Tuesday, March 8, 2016

5th Annual Sun Valley Film Festival Wraps and Announces Award Winners.

March 8, 2016






  • Oliver Stone Honored with Lifetime Vision Award
  • Mark Duplass Receives Pioneer Award, Bruce Dern Receives Harriman Award
  • Louder than Bombs Producer Ron Yerxa Picks up Vision Award
  • Babushkas of Chernobyl and MAscore One In A Million Award
  • Don’t Worry Baby wins Audience Award
  • To the Explorers wins WILD TO INSPIRE
  • Bunker 77 wins The Film Lab
  • Matthew Wade wins Idaho Gem State Award

Academy Award winners Oliver Stone, Melissa Leo and Academy Award nominee Bruce Dern at 5th Annual Sun Valley Film Festival Lifetime Vision Award dinner honoring Oliver Stone in Sun Valley, ID. 

Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images


Sun Valley, ID….The 5th annual Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF), presented by Zions Bank, wrapped up a successful, high-energy festival with an intimate Saturday night dinner for SVFF Lifetime Vision Award recipient Oliver Stone, and a lively awards party hosted by comic Seth Herzog. Music by The Joy Formidable entertained the crowd as the winners, filmmakers and movie lovers celebrated into the night. The Festival concluded Sunday with a Coffee Talk by filmmaker Oliver Stone and encore screenings of some of the Festival’s most popular films.


“It was another big hit,” said SVFF executive director Teddy Grennan.  “We couldn’t be more pleased with the continued growth of the festival. We sold out of our Festival, Party and Film Passes on the eve of the Festival, and had sold out films, panels and shows. We had close to 150 filmmakers and other special guests here, including some of the top legends in the industry. The feedback has been incredibly positive from both the filmmakers and the audiences. People really appreciate our focus on quality and accessibility with our unique film selections and opportunities to hear from renowned industry veterans.”


The Festival’s Lifetime Vision Award was presented to Academy Award®-winning director Oliver Stone, in honor of his long, remarkable, award-winning career as a visionary filmmaker. Upon receiving the award Stone remarked, “It has been a truly beautiful experience being here, it’s a special spot in the world, a bit of a Shangri La.  I have met so many young filmmakers, and it has been inspiring because they care, and are fighting. I fear though that the clouds are darkening again in the world, the danger is growing so I really, really pray for peace.” 


The SVFF features a diverse list of awards including film awards, screenwriting competition awards and special signature awards.


Film Awards


Vision Award: The Vision Award recognizes a producer’s ability to keep a dramatic, feature length film in focus during the journey of the project.

WINNER: Ron Yerxa, Louder Than Bombs


One In A Million Awards: The One In A Million Awards honor feature length stories made for under one million dollars. One narrative and one documentary film are each awarded.

DOCUMENTARY WINNER: Babushkas of Chernobyl, Directors: Holly Morris & Anne Bogart 

NARRATIVE WINNER: MA, Director: Celia Rowlson-Hall   


The Audience Award: Voted on by movie goers.

WINNER: Don’t Worry Baby, Director: Julian Branciforte, Producers: Nick Shore, Brendan McHugh, Thomas Kaier


Shorty Award: Best Short Film goes to the best short story film, no matter the genre or aesthetic.

WINNER: Too Legit, Director Frankie Shaw


Gem State Award: Presented by Festival sponsor Zions Bank, this $1,000 jury prize recognizes an Idaho filmmaker whose work best reflects the beauty and diversity of the Gem State.

WINNER:  Matthew Wade, Plena Stellarum 


Hot Shot Award: The Future Filmmakers Forum presents the Hot Shot Award to the best film by a student filmmaker under 18 years old along with a $1000 cash prize, sponsored by the Marshall Frankel Foundation. The award was presented by actor Jack Falahee.

WINNER: Dora Schoenberg, The Story of Three rings: A Memoir of Dana Schwartz 


Film Jury members included industry journalists Stephen Galloway, Katherine Tulich, Brandon Harris and Mark Rabinowitz.


SVFF Film & Screenwriting Competition Winners

Nat Geo WILD TO INSPIRE: The 3rd Annual WILD to INSPIRE prize receives an opportunity to study filmmaking and wildlife in the Maasai Steppe landscape in Tanzania, Africa with Emmy Award winning cinematographer, Bob Poole. This competition is a result of a unique SVFF partnership with Nat Geo WILD.

WINNER: To the Explorers, by Alex Goetz & Justin Grubb

High Scribe: The SVFF Screenwriters Lab High Scribe competition gives finalists an opportunity for one-on-one meetings with some of the industry’s finest to discuss their work; the winner receives mentoring from an experienced professional. The lab host was actor-writer-director Mark Duplass and judge was Academy Award® winning screenwriter Nat Faxon.

WINNER: Ben Nabor and Michael Tyburski, Palimpsest


One Potato Winner: The One Potato short screenplay competition awards the screenwriter a $5000 stipend to go towards shooting their film in Idaho.

WINNER: (tie)

Eva Konstantopoulous, There Is No Arthur

Kevin Nielsen, Death by Acquaintance


The Film Lab: Tito’s Handmade Vodka presented The Film Lab, hosted by Trevor Groth, the Director of Programming for Sundance Film Festival. Two Work-In-Progress films duked it out for $5000 in finishing funds, and both received the unique experience of a ‘soft launch’ as they work to finalize their film.

WINNER: Bunker77, Director Takuji Masuda, Producers Art Brewer & Craig Stecyk


SVFF Special Awards

SVFF LIFETIME VISION AWARD: The SVFF Lifetime Vision Award pays tribute to an individual who has provided the keen insight, influence, and initiative to fulfill a creative vision.

HONORED: Oliver Stone

PIONEER AWARD:   The new SVFF Pioneer Award honors an individual whose career choices are reflective of a true trailblazer.

HONOREDMark Duplass


HARRIMAN AWARD:  The Harriman Award is presented to an individual whose diverse body of work embodies the innovative spirit of Sun Valley’s founder, Averell Harriman. 

HONORED:  Bruce Dern


SNOW ANGEL AWARD: The new SVFF Snow Angel Award is given for outstanding advocacy work in environmental sustainability. Award was presented by actress Amy Smart.

HONORED: Dianna Cohen, CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition 



2016 Festival Panels

Other signature Festival programs that were jam-packed with locals and out-of-town guests from across the country, included:


Coffee Talks, where industry experts offered their insights to festival audiences each morning, featured legendary Academy Award® winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, notable film producer and Project Greenlight creator Chris Moore, actress Amy Smart and HGTV star Carter Oosterhouse.

Screenwriters Lab, featured an entertaining talk by Mark Duplass, followed by a live table read of a portion of the winning High Scribe script, Palimpsest, with actors Nat Faxon, Will McCormack, Jennifer Lafleur, Ross Partridge, Michael Weaver, and Jordan Kenneth Kamp.


• Informal midday Salon Talks with National Geographic fellow and investigative reporter Bryan Christy, Academy Award® winning screenwriter David Seidler, and renowned film producer Cassian Elwes.


Content featured a lively discussion on how social media is changing the digital game with panelists Caitlyn Roper from WIRED, Jennifer Prince from Twitter, Derek Dressler from Vimeo and Jesse Patron-Werdiger from A24.


And venerable actor Bruce Dern held a Q&A following the Hollywood Heritagescreening of his role in the 1972 film classic, The King of Marvin Gardens.