The 2016 Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF), presented by Zions Bank, announces the feature film slate for the Festival, March 2-6. The 5th annual SVFF offers five days of film screenings, featuring world premieres, shorts, narratives, and documentaries from around the globe.
In addition to screening over 60 cutting-edge films, the SVFF will offer engaging Coffee Talks with top industry insiders including legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone, (recipient of the 2016 SVFF Lifetime Vision Award), fabulous parties and panels, a Screenwriters Lab led by award-winning writers Mark Duplass and Nat Faxon, and the spectacular SVFF Awards Bash. The combination of cutting-edge programming and bona-fide insider access in a fun, relaxed atmosphere is making the Sun Valley Film Festival a rising star in the world of destination festivals. This coming March, filmmakers from around the world will bring their vision to the Sun Valley Film Festival, and movie lovers are invited to watch it come into focus. For Sun Valley Film Festival details, visit: www.sunvalleyfilmfestival.org.
The following is the carefully curated slate of 2016 SVFF feature films. Little Giants and The Man Who Knew Infinity will open the Festival, and I Saw the Light will be the closing night film. The film slate can also be viewed here. Additional films, including the slate of selected short films, will be announced listed on the festival website at a later date.
DON’T WORRY BABY
Director/Writer: Julian Branciforte
Producers: Nick Shore, Brendan McHugh, Thomas Kaier, Sam Harper, Jean-Raphael Ambron
Cast: John Magaro, Christopher McDonald, Dreama Walker, Tom Lipinski, Talia Balsam, Britt Lower, Phil Burke
A father and son unknowingly sleep with the same woman, then four years later compete over the paternity of a child either of them could be the father of.
EYE IN THE SKY
Director: Gavin Hood
Writer: Guy Hibbert
Producers: Ged Doherty, Colin Firth, David Lancaster
Cinematography: Haris Zambarloukos
Cast: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam, Iain Glen
EYE IN THE SKY stars Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, a UK-based military officer in command of a top secret drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya. Through remote surveillance and on-the-ground intel, Powell discovers the targets are planning a suicide bombing and the mission escalates from “capture” to “kill.” But as American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to engage, a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone, triggering an international dispute reaching the highest levels of US and British government over the moral, political, and personal implications of modern warfare.
102 min./United Kingdom
FROM AFAR [DESDE ALLÁ]
Director/Writer: Lorenzo Vigas
Based on a Story by: Guillermo Arriaga
Producers: Guillermo Arriaga, Rodolfo Cova, Michel Franco
Cast: Alfredo Castro, Luis Silva, Jericó Montilla
Armando, a 50 year old man, seeks young men in Caracas and pays them just for company. One day he meets Elder, a 17 year old boy that is the leader of a criminal gang, and that meeting changes their lives forever.
93 min./Venezuela, Mexico
I SAW THE LIGHT
Director/Writer: Marc Abraham
Based on the Book, “Hank Williams: The Biography”
Producers: Marc Abraham, Aaron L. Gilbert, Brett Ratner, G. Marq Roswell
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, David Krumholtz, Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones
I Saw the Light tells the story of Hank Williams, the iconic, influential country singer and songwriter of the 1940’s and early 50’s whose meteoric rise and fall, including his death at age 29, has become part of American folklore. Writer-director Marc Abraham has created a compelling, historically accurate narrative of Hank’s career that examines his tormented creative genius and the turbulent domestic life that inspired him to write some of his best-known songs. By literally going back in time, you see Hank as he was, living his life on his terms, battling his demons and ultimately creating music for the ages.
Director/Writer: Trey Edward Shults
Producers: Justin R. Chan, Wilson Smith, Chase Joliet, Trey Edward Shults
Cast: Krisha Fairchild, Robyn Fairchild, Bill Wise, Chris Doubek, Olivia Grace Applegate, Chase Joliet, Trey Edward Shults
Winner of both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards at the 2015 South-by-Southwest Film Festival, and official selection of Critics’ Week at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Krisha is the story of a woman’s return to the family she abandoned years before, set entirely over the course of one turbulent Thanksgiving. When Krisha shows up at her sister’s Texas home on Thanksgiving morning, her close and extended family greet her with a mixture of warmth and wariness. Almost immediately, a palpable unease permeates the air, one which only grows in force as Krisha gets to work cooking the turkey and trying to make up for lost time by catching up with her various relatives, chief among them her nephew, Trey. As Krisha’s attempts at reconciliation become increasingly rebuffed, tension and suspicion reach their peak, with long-buried secrets and deep-seated resentments coming to the fore as everyone becomes immersed in an emotionally charged familial reckoning.
