Even his staunchest opponents might concede that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter knows how to work a room. And when that room was a packed-to-the-gills Sun Valley Opera House, Otter embraced the first rule of show business: walk in to applause, get to the point and make sure you exit to applause as well.
And so it was Thursday night at the official opening of the Sun Valley Film Festival, when Otter was introduced to polite applause, spoke for no more than three minutes, and when he introduced Arie Posin, director of the festival's opening night film The Face of Love, Otter used the same applause to exit.
"In the first three years of the Sun Valley Film Festival, the direct and indirect economic impact will probably cross over the $7 million mark," Otter told the sold-out gathering of 340-plus. "We've decided that going forward that each March in Idaho will be known as Arts and Cultural Month. That's a direct result of this festival."
Otter made a hasty trip up the aisle and out the door before the lights went down on the film.
It wasn't lost on anyone that Otter had just come off one of the most controversial 24 hours in his political career, when he signed the so-called guns-on-campus bill into law, making headlines across the nation.
But there were no protests, no boos, only applause from some—certainly not all—of the attendees.
In comparison, there were hoots, hollers and cheers for SVFF founder Teddy Grennan and director Candice Pate, who welcomed the filmgoers.
And Posin made a point of pointing to two particular attendees: Sun Valley natives Benjamin and Theresa Castellano-Wood, who were among The Face of Love's financial backers.
"So we have such a huge Sun Valley connection to this picture," he said to much applause. "I'm so honored that this is the opening night movie at this year's festival."
The Face of Love, a truly winning romantic drama, was warmly embraced by the festival audience and Boise audiences should be able to get their chance to see the film, starring Annette Benning, Ed Harris and Robin Williams, sometime later this spring.