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Sun Valley Film Festival Announces Pioneer & Rising Star Award Honorees & Opening/Closing Night Films

2022 Sun Valley Film Festival Announces Film Slate and Award Honorees
2022 Sun Valley Film Festival Announces Pioneer and Rising Star 
Award Honorees and Opening/Closing Night Films 
Danny Strong to Receive Pioneer Award, presented by Variety; 
Cast of “Outer Banks” to Receive Rising Star Award; 
Festival to Open with National Geographic Documentary Films’ “Fire of Love;” 
Documentary “Navalny” to Close Fest 
Sun Valley, ID — Sun Valley Film Festival, returning as an in-person event this year, today announced additional award honors and films to be screened at its 11th annual event. The festival runs from March 30-April 3, 2022. 
Pioneer Award 
This year’s Pioneer Award, presented by Variety, will be given to Danny Strong on Friday, April 1. A prolific writer, director, actor and producer, Strong has earned two Emmys, a Golden Globe, two WGA awards, a PGA Award and a Peabody Award for such projects as the political docudramas Game Change and Recount, the big-budget action blockbusters Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part I and II), and as co-creator of the hit Fox series Empire. He currently serves as creator, showrunner and director of the hit Hulu series Dopesick, starring Michael Keaton and Rosario Dawson. The Pioneer Award is given in recognition of an industry innovator, one whose work on-screen or behind the camera embodies the trailblazing spirit. The award builds on the legacy of artists who are part of Sun Valley’s rich cinematic history, such as Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway. Previous winners include Shaka King, Aaron Paul, Eliza Hittman and Mark Duplass. 
Rising Star Award
Netflix’s Outer Banks cast members Chase Stokes, Madelyn Cline, Madison Bailey, Jonathan Daviss, Rudy Pankow, Austin North, Drew Starkey and Carlacia Grant, will receive this year’s Rising Star Award and participate in a Coffee Talk on Friday, April 1. Currently filming its third season and earning kudos such as a People’s Choice Award for the most “Bingeworthy Show” in its premiere year 2020, Outer Banks is a coming-of-age story that follows a tight-knit group of local teens (the Pogues) in the beach vacation destination of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Past recipients of the award include Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Winston Duke, Eliza Hittman, Alex Ross Perry and Allison Williams. 
The Pioneer and Rising Star Award recipients will join this year’s previously announced award honorees Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler, who will receive Vision Awards, and Dr. Nathalie Dougé, recipient of National Geographic’s Further Award.   
Feature Films 
Scheduled to screen more than 25 narrative and documentary features, Sun Valley Film Festival will mark its opening night with both a narrative feature and a documentary feature. The festival will open with the National Geographic Documentary Films’ Fire of Love, directed by Sara Dosa. The festival will close with the CNN documentary Navalny, directed by Daniel Roher, who is expected to attend with the film. 
Also opening the festival is the National Geographic Documentary Films’ Fire of Love. The film is an extraordinary love story of intrepid French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who devoted their lives to uncovering the mystery of volcanoes. Their pioneering research in the 1970s and 80s helped save lives, but ultimately ended their own. Directed by Sara Dosa and narrated by Miranda July, Fire of Love culls from hundreds of hours of rare and never-before-seen footage shot by the Kraffts, who left behind a legacy that has enriched our understanding of the natural world. 
Making its Idaho premiere with its closing night screening is the CNN documentary Navalny. Enthralling and intimate, director Daniel Roher’s film unfolds with the pace of a thriller as it follows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in his quest to identify the men who poisoned him in August 2020. Shot in Germany as the story unfolded and offering extraordinary access to the investigation, Navalny is a fly-on-the-wall documentary that is also a study of Alexei Navalny the man, a leader intent on reform who will not be cowed by anything, including his own poisoning. The film world premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and won the US documentary audience award and the festival favorite award.  
Among other newly announced films to screen at the festival is the horror thriller Saloum, which spotlights three mercenaries extracting a drug lord from Guinea-Bissau in 2003, forced to hide in the mystical region of Saloum, Senegal. Written and directed by Jean Luc Herbulot, it stars Yann Gael, Evelyne Ily Juhen and Roger Sallah. 
Short Films 
More than two dozen short films will be screened at this year’s Sun Valley Film Festival, with two World premieres, a US premiere and 17 Idaho premieres. They include: 
  • After the Beep – Directors: Dan Klamerus & Jared Waters (Idaho premiere) 
  • Aspirational Slut - Director: Caroline Lindy (Idaho premiere) 
  • Black Gold - Director: Sydney Linden 
  • Cutter - Directors: Dan Repp and Lindsay Young (Idaho premiere) 
  • Daddy’s Girl - Director: Lena Hudson (Idaho premiere) 
  • Don’t Go Telling Your Momma - Director: Topaz Jones and rubberband. 
