Put your tray tables up and seats in the upright position. The pilots of the 2014 Sun Valley Film Festival are about ready for take-off.
"How do I put this?" SVFF Founder Teddy Grennan had to think for a moment for an appropriate analogy. "The landing gear is certainly up and we're ready to be mid-flight."
SVFF's runway is a pretty long one. It takes the better part of a year to build a slate of films and wrangle some of the industry's best filmmakers to spend a long weekend in Idaho to share their love of film with thousands of festivalgoers.
And indeed some of that love was flowing—along with generous amounts of wine—Wednesday night at Sun Valley's Velocio restaurant, which was packed with some of Hollywood's elite. Film-goers may not have recognized the faces from People Magazine but the credentials of the Oscar-winning and -nominated talent was stunning. Boise Weekly rubbed elbows and clinked more than a few glasses with the screenwriters and producers of Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, The Descendants, The King's Speech, Little Miss Sunshine, and many more.
"I guess we can breathe now," said SVFF Director Candice Pate. "All the work is done, and now we depend on our amazing staff and scores of volunteers who will make all of this happen over the next four days."
Thursday evening's opening night film, The Face of Life—starring Annette Bening, Ed Harris and Robin Williams—will be introduced by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, one day after Otter signed into law one of the most controversial legislative bills in Idaho history, the so-called "guns on campus" measure. And it's not lost on anyone that when a politician takes the stage, his politics come with him. Whether Otter will be met with protests or disapproval for signing the bill remains to be seen, but in Blaine County, and in particular Sun Valley, Otter has never performed that well at the polls in this traditionally Democratic stronghold.
"People are here to see movies and embrace films," said Grennan. "That said, these audiences are incredibly engaged in politics, social issues and culture. This is a very wide berth. We'll be showing films that represent a wide berth of topics—some of them quite controversial."