LOST & FOUND
Director: Joseph Itaya
Writers: Erik Cardona, Joseph Itaya
Producers: Kim Selby, Scott Bridges
Cast: Justin Kelly, Benjamin Stockham, Cary Elwes, Jason Patric
After getting caught stealing, Andy and his younger brother Mark are sent to their estranged uncle on a mysterious island. They soon discover that their eccentric grandfather vanished without a trace decades earlier, taking with him the secret to a vast fortune. Delving into the mysteries of the island, the boys find clues to a complex treasure hunt, a hunt that could lead to unimaginable wealth and heal their broken family – if they can find it in time. As the adventure unfolds, the boys learn that the bonds of brotherhood are the most valuable riches of all, and that some family secrets can’t stay buried forever.
LOUDER THAN BOMBS
Director: Joachim Trier
Writers: Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier
Producers: Ron Yerxa, Marc Turtletaub, Joshua Astrachan, Albert Berger, Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Thomas Robsahm
Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Ryan, David Strathairn, Devon Druid
An upcoming exhibition celebrating photographer Isabelle Reed three years after her untimely death, brings her eldest son Jonah back to the family house – forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene and withdrawn younger brother Conrad than he has in years. With the three of them under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently.
109 min./Norway, France, Denmark
Writer/Director: Celia Rowlson-Hall
Producers: Lauren Smitelli, Aaron Schnobrich
Cinematographer: Ian Bloom
Cast: Celia Rowlson-Hall, Andrew Pastides, Amy Seimetz
In this modern-day vision of Mother Mary’s pilgrimage, a woman crosses the scorched landscape of the American Southwest. Reinvented and told entirely through movement, the film playfully deconstructs the role of this woman, who encounters a world full of bold characters that are alternately terrifying and sublime. MA is a journey into the visceral and the surreal, interweaving ritual, performance, and the body as sculpture. The absence of dialogue stirs the senses, and leads us to imagine a new ending to this familiar journey. The virgin mother gives birth to our savior, but is also challenged to save herself.
Director: Don Cheadle
Writers: Don Cheadle, Steven Baigelman
Producers: Darryl Porter, Vince Wilburn Jr., Daniel Wagner, Robert Ogden Barnum, Don Cheadle
Cast: Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregor, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Michael Stuhlbarg
Inspired by events in Miles Davis’s life, this is a wildly entertaining, impressionistic, no-holds-barred portrait of one of twentieth-century music’s creative geniuses. Holed up in his Manhattan apartment, wracked with pain from a variety of ailments, sweating for the next check from his record company, and dodging sycophants and industry executives, Davis is haunted by memories of old glories, humiliations, and of his years with Frances Taylor, his great love.
MY FRIEND’S RUBBER DUCKY
Director: Josh Hyde
Writers: Josh Hyde, Travis Irvine
Producers: Claire Connelly, Dan Fischer, PJ Fishwick
Cast: Jordan Kenneth Kamp, Alex Hardaway, Rinska Carrasco, Kenneth Yoder
Two old college buddies, Joseph and Oliver, reconnect over drinks, eventually arguing about an unpaid debt. Joseph demands the money, unsuccessfully, and then locks Oliver in a closet. He convinces his hipster girlfriend and stoner roommate to help extort the money from Oliver. The rules are simple – “No money. No food. No bathroom.”
* WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Anna Rose Holmer
Writers: Anna Rose Holmer, Saela Davis, Lisa Kjerulff
Producers: Lisa Kjerulff, Anna Rose Holmer
Cast: Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Da’Sean Minor, Lauren Gibson, Makyla Burnam, Inayah Rodgers
Eleven-year-old tomboy Toni (a showstopping Royalty Hightower) is bewitched by the tight-
knit dance team she sees practicing in the same Cincinnati gymnasium where she boxes. Enamored by the power and confidence of the strong community of girls, Toni spends less and less time boxing with her older brother, and instead eagerly absorbs the dance routines and masters drills from a distance, and even pierces her own ears in an effort to fit in. But when a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, Toni’s desire for acceptance becomes more complicated. Gorgeously shot and with a mesmerizing score, THE FITS is a transformative experience and a marvelous portrait of adolescence.
