Sun Valley Film Festival, Presented by Ford, Announces 2019 Honorees and Film Slate
Meg Ryan, Aaron Paul, Alex Ross Perry and Fisher Stevens to Receive Awards;
Docs “David Crosby: Remember My Name” and “Running with Beto” to Bookend Fest;
Variety to Present Sun Valley Film Festival Pioneer Award, Screenwriters Lab and The Film Lab
Sun Valley, ID…. The 2019 Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF), presented by Ford, announced its film line-up, four of its honorees and additional information on The Film Lab and Screenwriters Lab, all taking place March 13-17, 2019. Now in its eighth year, SVFF offers five days of films, panels, parties and more, including three World Premieres.
Meg Ryan will receive the Vision Award, which is presented to an industry icon whose contributions to the art of cinema have changed the industry for the better. The award will be presented at a private dinner at the historic Roundhouse Lodge, on Saturday, March 16. Award-winning actor and Idaho native Aaron Paul will receive the Pioneer Award, presented by Variety for his groundbreaking work in television and film on Friday, March 15. He will also attend the World Premiere screening of The H Collective’s The Parts You Lose, directed by Christopher Cantwell in which Paul stars and also serves as a producer. Both Paul and Ryan will participate in individual Coffee Talks, the Festival’s crown jewel, which are moderated discussions about their careers. Alex Ross Perry will receive the Rising Star Award for Directing on Saturday, March 16, and attend a screening of his latest film Her Smell which stars Elisabeth Moss, Cara Delevingne, Dan Stevens, Amber Heard, Eric Stoltz and Virginia Madsen. Fisher Stevens will receive the Snow Angel Award on Saturday, March 16, which honors an individual for outstanding advocacy work with a focus on environmental sustainability. The festival will also screen his film Tigerland and will participate in the Nat Geo WILD’s Salon.
The festival will open on March 13 with the Sony Pictures Classics’ documentary David Crosby: Remember My Name with director A.J. Eaton attending, and close with the HBO documentary Running with Beto directed by David Modigliani. The festival will screen two world premieres documentaries Apollo: Missions to the Moon and Hostile Planet: Mountains. Additional film highlights include the highly anticipated Lionsgate film Long Shot, directed by Jonathan Levine with Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron; The Mountain directed by Rick Alverson with Jeff Goldblum and Tye Sheridan; The Parting Glass, directed by Stephen Moyer (who will attend the festival) with Denis O’Hare and Ed Asner and The Sound of Silence directed by Michael Tyburski with Peter Sarsgaard and Rashida Jones. Select films will screen at the new Argyros Performing Arts Center, which will be transformed into the Ford Main Street Theater for the duration of the Festival. Additional films, including the slate of selected short films, will be announced on the festival website at a later date.
Variety will continue to present the 2019 Screenwriters Lab with Trevor Groth (30WEST) serving as this year’s judge for the festival’s High Scribe screenplay competition, which honors an emerging voice in screenwriting. Phil Johnston will host the Screenwriters Lab. He most recently wrote and directed Ralph Breaks the Internet, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. His previous credits include the Oscar-winning Zootopia, Grimsby, Wreck-It Ralph and Cedar Rapids.
Also attending the 2019 Festival as host of The Film Lab, SVFF’s innovative work-in-progress film competition presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, is writer/director Hannah Fidell. Known for her films The Long Dumb Road, 6 Years and A Teacher, she has also directed episodes of the Hulu comedy series, Casual, the upcoming show The Act and Facebook’s Sorry For Your Loss. The Film Lab submissions are open through February 22, with Festival alumni Jay Duplass (Transparent, Jeff Who Lives at Home) as the judge. Winners of the competition will travel to the festival, where the film will be screen-tested there and taken to two additional cities for audience feedback before locking and completing the picture with Los Angeles-based post-production company The Farm, who will provide up to $185,000 in services. Additional details can be found at https://sunvalleyfilmfestival.org/experiences/film-lab/. Variety is a partner of the program.
