By Eric Eidelstein | Indiewire March 5, 2014 at 11:0AM
The third annual Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) in Idaho begins next week starting off with a screening of the Ed Harris and Annette Bening drama "The Face of Love." In addition to the narratives, documentaries and shorts that will be premiering, SVFF will also hold a special screening of Kevin Smith's "Clerks" in honor of its 20th anniversary. The festival runs March 13-16.
Check out the full lineup of films below (descriptions courtesy of SVFF):
Directed by Arie Posin and written by Posin and Matthew McDuffie
Cast: Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams, Amy Brennerman, Jess Weixler
Five years after the death of her beloved husband Garrett (Harris), Nikki (Bening) meets a man who seems his exact duplicate and yet he is a stranger. Romance blossoms between Nikki and this alluring doppelgänger, but she can't bring herself to tell him the truth about what drew her to him, hiding photos and preventing him from meeting friends and family. Still, she can't resist taking him to all the old
haunts. It isn't a question of if the truth will come out, but when.
Directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack
Dwight Evans is a mysterious outsider whose quiet life on the margins is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. "Blue Ruin" is a classic American revenge story that won the FIPRESCI Prize in the Directors' Fortnight program at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Directed and written by James Ward Byrkit
Cast: Nicholas Brendon, Hugo Armstrong, Elizabeth Gracen, Emily Baldoni
A mind-bending puzzle that twists logical thought to the breaking point. A group of friends gather on the night a strange celestial object passes overhead, causing reality and relationships to fracture.
"Hide Your Smiling Faces"
Directed and written by Daniel Patrick Carbone
Cast: Ryan Jones, Nathan Varnson, Colm O’Leary
After a neighborhood tragedy, two young brothers – 9-year-old Tommy (Jones) and 14-year-old Eric (Varnson) – confront changing relationships, the mystery of nature, and their own mortality. A dreamlike portrait of adolescence unfolding over one hot, hazy summer, "Hide Your Smiling Faces" is a startling debut, exploring rural American life through the distorted lens of youth.
"I Believe in Unicorns"
Directed and written by Leah Meyerhoff
Cast: Natalia Dyer, Peter Vack, Julia Garner, Amy Seimetz
Davina is an imaginative and strong-willed teenage girl who escapes often into a beautifully twisted fantasy life. Having grown up quickly as the sole caretaker of her disabled mother, she looks for salvation in a new relationship with an older boy. She is swept into a whirlwind of romance and adventure, until the volatile side of his personality begins to emerge. "I Believe in Unicorns" takes us on a road trip through the stunning and complex landscape of troubled young love.
"Life's A Breeze"
Directed and written by Lance Daly
Cast: Kelly Thornton, Fionnula Flanagan, Pat Shortt, Eva Birthistle
Thirteen year-old (Thornton), is asked by her uncle Colm (Shortt), to take her Nan (Flanagan) for a day out, so that the family can surprise her with a home makeover. The pair return to find the house transformed, refurnished and redecorated, a great success until Nan announces that her massive life savings were hidden in her mattress which has been dumped during the clean up and nobody has any idea where it is.
"OJ: The Musical"
Directed by written by Jeff Rosenberg
Cast: Jordan Kenneth Kamp, Malcolm Barrett, Larisa Oleynik, Owiso Odera, Mimi Michaels, Paul Scheer, Eddie Steeples, Sarah Hagan
Eugene Olivier is an eccentric theater artist living in NYC, where he has spent the last ten years of his life putting on various musicals to rave reviews. After years of creative triumphs, he decides to move to Los Angeles where he will surprise his two best friends from childhood, Lawrence and Regina, and help them rediscover their now forgotten love for the theater. After pitching them on his brand new OJ Simpson musical, which is loosely based on Othello, Eugene comes to realize that it may not be as easy as he thought to stage the next great American musical.
"Rover (Or Beyond Human: The Venusian Future And The Return of the Next Level)"
Directed by written Tony Blahd
Cast: Liam Torres, Jonathan Randell Silver, Steve Siddell, Natalie Thomas, Reggie Gowland, Jade Fusco
In their dilapidated church headquarters, a greatly diminished and dispirited cult awaits the sign to off themselves. Their hapless leader Dave concocts a plan: to quell infighting and give them purpose in life before their deaths, he fakes a prophecy instructing them to make a movie and share their story with the world. There's just one problem: they don't know the first thing about film production.
"Tu Seras Un Homme"
Directed by Benoît Cohen written Cohen and Eleonore Pourriat
Cast: Aurelio Cohen, Jules Sagot, Eleonore Pourriat, Grégoire Monsaingeon
Leo is 10 and wise beyond his years; a solitary dreamer who seeks refuge in books. When the carefree 20-year-old Theo steps into his life, it forces Leo out of his shell. Despite their age difference, the two becomes best friends, helping each other face up to their responsibilities. But are they ready to face what it means to grow up?