72 min./U.S.A., Italy
THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY
Director/Writer: Matthew Brown
Based on the biography by Robert Kanigel
Producers: Edward R. Pressman, Jim Young, Joe Thomas, Matthew Brown, Sofia Sondervan, Jon Katz
Cast: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Devika Bhise, Stephen Fry, Toby Jones, Jeremy Northam
Based on the untold story of one of the greatest minds of his generation, The Man Who Knew Infinity charts the incredible life of Srinivasa Ramanujan (Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel), whose genius for mathematics takes him from the slums of India to Cambridge University in the early 20th-century. Spurred on by his mentor G. H. Hardy (Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons), Ramanujan overcomes racism and the rigidity of academia to revolutionize the field with his startlingly original theorems, which he attributes to divine inspiration. Driven by the engaging rapport between Patel and Irons as two vastly different men who find common ground in the world of numbers, The Man Who Knew Infinity is a fascinating look at how an unlikely, cross-cultural friendship changed the world.
114 min./United Kingdom
* US PREMIERE
VIRGIN MOUNTAIN [FÚSI]
Director/Writer: Dagur Kári
Producers: Agnes Johansen, Baltasar Kormákur
Cinematography: Rasmus Videbæk
Cast: Gunnar Jónsson, Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir, Sigurjón Kjartansson
Fúsi is in his forties and yet to find courage to enter the adult world. He sleepwalks through everyday life, where routine is key. When a bubbly woman and an 8-year old girl unexpectedly enter his life, he is forced to take a leap.
94 min./Iceland, Denmark
ABOVE AND BELOW
Director/Writer: Nicolas Steiner
Producers: Helge Albers, Brigitte Hofer, Cornelia Seitler
This not-quite-documentary takes place far away and out of sight, on the margins and off the grid of American society. It tells the stories of April, Dave, Cindy, Rick, and a man who calls himself ‘the Godfather.’ From a couple scraping by in the depths of the flood channels located beneath Sin City, to a man living in a reclaimed military bunker in the middle of the dusty California desert, and beyond even the stratosphere, to a place where Mars and Earth have become one and the same place, this motley crew of individuals have been flung into periling circumstances on this rollercoaster ride called life. Through the hustle, pain, and laughter, we are whisked away to an unfamiliar world whose inhabitants are revealed to be souls not unlike our very own.
AMERICAN EPIC: OUT OF THE MANY THE ONE
Director: Bernard MacMahon
Produced by: T Bone Burnett, Robert Redford, Jack White
Created by: Allison McGourty, Bernard MacMahon, Duke Erikson
Producers: Adam Block, Duke Erikson, Bill Holderman, Allison McGourty, Bernard MacMahon
Narrator: Robert Redford
Two British filmmakers, Bernard MacMahon and Allison McGourty, and American Producer Duke Erikson have pieced together this extraordinary story set in the late 1920’s when record companies toured America with a recording machine and for the first time captured the raw expression of an emerging culture. It democratized music and gave a voice to the poorest in the nation. The filmmakers follow the machine’s trail across the United States to rediscover the families whose music was recorded, music that would lead to the development of blues, country, gospel, Hawaiian, Cajun and folk music – without which there would be no rock, pop, R&B or hip hop today. Part of a larger body of work, comprising four films under the banner American Epic the remarkable lives of these seminal musicians are revealed through previously unseen film footage, unpublished photographs, and exclusive interviews with some of the last living witnesses to that era, when the musical strands of a diverse nation first emerged, sparking a cultural revolution whose reverberations are felt to this day.
In American Epic: Out Of The Many The One, the filmmakers travel deep into the Hopi nation and its music, explore the origins of Hawaiian slack-key guitar, discover the hybrid of cultures in Tejano music, and head through bayou country and it Cajun music, ending in Avalon, the delta blues and its innovator, Mississippi John Hurt.
* WORLD PREMIERE
BEHIND THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 WITH PARNELLI JONES
Directors: Annie Walker, Travis Knox
Producers: Annie Walker, Travis Knox
Each May hundreds of thousands of race fans flock to The Indianapolis Motor Speedway to participate in the world’s largest single day sporting event. Over the past century The Indianapolis 500 has become a month long affair culminating in a grueling race where winners are made, hearts are broken and legends are born. Parnelli Jones has wins in NASCAR, Baja 1000, Trans Am and countless more. But like all racers, it’s his victories in Indianapolis that have defined his career. Join Parnelli as he takes us for an in depth, behind the scenes look, at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”.
