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Seventh Sun Valley Film Festival Kicks Off Wednesday

The Sun Valley Film Festival launches its seventh season Wednesday.

Hailey's Friedman Memorial Airport will be a bit busier than normal this week as actors, writers and producers wing their way to the valley of the sun to showcase their latest movies and work alongside the next generation of filmmakers on works still-in-progress.

In fact, the festival's executive director, Teddy Grennan, likens his event to piloting a jet.

"It's so funny, I think I've explained this to you before, it's almost like we're taking off, you know, on an airplane, and it's a one-way ticket to get over this thing," Grennan says. "We're going to get over it one way or the other. We might lose a wheel on the landing, but we've always been able to get over it."

But festival attendees know that Grennan and his colleagues have landed that plane, time and again, with a pretty impressive passenger list. Previous guests have included Oscar-winners Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster, Oliver Stone and Geena Davis. Among this year's honorees is another Oscar-winner, Gwyneth Paltrow.

"It's a coup. Think of what she represents as far as a mother and she's recently engaged ... and she's got this online presence that I think touches a lot of different ages, but she's such a positive force," says Grennan.

For many festival attendees, it's all about the movies; and this year's slate includes nearly two dozen feature films -- from independent projects fresh out of the recent Sundance Festival, to big-budget action films like Beirut, which stars Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike.

Actress Kate Bosworth is heading to Sun Valley for the North American premiere of her new film NONA, which explores the ongoing crisis of human trafficking.

"We had actually heard a story on NPR in Los Angeles that highlighted the amount of sex houses that are known in the L.A. area, which was shocking to us, there were 44 known houses, and some of them were not so far from our own home," Bosworth says.

Bosworth co-stars in NONA and is also one of the film's producers.

Meanwhile, Idaho author Samantha Silva is getting set for the premiere of her very first film as a director -- The Big Burn -- which took home the top prize in the One Potato screenwriting competition at last year's festival. For the past 12 months, she's been shooting and editing The Big Burn in anticipation of its world premiere. 

"I've written screenplays for more than 20 years, but this was my first at the helm," Silva says. "I would call myself an accidental filmmaker. I didn't really intend to write a film that I would direct, but the One Potato changed that and the people at the Sun Valley Film Festival really encouraged me to direct the film."

Silva will see her film premiere Thursday at The Magic Lantern. That's one of three venues which will screen movies over the next five days. The Sun Valley Film Festival gets underway Wednesday with an opening night screening at the Sun Valley Opera House.

For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

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