmmaker and environmental activist Fisher Stevens (Before the Flood, Grand Budapest Hotel) will attend. They will be screening his documentary Tigerland, which made headlines at Sundance earlier this year, as well as an encore screening of Before the Flood.

Highlights of the Festival include a 60+ film slate of cutting-edge indie releases, panels broaching topics from TV pitching to film activism, and the labs and conversations the Festival has become known for. Most popular are SVFF’s Coffee Talks—public conversations with some of the industry’s best and brightest that occur daily during the Festival.

Festivalgoers can also get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the process with the SVFF Screenwriters and Film Labs. While the Screenwriters Lab includes live table reads and conversations from award-winning screenwriters, the Film Lab lets the audience weigh in on a work-in-progress feature film that’s been handpicked by indie legend Jay Duplass.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the fun is over after dark—the weekend’s screenings and events are followed by a slew of raucous parties that have been known to shut down the town’s main street. Headlining this year’s closing bash is indie rock band Foxing, with more acts soon to be announced.

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