Last week Screen Rant attended the 2019 Sun Valley Film Festival where sponsor National Geographic commands a major presence. At the eighth annual event, I moderated the first of several NatGeo Salon discussions, focusing on a range of topics from cinematography and storytelling, to activism and "going further" to find the truth. Ours featured Oscar winner Guillermo Navarro and Emmy winner Filipe DeAndrade, and I had the opportunity to participate as a judge for the Wild to Inspire short film competition.
The event this year was host to several premieres (Hostile Planet, Apollo: Missions to the Moon, etc.), world-class journalists and wildlife explorers, award-winning Hollywood talent, and key players at National Geographic, Disneynature, etc.. Some of this year's celebrities that could be found at events and walking the beautiful streets of Ketchum, Idaho included Meg Ryan, Aaron Paul, Alex Ross Perry, Fisher Stevens, Chelsea Handler, Hannah Fidell, Phil Johnston, Nick Broomfield, Christopher Cantwell, Erika Bergman, and Mariana Van Zeller - that latter who was an especially honored guest.
On Saturday during the annual Awards Bash, SVFF awarded over $200,000 in prizes alongside mentorship opportunities to independent filmmakers. The complete list of Sun Valley Film Festival 2019 award winners are below.
Sun Valley Film Festival 2019 Film Awards
Audience Award - The Audience Award is voted on by movie goers.
- WINNER: Long Shot, directed by Jonathan Levine
Additional Audience Award Finalists:
- The Parts You Lose, directed by Christopher Cantwell
- Ghost Fleet, directed by Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron
- Running with Beto, directed by David Modigliani
- Sea of Shadows, directed by Richard Ladkani
Producer’s Vision Award - This award recognizes a producer’s ability to keep a dramatic, feature length film in focus during the journey of the project.
- WINNER: Running with Beto, producer Jeff Steen
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.
- NARRATIVE WINNER: Lemonade, directed by Ioana Uricaru
- DOCUMENTARY WINNER: Tigerland, directed by Ross Kaufman and produced by Fisher Stevens
The Shorty Award - The best short film across all categories.
- WINNER: Kate in Oxnard, directed by Emily Tomson
Gem State Award - presented by Festival sponsor Zions Bank, this award recognizes an Idaho filmmaker whose work best reflects the beauty and diversity of the Gem State.
- WINNER: MAR: Episode 1, directed by Martin McGreevy
SVFF Film & Screenwriting Competition Winners
Nat Geo WILD TO INSPIRE - The lucky winner will to receive $1,000 and a National Geographic Expedition to explore wildlife and wild places up close alongside Nat Geo Explorers.
- WINNER: The Flip, Reed Rickert
Nat Geo Further Award - The National Geographic Further Award recognizes a leader whose work is uniquely innovative, timely, and impactful—someone who has boldly pushed the boundaries of his or her field, and who serves as an outstanding ambassador for that breakthrough work.
- WINNER: Mariana van Zeller
The Film Lab - Tito’s Handmade Vodka presented The Film Lab, hosted by Hannah Fidell. Winners of the competition traveled to the festival, where the work-in-progress film was screen-tested for audience feedback and will be taken to two additional cities before locking and completing the picture with Los Angeles-based post-production company The Farm, who will provide up to $185,000 in services. Variety is a partner of the program.
- WINNER: Colewell, directed by Tom Quinn, produced by Matthew Thurm, Craig Shilowich, Joshua Blum, and Alexandra Byer
High Scribe - The 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.
- WINNER: The Graveyard Shift, written by Max Andrew Dubinsky and Matthew Carpenter
1 Potato Winner - The short screenplay competition awards the screenwriter a $5,000 stipend to help shoot their film in Idaho.
- WINNER: Girls Are Strong Here, written by Scott Burkhardt
Future Filmmaker Forum - showcases student-made films and encourages students in their craft, storytelling, and self-expression.
- Hot Shot Winner ($1,000 prize): Control Yourself, directed by Zoe Takaki
- Gabriel Spirit Award ($300 prize): Beyond the Wall, directed by Mia Nelson
- Gem State Jr. Award ($500 prize): For Us, directed by Justin Buss
SVFF Special Awards
SVFF VISION AWARD - pays tribute to industry icons who have provided the keen insight, influence and initiative needed to see their creative visions come to fruition.
- HONORED: Meg Ryan
PIONEER AWARD, Presented by Variety - given in recognition of an industry innovator: one whose work on-screen or behind the camera embodies the trailblazing spirit.
- HONORED: Aaron Paul
RISING STAR AWARD FOR DIRECTING – recognizes breakthrough talent in the film and television industry.
- HONORED: Alex Ross Perry
SNOW ANGEL AWARD, presented by Beautycounter - celebrates industry leaders on the frontlines of enacting change.
- HONORED: Fisher Stevens
Next year's Sun Valley Film Festival will be held March 11-15, 2020.