It’s been a year and a half since shooting wrapped in Buhl, Idaho for a small indie picture called Magic Valley. On April 23, the film received its world premiere at the 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Magic Valley, the first full-length film from former Buhl native Jaffe Zinn, was produced by Boisean Heather Rae. The film was featured in a new festival category called Viewpoints.
“Tribeca itself describes the Viewpoints category as filmmakers with distinctive perspectives from their own regions ... Filmmakers who stretch the stylistic potential of the medium.” said co-producer and Boise native Laura Mehlhaff.
While Viewpoints focuses on a mixture of international documentaries and features, the inclusion of Magic Valley—one of 20 films selected for the program—is due in part to its unique Western sentiment.
“Each place has its own specific perspective and stories, just as Magic Valley takes place in Buhl and has its own specific viewpoint of the world,” said Mehlhaff.
Magic Valley will be shown three times publicly during the festival’s run, with some more private showings for industry distribution buyers. While the film has begun selling in international markets, Magic Valley does not currently have a U.S.distributor.
“Essentially that’s what a film festival like Tribeca and like Sundance is, a launching pad to show off your film and shop around for buyers,” said Mehlhaff. “Buyers go to festivals for the purpose of looking for films they think would be right for their company. A film festival is an ideal place to sell your film. You’re all in the same place and you have a chance to see if their company is right for your film.”
With much of the secondary cast and crew pulled from the Idaho filmmaking community, Mehlhaff hopes that Magic Valley can serve as a test-case for economic programs designed to bring more films to Idaho.
“Idaho has such a great range to offer, not only in terms of talented actors and crew, but also diverse landscapes and a great cost of living," Mehlhaff said. "Yeah, we didn’t have a tax incentive to support us, but because we could get access to things much more cheaply than we could in other states and because the people here are such a community and were so supportive, in the end it did make sense for us for us to be in Idaho financially as well as creatively.”
The filmmakers hope to bring the film to Idaho in the future, but for now are focusing on Magic Valley's Tribeca screenings. Magic Valley is the third film from producer Heather Rae to be recognized by the Tribeca Film Institute. She previously presented the documentary Trudell in 2005 and received a Tribeca All Access grant for Family: The First Circle in 2008.
Watch a trailer of the film here.