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Sun Valley Film Festival Offers Peek Behind the Curtain and ‘Outer Banks’
Wednesday, February 22, 2023


The Sun Valley Film Festival offered a sneak peek at two of the movies it will be showing March 29-April 2. And Sun Valley screenwriter Josh Pate unveiled the first episode of season three of “Outer Banks” to a full house of about 350 teens and pre-teens at The Argyros during three events this past weekend to drum up excitement for the upcoming festival.

Candice Pate, the film festival’s executive director, told an audience at one of the events that one of this year’s star films will be the documentary “Deep Rising.” which just dropped at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Directed by Matthieu Rytz, it’s a documentary that reads like a horror film: “The fate of the planet’s last untouched wilderness, the deep ocean, is under threat as a secretive organization is about to allow massive extraction of seabed metals to address the world’s energy crisis.”

Fittingly, it’s narrated by Jason Momoa, who not only appeared in “Baywatch: Hawaii” and the “Game of Thrones” but portrayed “Aquaman” in a variety of action movies.

“It’s a film with villains and superheroes,” said Pate. “It’s a beautifully shot film.”

Joining it will be Boise filmmaker Heather Rae’s “Fancy Dance,” which also is having its coming-out party at Sundance. It follows an indigenous people, the tightness of their community juxtaposed with a tremendous amount of violence.

George Prentice, host of the Morning Show at Boise Public Radio, noted that the Sun Valley Film Festival scored a couple of coups list year. It opened up with “Fire of Love,” a National Geographic documentary about two volcano chasers that is up for an Oscar.

And it premiered “Navalny,” a documentary about the Russian opposition leader who was poisoned, that is also up for an Oscar after winning a BAFTA award from the Brits.

“I’m struck by how many emerging storytellers come to the festival,” said Prentice, a longtime film critic. “And you can hang out with them at headquarters and get to know them.”

Josh Pate, who co-wrote the teenage adventure series “Outer Banks” with his twin brother Jonas Pate, introduced the first episode of the series’ third season to a theater full of eager teenagers. The episode will debut on Netflix on Thursday, Feb. 23.

The first episode included a plane wreck, a rescue, a pursuit by bloodthirsty dogs—plenty of action but, almost refreshingly--no kiss!

Josh Pate, who is married to the Film Festival’s Candice Pate, said he conceived the show while sitting in his office above Perry’s Restaurant.

“I saw a photo of a mansion on a beach. It was sunset and the mansion was dark because of a power outage,” said Pate, who grew up in the Carolinas. “I called my brother Jonas, a filmmaker and he asked, ‘What’s the plot, man?’ and hung up.”

“The first draft you have to let it suck and not care. It gets better with the second and third … and eighth draft…” he added.

Pate said that when he’s writing one episode he has only a vague idea of what’s going to happen in the next.

“You know what you want to end up with at the end of the season but no idea how you’re going to get there,” he added.

Asked how actors can act appropriately if they don’t know where they’re headed, Charles Esten who plays the father Ward Cameron in the series responded: “As a human being you don’t know where you going to be next year so you act as you do.”

The crew starts filming in February and finishes just in time for Christmas. It has three editors since the series takes longer to cut and finish than to shoot.

“I just don’t think there’s a more beautiful show on TV,” said Esten.

Cameramen tend to let footage run rather than yelling “Cut!” as they used to, said producer Sunny Hodge. Yelling “Cut!” not only adds layer of tension but there’s no longer the need to cut things off in the digital world as there were in the days of expensive film.

Digital has allowed them to create some special effects. For instance, set builders built a 20-foot-wide wall that the Pogues climb over in the upcoming episode. But with digital they were able to extend the fence visually.

It doesn’t hurt that they have a champion video game player as their drone master.

If you think there’s a lot of sunsets in the show…well, “Never waste a sunset,” said Pate. “We shoot the rest of the day but we emphasize the sunsets.”

Esten acknowledged that his character Ward Cameron can be seen as a villain. But he’s actually more complicated, he said.

“Sarah tells him how badly he’s ruined her life. And he says, ‘I know, I know. And I’m sorry. I’m going to do my best to make it up.’ ”

“Ward has all the gold and the cross and yet he literally has nothing,” he added. “The Pogues are on an island with just what’s on their backs, but they have everything.”

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