The Sun Valley Film Festival returns after two difficult years

BOISE, Idaho — The Sun Valley Film Festival returns Wednesday night as this party in the mountains kicks off with a pair of iconic films, including National Geographic’s Fire of Love and an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s latest novel titled Across the River and Into the Trees.

Two years ago the film festival was canceled when the pandemic hit, last year they went virtual but the director of the festival told us it just wasn’t the same.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be back, we did a virtual one last year, which was helpful in keeping people on people’s radar screens,” said Sun Valley Film Festival director Candice Pate. “But we realized that the heart of the festival is the destination and bringing people back to Idaho and the Sun Valley to celebrate storytelling together.”

The festival will feature a new headquarters on Main Street in Ketchum and the Opera House will host many screenings which will include big names due to the Sun Valley Airport and Jackson Jet Center providing transportation for the filmmakers.

“We’re going to have a great time, people can look forward to films from all over the world,” said Teddy Grennan, the festival’s executive director. “National Geographic is one of our founding partners, they are bringing seven films to the festival.”

Some of the names at the Sun Valley Film Festival include Woody Harrelson, Amy Pohler, the cast of Outer Banks and Liev Schreiber.

Shreiber directed and starred in a film called Across the River and Into the Trees based on Earnest Hemingway’s last novel which features themes of love, war and age, Hemingway had strong ties to the Sun region Valley.

Shreiber’s film debuts Wednesday night and on Thursday, Schreiber will host a cafe, an 11-year-old film festival staple that offers aspiring filmmakers, screenwriters and people trying to break into the business a great opportunity to learn from some of the best.

“Our conference coffees are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis,” Grennan said. “The coffee is in the house, we have a relationship with Our Gorongosa who is a long-time partner of ours and they supply the coffee, everything is made in Africa.”

If Our Gorongosa sounds familiar, it’s because the cafe supports Gorongosa National Park, as do the efforts of Zoo Boise, which opened its Gorongosa exhibit a few years ago.

The Sun Valley Film Festival also offers people the opportunity to ski or snowboard, party all week long, and rub shoulders with Hollywood stars.

“We had parties Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night,” Pate said. “Our special guests and our talent are there with us hanging out on Main Street interacting, we’re letting down the velvet rope, people are letting their hair down, they’re in the mountains and they’re hanging out and enjoying great movies.”

Film festival directors are also excited about Navalny, a new movie picked up by CNN and one of many films they think they’ve gotten that’s above their pay grade.

The Sun Valley Film Festival runs Wednesday through Sunday, click here for a schedule of events.

Darcy J. Skinner