Directed by Mark Jackson and written by Jackson and Kristin Gore
Cast: Catherine Keener, Hafsia Herzi, Ben Kingsley
Lee (Keener), a war photographer who has spent her adult life in the world’s most treacherous conflict zones, documenting the catastrophes of others, has recently experienced her own horror when she was taken hostage and brutalized in Libya. Instead of returning home where her concerned colleagues and loved ones anxiously await her, she instead detours to Sicily, and holes up in a small hotel to weather her PTSD on her own terms, not far from the home of her former lover and mentor Albert (Kingsley). As Lee struggles to recover from her psychic and physical wounds, she meets Hafsia (Herzi), a young Tunisian migrant in need of an abortion and safe passage to France, who bears a striking resemblance to a Libyan girl Lee photographed just before her capture. Desperate to connect, Lee tries to help Hafsia, and conquer her own formidable demons in the process.
"Words and Pictures"
Directed by Fred Schepisi and written by Gerald DiPego
Cast: Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Amy Brennerman, Druce Davison
Owen stars in this playful comic drama as an English teacher who challenges the school’s art teacher (Binoche) to a "war" between words and pictures — and, in the process, sparks an unlikely romance.
"Antarctica: A Year on Ice"
Directed by Anthony Powell
A visually stunning chronicle of what it is like to live in Antarctica for a full year, including winters isolated from the rest of the world, while enduring months of unending darkness in the coldest place on Earth. Over 10 years in the making, from "Frozen Planet" photographer Anthony Powell. For the first time, the deep Antarctic winter is brought to life the big screen.
"Born to Fly"
Directed by Catherine Gund
Starring: Elizabeth Streb
Elizabeth Streb is not just a choreographer; she is an extreme action architect. "Born To Fly" traces the evolution of Streb’s movement philosophy – she pushes herself and her company from the ground, to the wall, to the sky. The film asks: Why is one person’s circus another person’s dance? One dancer’s gorgeous flight another dancer’s stunt work? Why call it art? Why choreograph it? Why have a role in performing it? How might a film inspire a broad audience, hungry for a more tactile and fierce existence in the world?
"Cherry Cottage: The Story of an American House"
Directed by Dave Simonds and written by Simonds by Hans Morris
Starring: Dave Simonds, Hans Morris, Arlo Guthrie, Sally Higginson Begley, Clover Swann, Frederick Rudolph, Nick Swann, Lion Miles
This feature-length documentary tells a story of America through the story of Cherry Cottage, a small house that was built in 1782 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. We meet owner Hans Morris and follow him as he discovers the history of Cherry Cottage, which sits on the edge of his property. From the Native Americans to the 1960s counterculture, the history of Cherry Cottage is intertwined with the history of the Berkshires, New England and the country as a whole.
Directed by Leah Warshawski and Chris Towey and written by Christina Ruddy
"Finding Hillywood" is an award-winning documentary that profiles the very beginning of Rwanda’s film industry and the power of cinema to heal a man and a nation. Follow five pioneers of the East African film industry as they screen local films around the countryside on a giant inflatable screen, and see what it takes to manage a film festival in the jungle. 2014 is the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.
"From The Ground Up"
Directed and written by Karen Day and Andy Lawless
Every minute ten children die from malnutrition on this planet. "From The Ground Up" tells the inspiring story of how Harvard students built a stunningly successful micro-empowerment project to end global hunger and childhood malnutrition in Uganda. In four years, the Initiative to End Childhood Malnutrition (IECM) saved thousands of children’s lives for less than .01% of 600 billion dollars spent in international aid. See it to believe it. "From The Ground Up" is a film that can save lives.
Directed by Fisher Stevens and Robert Nixon and written by Mark Monroe, Jack Youngelson
Sylvia Earle, scientist, explorer, visionary, has spent over seventy years exploring the ocean and the creatures who live there. "Mission
Blue" documents Sylvia over 3 years as she takes on the greatest challenge of her remarkable life: a personal mission to reverse the destructive course our species is on before it’s too late.
"Nat Geo Wild's Giant Panda" – World Premiere
The Giant Panda, a universally loved creature and China’s national treasure, is on the brink of extinction. Breeding them in captivity has been a large case of trial and error, but the plan is working. Now, the dream of releasing captive-bred pandas into the wild has become a reality. Tao Tao is the first young panda to complete the wild training program and our cameras are first to follow him on his journey to witness him take his first steps to freedom in the wild.