The Sun Valley Film Festival will welcome American indie rock band Foxing as the headliner for the Saturday Night Awards Bash, one of the Festival’s most anticipated events. Last year, Foxing released their latest album Nearer My God and will be going on tour this spring. Insiders, Festival and Party passholders are invited to close out the weekend with the band on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
The Sun Valley Film Festival, presented by Ford, has a long history of supporting and creating career-changing opportunities for Idaho filmmakers and independent artists the world over. With over 4,500 yearly attendees, SVFF is quickly becoming known as the Festival for Filmmakers: a boutique event beloved by film fans and auteurs alike. In 2019, the Festival will expand its commitment to providing career-changing opportunities for independent writers and filmmakers by awarding over $200,000 in prizes through its Screenwriters Lab, the Film Lab and Wild to Inspire competitions, among others.
SVFF Honoree Bios
Aaron Paul is best known for his Emmy award-winning role as Jesse Pinkman on the acclaimed television series, Breaking Bad, and as protagonist Eddie Lane in the Hulu drama series The Path. Paul first appeared in the HBO drama Big Love alongside SVFF alum Bill Paxton and also appears as the voice of Todd Chavez in the animated series, Bojack Horseman. He will next star in Apple’s highly anticipated thriller series Are You Sleeping alongside Octavia Spencer and Lizzy Caplan and he is set to appear in the third season of HBO’s hit series, Westworld. Paul’s feature film credits include Mission: Impossible III, Need for Speed, A Long Way Down, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Central Intelligence and the upcoming The Parts You Lose. Born in Emmett, Idaho, Paul is beloved by Idaho filmmakers and enthusiasts for his riveting on-screen performances and inspirational career.
Alex Ross Perry is an American writer and director, born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He studied film at NYU. His feature directorial efforts include The Color Wheel, Listen Up Philip, Queen of Earth, and Golden Exits. Her Smell is his latest work.
Meg Ryan’s comedic appeal was widely recognized in her first Golden Globe-nominated performance as Sally Allbright in When Harry Met Sally, directed by Rob Reiner and written by Nora Ephron. She went on to star in a Ephron’s hit romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle, opposite Tom Hanks, garnering a second Golden Globe nomination. Her last collaboration with Ephron and Hanks was the romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail, which once again gained Ryan international recognition as she was awarded her third Golden Globe nomination for her role in the film. Her additional film credits include City of Angels, Addicted to Love, French Kiss, Against the Ropes, In the Cut, Kate and Leopold, Proof of Life, Hanging Up, Hurlyburly, I.Q., Anastasia, Innerspace, D.O.A., The Presidio, Joe Versus the Volcano, The Doors, Prelude to a Kiss, Flesh and Bone, Restoration, Courage Under Fire, When A Man Loves A Woman, Promised Land, The Women and Top Gun. Ryan’s directorial film debut Ithaca, was based on the novel by William Saroyan.
Fisher Stevens has been in the entertainment business for over 30 years. His versatility in the industry is evident from his wide range of credits, from acting to producing to directing, and from film to television to theater. He also works closely with the United Nations Peacekeepers, for whom he has directed various films. His political and environmental activism has been a main focus of his work, and he has directed “The Confidence Man,” the last installment of the Netflix original series Dirty Money, the climate-focused documentary Before The Flood and Mission Blue. His producing credits include Racing Extinction, The Cove and Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang. In 2017, Stevens co-founded BloomFish Productions and co-directed the two-time Emmy-nominated HBO documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016). Along with Tigerland, BloomFish is currently producing the Untitled Formula E Documentary and El Gran Fellove.
Film Slate – Narrative Features
Her Smell – Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss) is a ‘90s punk rock superstar who once filled arenas with her grungy all-female trio Something She. Now she plays smaller venues while grappling with motherhood, exhausted band mates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom. When Becky’s chaos and excess derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success.
