Sun Valley
Sun Valley

The Sun Valley Film Festival has revealed the finalists for its 2016 competitions, including The Film Lab, Screenwriters Lab High Scribe, Nat Geo WILD TO INSPIRE, and One Potato. 

READ MORE: "Sun Valley Film Festival Slate Features 'The Man Who Knew Infinity,' 'I Saw the Light' (EXCLUSIVE)"

The Film Lab 
Hosted by Sundance director of programming Trevor Groth, The Film Lab, which presents two films in their final post-production stage. With the director, producer, and writer of each on hand, The Film Lab’s audience will have the opportunity to meet the filmmakers, give feedback, and participate in voting for the top work-in-progress.  The Lab’s winning film will receive $5,000 in finishing funds courtesy of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The 2016 Film Lab finalists are:

Directors: Ari Issler, Ben Snyder
Writers: Ari Issler, Ben Snyder, Victor Almanzar
Producers: Danny Mendoza, Joshua Blum, Gia Walsh, Kara Baker, Matthew Thrum
Cast: Victor Almanzar

U.S. Marine Nelson Sanchez has run out of time. After being honorably discharged and returning to his economically depressed hometown, Nelson must face the consequences of the violent past he thought he had escaped. Trying desperately to survive the day, Nelson charts an unlikely path to redemption. In a place where the only options appear to be the street or the military, 11:55 captures a young man’s escape from the cycles of violence that have defined him. 80 min./U.S.A.

Writer/Director/Producer: Takuji Masuda
Creative Supervisor: Stephan Gaghan
Co-Producers: Art Brewer, C.R. Stecyk III
Featuring: Bunker Spreckels, Ellie Silva, Tony Alva, Laird Hamilton, Johnny Knoxville

The Chronicle of the wild and brief life of a 1970’s most controversial surf star and international playboy from Los Angeles, Bunker Spreckels. 87 min./U.S.A.

Sun Valley Screenwriters Lab and High Scribe 
The Screenwriters Lab, sponsored by Boise State University, is one of SVFF’s signature educational forums. Hosted by Mark Duplass, and judged by Oscar-winning screenwriter Nat Faxon, the Lab includes the ‘High Scribe’ screenplay competition, with submissions of original screenplays and TV pilots from aspiring writers. At this year's festival, the Lab will open with a talk by Duplass about his career, followed by a Q&A with the audience. The High Scribe Award, presented by Silver Creek Writers Residency, is announced during the Lab, where a scene from the winning script is brought to life during a live table read with professional actors and a cash prize of $1,000 is awarded. The 2016 High Scribe finalists are:    

Michael Tyburski ("Palimpsest")
Ben Nabors ("Dream Feeds")
Kerry McPherson ("All the Pretty Ones")
Nikki Braendlin ("Pampered")
Karen Tenkhoff ("Welcome to Oregon") 

2016 is the third year of this international competition by Nat Geo WILD, in partnership with the Sun Valley Film Festival. The winner will travel on an expedition to Africa to document wildlife for Nat Geo WILD viewers, through video diaries, photos, social media, and more. The top four finalists will screen their films for festival attendees, a panel of judges, and Nat Geo WILD executives. The winner will be announced at the festival’s closing ceremony. The 2015 WILD TO INSPIRE winner, Filipe de Andrade, will also premiere his new Nat Geo short, "Girls Can Be Scientists?" The 2016 WILD TO INSPIRE finalists are:

Conowingo Dam Bald Eagles,” by Mike Lemery (Schenectady, NY)
Mike is a video producer and filmmaker based in Schenectady, New York, with more than eight years of professional video experience in documentary style and television production. In "Conowingo Dam Bald Eagles" viewers witness the resurgence of the bald eagle population at the Conowingo dam in Maryland, where hundreds of bald eagles fiercely fight for stunned fish who make it through the dam's turbines.

In Search of a Moment,” by David Fontneau (Honolulu, HI)
David is a self-taught photographer and cinematographer who seeks to inspire others through his passion for nature and photography. In his film, “In Search of a Moment", David describes his search for what he can best describe as the purity of a moment.

To the Explorers” by Alex Goetz and Justin Grubb (Toledo, OH)
Alex Goetz and Justin Grubb are filmmakers who focus on telling the stories of conservation and wildlife around the world, in an effort to raise awareness of the issues that affect our planet. This short film is an ode to all the adventurers, explorers and conservationists that dedicate everything they have to conservation, wildlife and the outdoors.  It is also a ‘thank you’ to those who inspire us to tell our stories as filmmakers.

Wild Heroes of Uganda," by Marlina Moreno (Los Angeles, CA)
Marlina is a freelance cinematographer with a passion for sharing the stories of people doing wonderful things to protect our planet's biodiversity. This fall she will graduate with a Master's in conservation biology. In “Wild Heroes of Uganda" Marlina pays tribute to the wildlife conservation heroes she met while exploring Uganda.

One Potato 
Launched in 2015, the One Potato Film Initiative is designed to support emerging filmmakers and encourage and incentivize filmmaking in the state of Idaho. Last year’s winning screenwriter, Christian Lybrook of Boise, Idaho, received $2,500 towards producing his short film, "Carbon," which was shot in Idaho this fall and will world premiere during the 2016 festival. The winning 2016 One Potato script will receive $5,000 towards filming on location in Idaho and will have its world premiere at the 2017 festival, as well as hands-on mentoring from industry professionals and other benefits. As a producing partner on the film, SVFF will connect the winner with seasoned filmmaker participants, award-winning filmmaker advisors, broker deals on production resources, and help build a presence for the film. The 2016 One Potato finalists are:

Kevin Nielsen - "Death by Acquaintance"
Eva Konstantopoulos - "There is No Arthur"
Dusty Aunan & Cody Gittings - "Man In A Dress"
Kristen Mico - "This Ole Highway"
Stephen Heleker - "The Holdup"