A rich collection of independent narrative and documentary films have been selected for screening at the upcoming 2013 Sun Valley Film Festival, March 14-17.
Organizers said the selected 33 feature films were curated from hundreds of submissions by filmmakers throughout the US and 20 foreign countries.
The 2013 Sun Valley Film Festival, now in its second year, includes 18 narratives and 15 documentaries, with five world premieres. The films announced today are just a portion of the films that will be screened, with other film announcements forthcoming.
The range of subjects covered by the selected feature films is especially diverse, noted Festival Programming Director Laura Mehlhaff. “From drama, romance and adventure, to thrillers and comedy, to films that challenge the status quo in terms of storytelling, social issues, and in the craft of filmmaking itself, our goal was to curate a lineup that appealed to film lovers of all kinds,” she remarked.
Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster is scheduled to be a featured guest this year.
In addition to the feature films announced today, festival management will also be adding other new feature films, as well as selected short films, student films and music videos, all of which we’re told will be announced shortly and posted to the Festival website.
SVFF is one of the many festivals covered on Stark Insider. Look here also for coverage of Sundance, Mill Valley Film Festival, Napa Valley Film Festival and Cinequest.
SUN VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL FEATURE FILM LINEUP
An Unkindness of Ravens (Special WIP screening) * Filmed in Idaho
Producers: Heather Rae, Dori Sperko, Teddy Grennan
Directors: Randy Redroad, Russell Friedenberg
Cast: Amy Smart, Will McCormack, Joshua Leonard, Natalie Imbruglia
A group of friends reunite for their annual 4th of July holiday weekend hosted by Ellis and Wendy Conifer, a couple whose marital troubles are reaching their apex. Into this combustible mix walks Chad, a strange and beautiful nature photographer who is constantly putting himself in harm’s way through his childlike innocence and his clumsily-placed camera; but there is something not quite right about the seemingly harmless newcomer. As the weekend progresses, old wounds and new betrayals surface among the friends as Chad begins to change their lives one by one.
WIP: A “work in progress” film that is in final production stages but not yet completed.
Producer: Seth Scher
Director: Gil Kofman
Cast: Yuanzheng Feng, Yixuan An, Lu Yao
Internet celebrity Xiaoni (An Yixuan) tries to attract more clicks to her Website by forging a kidnap live broadcast. But poet Baobao (Feng Yuanzheng), who admires Xiaoni so much, thinks the kidnap is true and takes all risks to rescue her. This attempt puts both of them in danger.
Children (special WIP screening) * Filmed in Idaho
Producer: Jaffe Zinn
Director: Jaffe Zinn
Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Samantha Jacober
Two young women take a mysterious camping trip through the rugged mountains of Southern Idaho that soon begins to test their friendship and sanity.
Craters of the Moon * World premiere, Filmed in Idaho
Producers: Jesse Millward, Jacob Brumfield
Director: Jesse Millward
Cast: Cody Lightning, Breeda Wool
A young couple on a cross-country road trip loses their way in a blizzard and wind up stranded in the middle of nowhere. As the days pass, their relationship slowly deteriorates, leading to the film’s chilling climax.
Producers: Mark De Pace, Zach Mortensen, Lindsay Burdge
Director: Benjamin Dickinson
Cast: Paul Manza, Lindsay Burdge, Jennifer Kim
When winter begins, life is serene for a group of new-age Brooklynites living in a remote country farmhouse. Sex, drugs, yoga, and organic cooking absorb their days, safely tucked away from the stresses of urban life. But when a blackout of apocalyptic proportions strands them with no heat and no electricity during the coldest winter on record, their utopian commune is breached by anxiety and their idyllic harmony begins to lose its tune. As time wears on and the food supply dwindles, power struggles, jealousy, and desire threaten the group’s ability to work together in order to survive.
Executive Producers: Tom Yellin, Martha Adams
Director: Richard Robbins
Voice Overs by: Liam Neeson, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek
Girl Rising is the feature-length film at the center of 10×10’s global action campaign for girls’ education. The film tells the stories of girls across the developing world, selected in consultation with acclaimed women writers and working closely with non-profit partners. These writers are not only our collaborators, but a bridge deep into the lives of the girls themselves, telling a story that might not be captured in a traditional documentary: a voice for girls who might otherwise never be heard. Directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins, Girl Rising tells these stories in creatively re-imagined ways, through various stylistic and storytelling devices and with the voiceover talent of acclaimed actors like Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez, and Kerry Washington.