Director/Writer: Alex Ross Perry
Producers: Matthew Perniciaro, Michael Sherman, Adam Piotrowicz, Elisabeth Moss, Alex Ross Perry
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Cara Delevingne, Dan Stevens, Amber Heard, Eric Stoltz, Virginia Madsen
In Fabric – A lonely woman (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), recently separated from her husband, visits a bewitching London department store in search of a dress that will transform her life. She’s fitted with a perfectly flattering, artery-red gown – which, in time, will come to unleash a malevolent curse and unstoppable evil, threatening everyone who comes into its path.
From acclaimed horror director Peter Strickland (the singular auteur behind the sumptuous sadomasochistic romance The Duke of Burgundy and auditory gaillo-homage Berberian Sound Studio) comes a truly nightmarish film, at turns frightening, seductive, and darkly humorous. Channeling voyeuristic fantasies of high fashion and bloodshed, In Fabric is Strickland’s most twisted and brilliantly original vision yet.
Director/Writer: Peter Strickland
Producer: Andy Starke
Cast: Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Hayley Squires, Leo Bill, Julian Barrett, Gwendoline Christie
Long Shot – He’s a hard-hitting political writer with a talent for trouble. She’s the country’s top diplomat with a talent for…well, everything. When Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) reunites with his first crush who also happens to be the current US Secretary of State, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a surprise run for the Oval Office, Charlotte hires Fred to punch up her campaign speeches and their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world affair. But Fred’s carefree indiscretions, past and present, could bring down her campaign before it even begins. The film redefines “international relations” with a profane, funny and unexpected love.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writers: Dan Sterling, Liz Hannah
Producers: Charlize Theron, A.J. Dix, Beth Kono, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Weaver
Cast: Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, O’Shea Jackson, Andy Serkis, June Diane Raphael, Bob Odenkirk, Alexander Skarsgard, Ravi Patel
The Mountain – 1950s America. Since his mother‘s confinement to an institution, Andy has lived in the shadow of his stoic father. A family acquaintance, Dr. Wallace Fiennes, employs the introverted young man as a photographer to document an asylum tour advocating for his increasingly controversial lobotomy procedure. As the tour progresses and Andy witnesses the doctor’s career and life unravel, he begins to identify with the institutions’ patients. Arriving at a California mountain town, a growing center of the New Age movement, they encounter an unconventional French healer who requests a lobotomy for his own daughter, Susan.
Director: Rick Alverson
Writers: Rick Alverson, Colm O’Leary, Dustin Guy Defa
Producers: Ryan Zacarias, Sara Murphy, Eddy Moretti, Allison Rose Carter
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Tye Sheridan, Udo Kier, Denis Lavant, Hannah Gross
The Parts You Lose – * World Premiere – The Parts You Lose follows the unlikely friendship that unfolds between a young deaf boy, Wesley, and a fugitive criminal who takes refuge in an abandoned barn on the family’s rural North Dakota farm.
Director: Christopher Cantwell
Writer: Darren Lemke
Producers: Mark Johnson, Tom Williams, Aaron Paul, Nic Crawley, Kenneth Huang, Doug Jones, Paula Van Der Oest
Cast: Aaron Paul, Scoot McNairy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
The Parting Glass – The story of a suicide and how it ripples and tears through a family – testing their bonds to each other and their memories. The family gathers in Missouri, where Colleen (Anna Paquin), now dead, was last living. Her brother, Danny (Denis O’Hare) and his two sisters, Mare (Cynthia Nixon) and Al (Melissa Leo) meet up with their father, Tommy (Ed Asner), and their sister’s estranged husband, Karl (Rhys Ifans), and they set out on an odyssey. Together, they attempt to piece together Colleen’s last moments and to make sense of her death.
