SNEAK PEEK: Sun Valley Film Festival Kicks Off This Weekend

2013-03-13T12:00:00Z SNEAK PEEK: Sun Valley Film Festival Kicks Off This WeekendBy Karen Bossick For the Times-News Twin Falls Times-News
March 13, 2013 12:00 pm  • 

SUN VALLEY • Buhl native Jaffe Zinn watched his film "Magic Valley" win a couple major awards during last year's inaugural debut of the Sun Valley Film Festival.

He's back for this year's festival, which runs through Sunday, March 17.

Zinn will show his film "Children," about two young women who take a mysterious camping trip through southern Idaho, He filmed parts in Sun Valley, McCall, Fairfield and at Balanced Rock. And he appears in a small part in his college buddy friend Benjamin Dickinson's film "First Winter."

The film - which will be shown at 2:55 p.m. today at the Magic Lantern Cinemas in Ketchum - revolves around a group of Brooklynites in a remote country farmhouse who begin to turn against one another as food supply dwindles during a winter of record-breaking cold.

"It's not a scripted film,” said Zinn, who now lives in New York. “It started with a general premise. It's an experimental way of making films - something you don't see too much in American cinema but something that's more common in European cinema. And it was an interesting experience.”

Conversely, his "Children" is a "work-in-progress" screening, which means that audience will be able to watch the latest draft from beginning to end and offer feedback that might change the finished version.

Zinn will discuss his work in progress during a free coffee talk at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 16 at nexStage Theatre in Ketchum.

"Showing it to the audience is an important part of the process because you can see the reaction," he said.

Though only in its second year, USA Today recently recognized the Sun Valley Film Festival as one of "10 great places for a fabulous film festival."

This year's lineup of celebrities includes Sun Valley's own Mariel Hemingway, who is present for her film "Running from Crazy," as well as her daughter's film "Starlet."

Jodie Foster, who has been coming to Sun Valley for years, has agreed to do a free Coffee Talk Sunday morning, March 17. In addition, she’ll present the Vision Award during the closing ceremonies that evening.

The festival, she said, pairs her two favorite things: skiing and movies: "Bringing them together in one spot? My idea of heaven."

Will McCormack, producer of "Celeste and Jesse Forever," hosts a Sun Valley screenwriter's lab.

"Californication" star Patrick Fischler is premiering his short, "The Test." And Robert Redford might attend the premiere of his son's film,"Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West," said Deborah Knapp, executive director of Wild Gift, which is sponsoring the film.

James Tooley, a graduate of Sun Valley's Community School, will show his film, "Starring Adam West," which chronicles his effort to get his father-in-law a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Tooley said it's fitting that he will premiere the film in the same theater where he presented his Community School senior project in 1990.

"I had no intention of making a film about my father-in-law, but the more time I spent with him, the more I wanted to document," he said. "Most people know that Adam was incredibly successful in the late ‘60s and early '70s with his iconic portrayal of Batman on the ABC series.

“Fewer people know about his subsequent struggle to break free from that role. He's a man who has had incredible highs and lows both professionally and personally. His story is a fascinating tale of a Hollywood survivor but it 's also much deeper than that."

Programming Director Laura Mehlhaff selected the 60 films that will be shown this year from hundreds of films submitted from 22 countries around the world. Nearly all the films will have filmmakers, directors, writers, producers, actors and even makeup artists on hand to do question and answer sessions with the audiences.

"We even got two films from Iran-places you wouldn't expect there to be independent films," Mehlhaff said.

Mehlhaff and others also went through hundreds of screenplays to select three for the screenwriter's lab. Actors will sit around table reading the scripts just as they do for scripts being considered for films

"It's an amazing intimate experience that offers you a look at the process whether you're interested in screenwriting or not," she said.

The opportunity to interact with directors, screenwriters and actors is one of the beauties of the Sun Valley Film Festival, Mehlhaff said.

"I've been to the Sundance Film Festival 10 times and it's an amazing festival,” she said. “But it's very difficult to get involved with on a personal level because it's so big and so crowded. You don't get to interact with the filmmakers there, as you do here.”

Zinn said he loved the chance to show "Magic Valley" to Idaho audience last year after showing it at festivals throughout the world.

"The film gave other audiences a window into the lives of this small community, a lot of which was filmed around Buhl and Hagerman,” he said. “But the people I showed it to here got what I was doing."

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