Producers: Aage Aaberge, Jeremy Thomas
Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Cast: Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Gustaf Skarsgård
In 1947, the world is gripped with excitement as the young Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl embarks on an astonishing expedition—a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean on the Kon-Tiki raft. From his days living in the Marquesas with his wife Liv, Thor suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by ancient South Americans from thousands of miles to the east. Despite his inability to swim and his fear of water, Thor decides to prove his theory by sailing the legendary voyage himself. After replicating the design of an ancient raft in balsa wood, Thor and five fellow adventurers set sail from Peru. Their only modern equipment is a radio, and they take a parrot along for company. A natural leader, Thor uses the stars and the ocean’s current to navigate the raft. After three dangerous months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, sharks, and all the dangers the ocean can muster, the exhausted crew spot Polynesia and make a triumphant landing. Having sacrificed everything for his mission, even his marriage, the success of the Kon-Tiki expedition proves bittersweet for Thor.
Producer: Alexis Nordling
Director: Don Thacker
Cast: Adrian DiGiovanni, Jeffrey Combs
Ian Folivor, depressed and reclusive, finds himself taking advice from a fungal growth after a failed suicide attempt. The Mold, a smooth talking chunk of aspergillus born from the filth collecting in Ian’s neglected bathroom, works to win Ian’s trust by helping him clean himself up and remodel his lifestyle. Ian attracts the attention of a neighbor, Leah, and begins to receive strange messages from his broken TV that make him realize that The Mold may not be as helpful and well intentioned as it seems to be. Strange characters with even stranger events cast Ian’s life a sharp relief in the shadow of an epic battle between good and evil that Ian is only partially aware of.
Sader Ridge * World premiere
Producers: Jeremy Berg, John Portanova, Matt Medisch
Director: Jeremy Berg
Cast: Trin Miller, Brandon Anthony, Andi Norris, Josh Traux, D’Angelo Midili
For years Samantha has wondered about where she came from. After inheriting a house from the family she never knew, Sam and three friends take a road trip to inspect the remote property. Soon after Sam arrives old memories come seeping back to her subconscious while jealousy and unspoken tension between the friends is forced to the surface. As relationships unravel, so does Sam’s sanity. She soon finds herself unable to tell the difference between reality and the horrible visions of brutality she can’t escape. While her world crumbles, Sam discovers that the current horrors may be tied directly to her past.
Producers: Blake Ashman-Kipervaser, Kevin Chinoy
Director: Sean Baker
Cast: Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, Stella Maeve
Starlet explores the unlikely friendship between 21 year-old aspiring actress Jane (Dree Hemingway) and elderly widow Sadie (Besedka Johnson) after their worlds collide in California’s San Fernando Valley. Jane spends her time getting high with her dysfunctional roommates and taking care of her Chihuahua Starlet, while Sadie passes her days alone, tending to her garden. After a confrontation at a yard sale, Jane finds something unexpected in a relic from Sadie’s past. Her curiosity piqued, she tries to befriend the caustic older woman. Secrets emerge as their relationship grows, revealing that nothing is ever as it seems.
Producers: Joel Michaely, Stuart Acher
Director: Stuart Acher
Cast: Madeline Zima, Joel David Moore
A hot one-night stand turns into an awkward morning after when Guy (Joel David Moore) and Holly (Madeline Zima) get stuck together in a bumper-to-bumper dead-stopped traffic jam. As they begrudgingly get know each other, we learn of their sexually raucous evening and are then led to their surprising destiny.
Producers: Rosemary Blight, Kylie Du Fresne
Director: Wayne Blair
Cast: Chris O’Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebens
Inspired by a true story, THE SAPPHIRES follows four vivacious, young and talented Australian Aboriginal girls from a remote mission as they learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertains the U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968. Cynthia (Tapsell), Gail (Mailman), Julie (Mauboy) and Kay (Sebbens) are discovered by Dave (O’Dowd), a good-humored talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. As their manager, Dave books the sisters their first true gig giving them their first taste of stardom, and travels them to Vietnam to sing for the American troops.