Director: Stephen Moyer
Producers: Cerise Hallam Larkin, Mark Larkin, Stephen Moyer, Denis O’Hare, Anna Paquin
Writer: Denis O’Hare
Cast: Denis O’Hare, Ed Asner, Cynthia Nixon, Melissa Leo, Rhys Ifans, Anna Paquin
The Sound of Silence – A self-taught scientist, Peter (Peter Sarsgaard), works in New York City as a “house tuner”—a unique, highly specialized profession he’s invented. His clients approach him with troubles like depression, anxiety, or fatigue. After extensive analysis of their homes’ acoustic characteristics, he identifies some sonic combination that’s altering their mood —a radiator mixed with a kitchen appliance, for instance— and is able to calibrate it. On a routine house call, Peter meets Ellen (Rashida Jones), who is experiencing exhaustion. After his initial conclusion proves incorrect, Peter obsessively searches for the fault in his practice. The more Peter tries—and fails—to help her, the more Ellen’s resulting skepticism pokes holes in his previously airtight theories. Mannered, meticulous, methodical, Peter is shaken when the years he’s spent mapping New York’s natural harmonies come into question. The Sound of Silence is a serene contemplation of people living in their modern environment—and their desire to understand and even control it.
Director: Michael Tyburski
Writers: Ben Nabors, Michael Tyburski
Producers: Ben Nabors, Michael Prall, Tariq Merhab, Charlie Scully, Mandy Tagger Brockey, Adi Ezroni
Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Rashida Jones, Rony Revolori, Austin Pendleton
Film Slate – Documentary Features
Always in Season – The film explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching African Americans and connects this form of historic racial terrorism to racial violence today. The film centers on the case of Lennon Lacy, an African American teen who was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, on August 29, 2014. Despite inconsistencies in the case, local officials quickly ruled Lennon’s death a suicide, but his mother, Claudia, believes Lennon was lynched. Claudia moves from paralyzing grief to leading the fight for justice for her son.
Director: Jacqueline Olive
Producers: Jacqueline Olive, Jessica Devaney
Narrator: Danny Glover
Apollo: Missions to the Moon – * World Premiere – As the world prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Tom Jennings (“Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes,” “Diana: In Her Own Words”) uses his signature style of first-person storytelling to create an immersive account that spans the breadth and depth of NASA’s Apollo Space Program. In APOLLO: Missions to the Moon, newly transferred film and never-before-heard audio recordings recount the United States’ remarkable journey to land on the Moon before 1970. With no narration and nor modern-day talking heads; the missions are experienced entirely through archival TV coverage, radio broadcasts, home movies, NASA film and Mission Control audio that is expertly edited together to create an eyewitness-like experience.
National Geographic Documentary Films
Director: Tom Jennings
The Biggest Little Farm – It all began with a dog named Todd. Filmmaker John Chester and his wife, Molly, a private chef, promised their rescue dog a happy life, but their Los Angeles apartment just isn’t cutting it. So the couple decides to take a leap of faith and realize a long-held dream. Locating a patch of land outside the city – and a veteran farmer to shepherd them through the process – they set about building Apricot Lane Farms. As the couple faces a seemingly endless cascade of challenges from weather, predators, infestations, and disease, John documents their setbacks – and progress – over eight years.
Director: John Chester
Writers: Mark Monroe, John Chester
Producers: Sandra Keats, John Chester
Breaking Habits – Cheated by her stealing, polygamist husband of 17 years, once high-flying corporate exec Christine Meeusen fled penniless with her 3 young children as her American dream began to unravel. Determined to make a living for her family, she discovered the lucrative business of cannabis farming and met her calling as founder of medicinal-marijuana empire Sisters of the Valley. Shedding her former life, Christine became Sister Kate; on a mission to provide her products to those in need. Fighting off the county sheriff, and protecting her crop from deadly black market thieves, Breaking Habits is a story of rebellion, hope and revival. This is Sister Kate’s journey to becoming the head of a fast growing enterprise, a voice for the unheard, and create possibly the most controversial sisterhood in the world.
