Almost a month has passed since the Sun Valley Film Festival was supposed to kick off on March 18. Just six days before that date, on March 12, the festival organizers announced the event’s cancellation due to the mounting threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the first major local happening to be called off for that reason. Despite not going forward as planned, the festival announced its award winners last week.
Jason Michael Berman won the Producer’s Vision Award for his film “Nine Days,” which was tipped to be a headlining screening for the festival.
The One in a Million Award went to “Once Upon a River” in the narrative category and “Donut King” in the documentary category. The SVShorty Award, recognizing excellence in short filmmaking, went to “Titanyum,” directed by Gökçe Erdem. Derek Tonks’ “Whitetail Bucks” won the Gem State Award, honoring Idaho-made films. The Soho House Award went to “Coffee Shop Names,” directed by Deepak Sethi. Jamie Elias won the LUNA Bar Woman to Watch Award, which the festival partners with LUNA Bar to recognize emerging female directors.
Jessica Sander, Scott Taylor, Mariyam Mahbub and Ben Edelman were all selected as finalists for the Ford PitchFest, which will move forward online, giving each the opportunity to pitch their film ideas to a panel of producers for the chance to win a $25,000 grant.
The Film Lab, which awards $185,000 in postproduction services to a work in progress, was won by “My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To,” directed by Jonathan Cuartas and produced by Kenny Oiwa Riches, Anthony Pedone, Jesse Brown, Ian Peterson and Patrick Fugit.
Ann Druyan won the Nat Geo Further Award for “Cosmos.” “Dust” won the 1 Potato short screenplay competition. The Future Filmmaker Forum recognized student filmmakers Alex Ankai, Fiona Forunato, Keila McCabe, Idalis McZeal, Anahy Portillo and Justin Maxwell.
The High Scribe screenwriting award, designed to grant emerging screenwriters a rare opportunity for one-on-one mentoring with industry professionals to develop their work, went to BAFTA-winning actor Shia LaBeouf (“Fury,” “Transformers,” “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Holes”).
Learn more about the Sun Valley Film Festival, the award-winners and plans for future festivals at sunvalleyfilmfestival.org.