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Oliver Stone at Sun Valley Film Festival: 'I Really Pray for Peace'

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Oliver Stone, Melissa Leo and Bruce Dern at the Sun Valley Film Festival. - MARK DAVIS / GETTY IMAGES
  • Mark Davis / Getty Images
  • Oliver Stone, Melissa Leo and Bruce Dern at the Sun Valley Film Festival.


Oliver Stone said he had been repeatedly told the Sun Valley Film Festival "was the best festival in the world."

"People were telling me that, 'Come see it. Come experience it,'" he said.

The Oscar-winning screenwriter/director flew into SVFF 2016 to talk film, pick up the festival's Lifetime Vision Award at a March 6 ceremony and give select attendees a glimpse of his much-anticipated Snowden, an upcoming political thriller about controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency.

"We were able to show the film to a few folks at the Hemingway House," said Stone, referring to the Ketchum residency of another controversial figure of his times, Ernest Hemingway. The landmark is now owned by The Nature Conservancy.

Oliver Stone is the 2016 recipient of SVFF's Lifetime Vision Award. - MARK DAVIS / GETTY IMAGES
  • Mark Davis / Getty Images
  • Oliver Stone is the 2016 recipient of SVFF's Lifetime Vision Award.
"What an amazing experience for me, so I'm deeply grateful to The Nature Conservancy for helping to make that happen for us," Stone said.

The titular Edward Snowden is portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the film's cast also includes Shailene Woodley, Tom Wilkinson, Nicholas Cage and Melissa Leo. The Oscar-winning Leo was in attendance for the March 6 ceremonial dinner at the Roundhouse Restaurant atop Mount Baldy (at 7,700 feet). Bruce Dern, a return guest to the festival was also on hand at the mountain-top event to fete Stone.

"I've met many lovely people here in Sun Valley and so many impressive, young filmmakers. It's inspiring to see how much they care," said Stone. "While visiting here, I couldn't help but feeling that this is a bit like Shangri-La."

Stone, of course, was referring to the fictional valley that is the centerpiece of the iconic novel Lost Horizon, turned into a popular 1937 film by director Frank Capra.

"I don't know if you remember Lost Horizon, but it was made a time when the world was on the edge of war," said Stone, who took a long pause. "I was scared then and unfortunately now the clouds are darkening around the world again and danger is growing. I really, really pray for peace."