This Time Tomorrow
Producers: Brendan McHugh, Shane Bissett
Director: Shane Bissett
Cast: Dave Coleman, Jade Elysan
Some people believed that the world would end on December 21, 2012. Stacey, a self-defeating romanticist, was not quite sure. At the day approaches, though the world ending seems unlikely, Stacey decides that if it were the last day, he’d want to share it with his former girlfriend, Parker. Despite their complicated history, he convinces her to forget their past and embrace the idea of spending just one last day together. They wander around Philadelphia, running into old friends and falling into old patterns, rarely stopping to consider the consequences. As the day progresses, Stacey learns that sometimes it’s best to forget yesterday and live for tomorrow.
Producers: Ken Marshall, Philip Moross
Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Vanessa Redgrave, Terence Stamp, Chrisopher Eccleston
Unfinished Song is a funny and inspiring story about Arthur (Terence Stamp), a curmudgeonly old soul, who is perfectly content sticking with his dull daily routine until his beloved wife (Vanessa Redgrave) introduces him to a local seniors singing group. The group is led by the youthful and charming Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton) and her unexpected friendship with Arthur reignites his passion for new adventures and shows us all life should be celebrated at any age.
Wind Walkers (WIP screening)
Producers: Heather Rae, Dori Sperko, Elayne Schneiderman Schmidt, Ricou Browning Jr.
Director: Russell Friedenberg
Cast: Rudy Youngblood, Zane Holtz, J. Larose, Kiowa Gordon
All tribes tell stories of beasts that are said to lurk in the forests. Some call it a spirit, others call them Wind Walkers; razor thin creatures that ride the wind, howl, and search for human flesh. Wind Walkers is the story of a group of friends who head into the Florida Everglades for their annual hunting trip and soon realize that the only thing being hunted is them.
Breaking Through *World Premiere
Producers: Cindy L. Abel, Barbara Rubin
Director: Cindy L. Abel
Openly LGBT elected officials at all levels – including the first gay US Senator, Tammy Baldwin, and Idaho’s own Nicole LeFavour – share their stories of self-doubt and triumph over multiple barriers ranging from race and poverty to gender and sexual orientation, revealing a deeply personal, rarely-seen side of politicians and gay people. Though featuring politicians, it isn’t about politics: it’s about people who feel fear and shame, yearning to live meaningful lives. They reveal how they broke through internal and external barriers to achieve the future they envisioned. Showing that “anything is possible,” they impact people from all walks of life.
Code of the West
Producer: Rebecca Richman Cohen
Director: Rebecca Richman Cohen
At a time when the world is rethinking its drug policies large and small, one state rises to the forefront. Once a pioneer in legalizing medical marijuana, the state of Montana may now become the first to repeal its medical marijuana law. Set against the sweeping vistas of the Rockies, the steamy lamplight of marijuana grow houses, and the bustling halls of the State Capitol, Code of the West follows the political process of marijuana policy reform – and the recent federal crackdown on medical marijuana growers across the country. This is the story of what happens when politics fail, emotions run high, and communities pay the price.
Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth
Producers: Raoul Martinez, Joshua van Praag
Directors: Raoul Martinez, Joshua van Praag
THE LOTTERY OF BIRTH is the first in a four-part documentary series entitled ‘Creating Freedom’ exploring the relationship between freedom, power and control in Western democracies. The series draws together interviews with some of the world’s leading intellectuals, journalists and activists to offer an alternative perspective on today’s society and the future we’re creating. We do not choose to exist, or the environment we grow up in. Our starting point in life is one of passive reliance on forces over which we have no control. THE LOTTERY OF BIRTH shows that from birth onwards our minds are a battleground of competing forces: familial, educational, cultural, and professional. The outcome of this battle not only determines who we become, but the society that we create.
First Comes Love
Producer: Nina Davenport
Director: Nina Davenport
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. For filmmaker Nina Davenport, that old playground song didn’t go as planned. Single at age forty-one, she decides to have a baby on her own, never minding the odds stacked against her or the extra hurdles of living in New York City. Filming the whole process, she excels at candour and comedy. Think of a real-life Girls, only with more grown-up problems.