Director: Robert Ryan
Producers: Nick Taussig, Paul Van Carter
David Crosby: Remember My Name – A revealing and deeply personal documentary exploring the life and creative renaissance of music icon David Crosby. A cultural force for over fifty years, Crosby faced uncertain future after the 2015 dissolution of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Racked with health issues and personal obstacles, Crosby forged a new path at the age of 77. Seeking out younger musicians and recording a pair of critically-praised new albums, Crosby now sets out to make a mark in a world now so different from the generation he came to define in the 60’s. With unflinching honesty, self-examination, regret, fear, exuberance and an unshakable belief in family and the transformative nature of music, Crosby shares his often-challenging journey with humor and bite. You thought you knew him. Meet David Crosby now in this portrait of a man still tilting against every windmill, with everything but an easy retirement on his mind. This inspirational story, filled with music, will speak to loyal fans, and legions of new ones.
Director: A.J. Eaton
Producers: Cameron Crowe, Michele Farinola, Greg Marotti
Hail Satan? – Chronicling the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is an inspiring and entertaining new feature documentary from acclaimed director Penny Lane (Nuts!, Our Nixon). When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. As charming and funny as it is thought-provoking, Hail Satan?offers a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world.
Director: Penny Lane
Producer: Gabriel Sedgwick
Hostile Planet: Mountains – * World Premiere – Hostile Planet, from executive producer and Academy Award-winning cinematographer and director Guillermo Navarro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), Emmy Award-nominated producer Martha Holmes (“The Blue Planet”) and Emmy Award-winning Tom Hugh-Jones (“Planet Earth II”), draws attention to the most extraordinary — almost supernatural — accounts of animals that have adapted to the cruelest evolutionary curveballs. Hosted by survivalist and adventurer Bear Grylls, Hostile Planet zooms in on the world’s most extreme environments to reveal the animal kingdom’s most epic stories of survival on this fast and continuously changing planet. This is a drama told in an intimate manner with innovative camera technology and a lens that captures several first-ever behaviors. Facing an overwhelming host of challenges including punishing weather, an intense competition for resources and a constant predator-vs.-prey conflict, each animal’s mission is simple: adapt or die.
Executive Producers: Guillermo Navarro, Martha Holmes
Series Producer: Tom Hugh-Jones
Host: Bear Grylls
Running With Beto – This behind-the-scenes documentary follows Beto O’Rourke’s rise from virtual unknown to national political figure through his bold attempt to unseat Ted Cruz in the US Senate. Embedded with Beto for the final twelve months of his campaign, the film follows his journey in real time through intimate access to Beto, his family, and a team of political newcomers who champion a new way of getting to know a candidate — one Texas county at a time. The film reveals the challenges and triumphs of an unconventional campaign as Beto navigates an onslaught of negative advertising, inevitable strain on his family, and the pressure of delivering for legions of supporters.
Director: David Modigliani
Producers: Rachel Ecklund, Rebecca Feferman, Greg Kwedar, David Modigliani
Tigerland – Tigers are the stuff of myths and folktales, poetry and art. Half a century ago, in the jungles of India, a young forest officer rallied the world to save tigers from extinction. Today, the creed is carried on in Far East Russia by the guardians of the last Siberian tigers, who risk everything to save the species. Tigerland is the story about our relationship with one of the world’s most revered creatures.
Director: Ross Kauffman
Producers: Xan Parker, Zara Duffy, Fisher Stevens, Ross Kauffman
Passes for the 2019 Festival can now be purchased at www.sunvalleyfilmfestival.org.
About the Festival
The Eighth Annual Sun Valley Film Festival, presented by Ford, will run March 13-17th,2019. With a mission to empower independent filmmakers to share the stories that inspire change, SVFF is where storytellers from around the world come together to bring their vision into focus. This spring, we gather to celebrate the art of filmmaking with a curated slate of more than 60 cutting-edge films and TV premieres, engaging Coffee Talks with top industry insiders, fabulous parties and panels, labs and workshops led by award-winning filmmakers and the spectacular SVFF Awards Bash. Past industry guests include Gwyneth Paltrow, Clint Eastwood, Oliver Stone, Jodie Foster, Bruce Dern, Geena Davis, Mark and Jay Duplass, and more. The combination of cutting-edge programming and bona-fide insider access in a fun, relaxed atmosphere is making the Sun Valley Film Festival a rising star in the world of destination festivals.
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