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Sun Valley Film Festival Will Only Become More Successful

Jodie Foster: "I will continue to be part of the festival for years to come."


Jodie Foster gave a word of caution at her intimate coffee talk March 17, the penultimate event of the second annual Sun Valley Film Festival.

"Remember how it is now," she said, her words nearly drowned out by a standing ovation.

Foster knows about the avalanche of success. The soft snowfall that defines the current SVFF is at risk of someday becoming a raging blizzard.

"Years from now, the lines may be longer and you'll think back on this year," said Foster, "but it will always be about people who love the movies."

SVFF is currently more defined by what it doesn't have: paparazzi, pretension and Paris (as in Hilton).

"I must admit that when I came on board that I was a little nervous about moving Hollywood to my own private Idaho," said Candice Pate, SVFF director. "We really want to grow this thing and I think we have found a sweet spot: a little bit of glitz but not a Sundance wannabe."

But Sun Valley has one big thing that Sundance doesn't: Teddy Grennan, the tall, sandy-haired, always-smiling founder and executive director of SVFF, who must have a twin, because he was everywhere.

"Teddy has such vision, he just put all the pieces into place and reminds everyone not to worry," said Pate.

Indeed, that vision played out over four days of film--long and short subjects, fiction and documentaries, big budget and small. Some films worked, some didn't. Some movies shocked, while others offered soft-as-a-feather giggles.

But the real showstoppers were SVFF's coffee talks, which featured inside-the-velvet-rope stuff from Foster, screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana) and directors who came to Sun Valley with their "works-in-progress," films that weren't quite ready for mass distribution but were nonetheless put before appreciative, but critical audiences.

"I absolutely love being here," said Foster. "I will continue to be part of the festival for years to come."

But SVFF's pied piper is Foster's friend Grennan, and his tune will no doubt continue to lure the best and the brightest to Sun Valley for years to come. Just be forewarned: A film festival's growing success is as sweet as fresh powder on the mountain. Be prepared to wait in line for the chairlift next time around.