"Nat Geo Wild's Kingdom of the Apes" – World Premiere
In Tanzania’s famed Gombe Stream National Park, Jane Goodall began her pioneering work 50 years ago and revealed the chimps as individuals. Kingdom of the Apes defines the essence of an individual species and stuns with gorgeous natural history bringing access to apes rarely filmed before while revealing behaviors including, hunting with tools, starting feuds, taking care of each other, and exchanging sex for power—questioning the line between what is ape and what is human.
"Nat Geo Miracle Landing on the Hudson" - World Premiere
You’ve heard Sully Sullenberger’s story of the emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. The heroic acts in the cockpit have been told and retold to amazed audiences worldwide. Now, it’s the passengers turn to tell their story. In their own words, their worst nightmare, their will to survive the impossible. "Miracle Landing on the Hudson" is a two-hour movie event told in depth with startling new details from the passengers and crew members of Flight 1549. Using intimate and emotive interviews as well as large-scale dramatic reconstructions, the film reveals that the crash itself was merely the beginning of the passengers’ fight for survival.
"Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon"
Directed by Mike Myers
Starring: Shep Gordon, Michael Douglas, Emeril Lagasse, Willie Nelson, Sylvester Stallone
Mike Myers’ directorial debut about the star-studded, astounding true story of Hollywood maverick Shep Gordon. Legendary manager, producer and inventor of the celebrity chef, Shep’s success in business is only dwarfed by his success as a mensch. Imbued with wit, charm, heart, and debauchery this story is about a capitalist, protector, hedonist, pioneer, showman, shaman . . . and SUPERMENSCH.
"The Grand Rescue"
Directed by Jenny Wilson, Meredith Lavitt and William A. Kerig and written by Kerig
Starring: Gaylord Campbell, Mike Ermarth, Lorraine Hough, Bob Irvine, Rick Reese, Pete Sinclair, Ralph Tingey, Ted Wilson
"The Grand Rescue" is a story of a rescue that became legend. In 1967, on the North Face of the Grand Teton, seven rescuers risked their lives to save a severely injured climber and his companion stranded high on the mountain. The rescue took three harrowing days and pushed the team to new abilities, cementing a life-long bond among the rescuers. Remarkably, the injured climber criticized the very men who came to his aid. "The Grand Rescue" exposes the tenuous relationship between man and the mountain, and recounts an unprecedented rescue in American mountaineering.
Directed by Jessica Yu
Starring: Tonga Torcida, Biologist E.O. Wilson
"The Guide" is a coming-of-age tale set against the restoration of a war-torn national park in Mozambique. Raised near Gorongosa National Park, young Tonga Torcida dreams of becoming a tour guide. But when he meets famed biologist E.O. Wilson, his new view of the world around him, and his future, places him at a crossroads. Should Tonga become a guide, or take on a bigger role in trying to keep the park alive?
"Toxic Hot Seat"
Directed by Kirby Walker, James Redford
Chemical flame retardants are everywhere. Our furniture. Our homes. Our bodies. But do they work as promised? And are they making us sick? To answer these questions, "Toxic Hot Seat" dives into a deadly nexus of money, politics and power – and introduces us to a few brave citizens willing to stand their ground and demand an answer to an essential question: Why have we let 84,000 chemicals go largely unregulated in this country?
Directed by Suzan Beraza
The promise of jobs from a proposed uranium mill has an economically devastated mining community in Colorado hopeful for the first time in decades. When environmentalists step in to stop the mill, pro-mill advocates are enraged. A debate ensues, pitting jobs against health and the environment.
WORK IN PROGRESS
"Red Knot" - Narrative
Directed and written by Scott Cohen
Cast: Olivia Thirlby, Vincent Kartheiser, Billy Campbell
Chloe and Peter a newly married couple set forth aboard a research vessel bound for Antarctica. Their relationship, like the icy landscapes that surround them, begins to crack and shift, exposing the fault lines that lay just below the surface. Red Knot is a love story set in contrasts; the super-confined interiors of a ship and the vast open spaces of the Antarctic Ocean mirroring our closest relationships and the wilderness that lies between us all.
"From Baghdad to Brooklyn" - Documentary
Directed by Jennifer Utz and written by Mark Monroe
The Iraq war created a massive refugee crisis. Mohamed, a young man from Baghdad, fled to Syria, where he met Jennifer, an American Video journalist. The two form a unique friendship, embarking on adventures around Damascus – a world of fun and distraction from the uncertainty of Mohamed’s situation. Soon, Jennifer becomes determined to get Mohamed asylum in the US. But eventually this seemingly unbreakable bond begins to crack, and both become entangled in a journey that proves to be more than they bargained for – as dreams are built, illusions are shattered and one man tries to attain the 'American Dream.’
For the list of short films and more information check out the SVFF website here.