* WORLD PREMIERE
CAN WE TAKE A JOKE
Director: Ted Balaker
Producers: Courtney Balaker, Ted Balaker
Executive Producers: Phil Harvey, AC Bushnell, Greg Lukianoff
Narrated by: Christina Pazsitzky
Featuring: Gilbert Gottfried, Penn Jillette, Jim Norton, Lisa Lampanelli, Adam Corolla, Heather McDonald, Karith Foster, Jon Ronson, Jonathan Rauch
In the age of social media, outrage has become commonplace. While individuals have always found something to be offended by, their ability to organize a groundswell of opposition to – and public censure of – their offender has never been more powerful. Can We Take A Joke? offers a thought-provoking and wry exploration of outrage culture through the lens of stand-up comedy, with notables like Gilbert Gottfried, Lisa Lampanelli, and Adam Carolla detailing its stifling impact on free speech and the exchange of ideas.
NAT GEO WILD’S LITTLE GIANT
Executive Producers: Emre Izat, Geoff Luck
Producer/Writer: Tom Barton-Humphreys
Producer: Bob Poole
Narrator: Chris Jackson
Imagine a baby elephant’s view of the herd: a forest of giant legs and trunks, constant elephant chatter, and the unending search for food and water. This intimate view provides a unique opportunity to experience the life of a herd through the stories of individuals: characters with backstories, personalities, quirks and desires. Working on the ground with leading elephant behavior experts and the best natural history filmmakers, Little Giant takes you into the thick of the action at the herd’s big social events — the knock-down fights, emotional reunions and joyful births.
* WORLD PREMIERE
NAT GEO WILD’S UNLIKELY ANIMAL FRIENDS
Executive Producer: David M. Frank
Writer: Jen Ciraldo
Narrator: Mike Secher
Never doubt the power of friendship. Sometimes man’s best friend is not who you think it is, and sometimes predator and prey bond in the most unexpected ways. Rats cuddling cats, dogs adopting goats, horses leading the blind and many more. With a special introduction from 2014 National Geographic Expedition Granted winner Charlie Engelman and Filipe DeAndrade, 2015 winner of Nat Geo WILD’s second annual Wild to Inspire short film competition, we search out the most unique, most surprising and most loving in Nat Geo WILD’s popular Unlikely Animal Friends.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL’S THE STORY OF GOD WITH MORGAN FREEMAN
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, will take viewers on a trip around the world to explore different cultures and religions on the ultimate quest to uncover the meaning of life, God and all the questions in between. As a whole, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman seeks to understand how religion has evolved throughout the course of civilization, and in turn, how religion has shaped the evolution of society. This is a quest for God: to shed light on the questions that have puzzled, terrified and inspired mankind, not to mention Freeman himself.
Each episode of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is centered on a different big question about the divine: Creation, Who is God?, Evil, Miracles, End of Days, Resurrection.
To explore each of these topics, host and narrator Freeman went on the ground to some of humanity’s greatest religious sites, including Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, India’s Bodhi Tree, Mayan temples in Guatemala and the pyramids of Egypt.
* WORLD PREMIERE
ROMEO IS BLEEDING
Director: Jason Zeldes
Producer: Michael Klein
Featuring: Donté Clark, D’neise Robinson, Molly Raynor, DeAndre Evans
A fatal turf war between neighborhoods haunts the city of Richmond, CA. Donté Clark transcends the violence in his hometown by writing poetry about his experiences. Using his voice to inspire those around him, he and the like-minded youth of the city mount an urban adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with the hope of starting a real dialogue about violence in the city. Will Richmond force Donté to compromise his idealistic ambitions? Or will Donté end Richmond’s cycle of trauma?
THE BABUSHKAS OF CHERNOBYL
Directors: Holly Morris, Anne Bogart
Producers: Holly Morris, Anne Bogart
In the radioactive Dead Zone surrounding Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4, a defiant community of women scratches out an existence on some of the most toxic land on Earth. They share this hauntingly beautiful but lethal landscape with an assortment of visitors– scientists, soldiers, and even ‘stalkers’ — young thrill-seekers who sneak in to pursue post-apocalyptic video game-inspired fantasies. Why the women chose to return after the disaster – defying the authorities and endangering their health – is a remarkable tale about the pull of home, the healing power of shaping one’s destiny, and the subjective nature of risk.