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Sun Valley Film Initiative

The Festival is only one part of what we do. We are also a 501 (c)(3) charitable non-profit. Over the years, we’ve built up important support for storytellers. Since 2012 we have created opportunities for storytellers and propelled emerging voices with grants, education and professional guidance.

But it’s not enough. We want to be the alma mater of the next wave of award-winning storytellers. We’re working to support these programs year-round. This is why Laura Mehlhaff, who’s been with the festival from the beginning as Director of Programming, will now transition to Director of the Sun Valley Film Initiative.

If you’re interested in supporting the Initiative and learning more, please contact us with the form at the bottom of the page.

SVFI develops professionals

  • Wild to Inspire promotes nature-based stories and helps artists fund more films, earn recognition and gain professional experience.
  • Future Filmmakers Forum develops young artists by helping them build a network, earn recognition and learn through professional mentoring.
  • Screenwriters Lab matches talent with opportunity, helps writers build their network, earn recognition and find work.
  • Film Lab helps finish films and bring more quality stories to the world.
  • 1 Potato promotes filmmaking in Idaho by funding films, and providing a network and advisors.
  • Emerging Artist Grant– New for 2021- Support for new voices in film as they face vital career transitions

SVFI illuminates the process of storytelling

  • Panels focus on current industry topics with a spectrum of artists and experience.
  • Coffee Talks inspire the dream. It brings stars down to earth, so we can all understand the work that drives excellence.
  • Salons help artists further their craft and answer current questions.

In less than a decade, we’ve made significant progress. We’ve supported hundreds of filmmakers, both emerging and established.

By the numbers

  • Given over $245,000 of in-kind support
  • Granted more than $65,000 in cash
  • Hosted more than 500 storytellers
  • Made over 100 hours of film and industry knowledge free and accessible to the community

Join us in the next chapter of our story as we support filmmakers not only during the Festival, but throughout the year.

Success Stories

Filipe DeAndrade won our Wild to Inspire competition and went on to secure his dream job as a National Geographic filmmaker with his own show.

Ben Nabors (left) turned his SVFF short into a feature High Scribe winning screenplay that was developed into a film with an award-winning cast, culminating with its world premiere at the Sundance film festival.

Samantha Silva, a screenwriter, found support, empowerment and a love of directing film after being selected for 1 Potato.

Charlene deGuzman (right) won Film Lab and used the feedback and funds to finish her film, which premiered at SXSW, and landed a distribution deal.

interested in supporting the Initiative? Please get in touch.