Heart Rock Ranch, A Conservation Story * World Premiere, Filmed in Idaho
Director/Producer: Kendall Nelson
Cinematographer: John Plummer
Editors: John Plummer, Kendall Nelson
Heart Rock Ranch, A Conservation Story, chronicles the largest private stream restoration efforts ever undertaken in Idaho. Located just across the way from Silver Creek Preserve, Heart Rock Ranch has become a world class finishing paradise that provides many benefits to local wildlife. Working together with the Nature Conservancy, the nation’s best hydrologists, biologists, and ecologists, teamed with contractors in 2011/12 to enhance over six miles of streams. Come meet the experts as they take you through the restoration process.
Ready to Fly
Producer: Whitney Childers
Director: William Kerig
Ready To Fly is that all-too-rare, true story of a woman hero who triumphs over massive obstacles to not only achieve her dream, but to change the world for other women in the process. We follow Lindsey Van and her women’s ski jumping family through their 15-year fight to achieve gender equality in the Olympic Winter Games. A character-driven documentary of pluck and determination, Ready To Fly will make you laugh, cry, and leave the theater feeling empowered. It’s a stand-up-and-cheer movie.
Running From Crazy
Producers: Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy
Director: Barbara Kopple
‘Running from Crazy’ is a documentary examining the personal journey of model and actress Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, as she strives for a greater understanding of her family history of suicide and mental illness. Through stunning archival footage of the three Hemingway sisters and intimate moments with Mariel herself, the film examines the remarkable though often heartbreaking Hemingway legacy. As Mariel comes to terms with the tragedies of her family’s past that have shaped the course of her life, deeply hidden secrets are revealed and truths emerge. Through it all, Mariel finds a way to overcome a similar fate for herself and her daughters, brings awareness to an issue she’s deeply passionate about, and discovers an inner strength and peace.
Starring Adam West * World premiere
Producer: James Tooley
Director: James Tooley
In 1966 Adam West was on top of the world. The farm boy from Walla Walla, Washington was on a meteoric rise to fame as the star of the ABC series Batman. But after three seasons, the series was cancelled leaving West typecast as the Caped Crusader. But Adam West never gave up. Through good years and bad, he continued to follow his passion, pursue his craft, and fight his way back. Starring Adam West is the story of a true Hollywood survivor, a family man, and the loyal fans who will stop at nothing to finally see their superhero justly rewarded.
UnMade in China
Producer: Francis Krow
Directors: Tanner King Barklow, Gil Kofman
UNMADE IN CHINA is an absurd and hilarious documentary about an overeager American striving to make art in a Communist regime. This documentary follows the experience of a Los Angeles filmmaker (Gil Kofman) who finds himself in Xiamen, China, trying to direct a thriller, in Chinese, using a translator. He soon discovers that the old adage of making a film three times—in the writing, shooting, and editing—is in fact the opposite in China, where his film is “unmade” three times with each subsequent stage of the process being even more excruciating and devastating than the one that came before it.
Producers: Fredrik Stanton, Alexander Davidis
Director: Fredrik Stanton
Uprising tells the story of the Egyptian Revolution from the perspective of its leadership and key organizers. Detailing their struggle for freedom against tremendous odds, their sacrifice, and the courage and ingenuity that allowed them to succeed, this film is an inside look at this important revolutionary moment. Featuring major figures including four Nobel Peace Prize nominees, several Egyptian presidential candidates, the former foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan, and former US Ambassadors and White House officials, along with never before seen footage, Uprising provides the authoritative behind-the scenes view of one of the most dramatic events of our generation.
Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West
Producers: Jill Tidman, James Redford, Renata Foucre
Director: Mark Decena
Narrator: Robert Redford
Executive Produced and Narrated by Robert Redford and Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Mark Decena, Watershed tells the story of the threats to the once-mighty Colorado River and offers solutions for the future of the American West. As the most dammed, dibbed, and diverted river in the world struggles to support thirty million people and the peace-keeping agreement known as the Colorado River Pact reaches its limits, Watershed introduces hope. Can we meet the needs of a growing population in the face of rising temperatures and lower rainfall in an already arid land? Can we find harmony amongst the competing interests of cities, agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife, and indigenous communities with rights to the water?