  • Girls Are Strong Here - Director: Scott Burkhardt (Idaho premiere) 
  • Holly Go Lightly - Director: Ryan Cannon (Idaho premiere) 
  • Horizons - Director: Jeremy Seifert 
  • Last Days of August - Directors: Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck and Robert Machoian 
  • Mary Anne & Frank - Director: Jingjing Tian (US premiere) 
  • Meridian - Director: Aidan Brezonick (Idaho premiere) 
  • Night of the Living Dicks – Director: Ilja Rautsi (Idaho Premiere) 
  • Noir-Soleil - Director: Marie Larrivé (Idaho premiere) 
  • Off the Rails - Director: Jimmy Barker, Sean Cruser, John Druska (Idaho premiere) 
  • Remember - Director: Jessica Sanders (World premiere) 
  • Rooted - Director: Sean Addo (Idaho premiere) 
  • Scam Likely - Director: Collin Insley 
  • Small Kindnesses - Directors: Hali Gardella & Emery Matson (Idaho premiere) 
  • So Much Happiness - Director: Stefan Schaefer (Idaho premiere) 
  • Starfuckers - Director: Antonio Marziale (Idaho premiere) 
  • The Event - Director: Hugo De Sousa (Idaho premiere) 
  • The Moogai - Director: Jon Bell 
  • The Originals - Directors Cristina Costantini & Alfie Koetter (Idaho premiere) 
  • Two Bears - Director: Anthony Florez 
  • What Remains – Director: Paavo Hanninen (Idaho premiere) 
  • Written By - Directors: Callie Bloem & Christopher Ewing (World premiere) 
2022 Festival Jury 
The 2022 Sun Valley Film Festival is honored to welcome a slate of highly qualified judges to evaluate films in each of its categories. They include: 
Feature Documentary 
Julie Parker Benello – Founder of Secret Sauce Media and co-founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures focused on the nonfiction stories of diverse women, Julie is producer of the Oscar- and Emmy-winning feature documentary American Factory who most recently produced Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s Netflix Originals documentary Athlete A and Sarah Jones’ directorial debut Sell/Buy/Date. 
Trevor Groth – Trevor is a film financier at 30WEST, an entertainment investment and advisory company that distributed I, Tonya and financed Destroyer, Late Night and The Mauritanian. Executive producer of Tiger King and Nine Days, he previously served as director of programming for the Sundance Film Festival where he discovered many of the most celebrated filmmakers working today including PT Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Ryan Coogler, Ava DuVernay, Taika Waititi and Chloe Zhao. 
Heather Rae – Heather has produced such films as the Oscar-nominated Frozen River, Netflix Originals’ Tallulah and Dude, festival favorite I Believe in Unicorns, Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee The Dry Land, and the SXSW winning drama Bull. Named one of Variety’s Producers to Watch and winner of Piaget and Cinereach Producers Awards, she has a first-look deal with Amazon Studios and is an executive producer on the series Outer Range, also serving as a narrative change strategist with IllumiNative. 
Feature Narrative 
Jo Addy – As global film and entertainment director for Soho House, Jo oversees the curation of all programming for its 120,000 members globally, while producing talent interviews and panels with directors, producers, writers, actors and industry experts. Along with judging the annual BAFTA Student Film Awards, she is a board member for Soho Talent working to help creatives gain funding and support, and founder of the Soho Film Prize, a global talent incubator to support emerging screenwriting and filmmaking talent. 
Eric Bress – A Hollywood ex-pat currently residing in Sun Valley, Idaho, Eric is an award-winning writer, director and producer. His projects include the feature comedy Blunt, the blockbuster film The Butterfly Effect, starring Ashton Kutcher, the action horror thriller films Final Destination II and The Final Destination, and the recent horror thriller Ghosts of War. In the realm of television, Eric is creator of the supernatural series Kyle XY, the hit series which ran for four seasons and helped establish the ABC Family network. 
Mariama Diallo – Mariama is a Brooklyn-based writer-director whose debut feature, Master, was released by Amazon Studios in March 2022 after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. Her previous work includes the short films Hair Wolf (Sundance 2018) and White Devil (Toronto International Film Festival 2021), as well as HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness. She has been featured in Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch as well as Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. 
Short Films 
Kimberly Browning – Kimberly has brought her production expertise to My Suicide (Archie’s Final Project), winner of the Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, HBO’s Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance, A+E’s The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty, and countless other film and TV projects. Head of programming at the Catalyst Content Festival and an associate short film programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival, she is also the founder and festival director of Hollywood Shorts Film Festival. 
Lindsay Calleran – A former member of NYC’s Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre and a recent film directing graduate of Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, Lindsay is writer, director and co-producer of What I See When I Look, which won Best Short Film at the 2021 Sun Valley Film Festival and went on to screen in competition in Palm Springs, Memphis and other festival markets. Lindsay is currently in development on the feature film project Caity. 
Steven Snyder – An executive at Innisfree Pictures, Steven has overseen development and production of such films as the Academy Award-winning drama Green Book, starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, and more recently served as an executive producer on the upcoming Bill Pohlad music feature Dreamin’ Wild, starring Walton Goggins, Zooey Deschanel and Casey Affleck. Previously, Steven developed his production skills at Focus Features and Good Universe. 
For more details on film descriptions and ticket/pass details, visit
# # # 
About the Sun Valley Film Festival 
Since 2012 the Sun Valley Film Festival has invited fans and filmmakers to America’s first ski resort to celebrate the magic of storytelling. Each Spring, the Festival celebrates with a slate of cutting-edge films and TV premieres, industry panels, engaging Coffee Talks with entertainment luminaries, a Screenwriters Lab led by award-winning writers, and a series of parties culminating with the spectacular SVFF Awards Bash. The 2022 SVFF will be held March 30-April 3. SVFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Learn more at
Instagram: Hashtag: #SVFF2022 

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