"Poignant. Even in its silences, the film is telling." -The Boise Weekly
What is your earliest memory/ awareness that you wanted to be involved in the “creative life”?
Hmm. That is a very good question. I think the creative life is just the way I have always lived. I grew up on a 600 acre ranch about an hour from Sun Valley. It was actually a farm, because we grew wheat, not animals, but for some reason I always think a farm needs chickens or something, so I call it a ranch. The closest little town was 30 minutes away and our nearest neighbor was a mile. I spent most of my time outside, figuring out ways to entertain myself. My two older sisters and I would play “make-believe,” build forts, color and paint anything with a surface, catch butterflies, and play dress up with our pets. We had a lot of interaction with animals and nature. In the wintertime, I would just sit for hours playing by myself in the snow. I was always talking to myself and singing. My mom just let me be and I was encouraged to be in my own little creative world. We had an old black and white TV with access to local Idaho PBS. My mom would plop me down in front of the Bob Ross painting program while she vacuumed or worked around the house. As a result of my childhood and my mother’s support and encouragement to develop my artistic side, I have a very active internal, visual world. My dreams are especially vivid. I tend to spend a lot of time sorting through all of the pictures and stories running through my head. It is good that I now have a camera and editing software to help with this process!
-When people ask you what Capturing Wild Horses is about, what do you say?
Capturing Wild Horses is a documentary about the wild horse roundup that recently took place in Challis and also the process of trying to “capture” what wild horses are to me.
Read more here: http://ochigallery.com/blog/interview-with-desiree-fawn/
Ever since the first chairlift was installed in 1936, Sun Valley, Idaho, has been a magnet for progressive thinkers. Meet the next generation of adventure-seeking entrepreneurs ensure that maverick spirit endures.
After six years working in public relations in San Francisco, DeSiree’ Fawn, a fifth-generation Sun Valley native, was ready for a change. She got a master’s degree in filmmaking, formed her own company, Fawn Films (fawnfilms.com), and returned to Idaho. “One of the reasons I moved back,” says Fawn, 34, “is that I realized so many of the stories I wanted to tell were within a few hours of here.” Her first documentary, The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley, came out last year; it won numerous awards and is still showing at film festivals. “On one level, it’s not really about the wolves at all,” she says. “It’s about the different ways people live out west.” Up next: a film on wild horses.
I’m hot off watching this new little doc about the successful reintroduction of the Canadian gray wolf into Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming—and the subsequent bloodbath (both figurative and literal) between hunters, ranchers, wildlife advocates, and the wolves themselves. Made by filmmaker Desiree Fawn, a born-and-bred Idahoan and an old shred pal of mine, The Phantom Wolves does what a good documentary should—it expresses the many facets of the issue so eloquently that instead of taking sides, all I can do now is throw up my hands at the impossible complexity of the situation.
For a town so steeped in old-school Hollywood glamour, it’s a surprise that Sun Valley has never had a legitimate independent film festival until this year. And as one would expect from an inaugural effort, the Sun Valley Film Festival had a heavily regional focus.
An afternoon screening of DeSiree’ Fawn’s The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley at the Magic Lantern on March 16, for example, drew such a large crowd that organizers cobbled together another showing in an adjacent theater. And the festival’s prize pony, Magic Valley–which was produced by native daughter Heather Rae and directed by Jaffe Zinn–sold out the much larger Sun Valley Opera House well in advance of its hyped premiere on March 17.
There were many positive things taking place this weekend. There were a few films screened such as ‘The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley’ and ‘Magic Valley’ that sold-out. The festival organizers were so accommodating and flexible that they added additional screenings of these two Idaho-based films so the overflow of filmgoers could see them too. Another indication that this festival was going to be successful was when indie film mogul Harvey Weinstein called festival director Dana and asked if he could get two of his films screened at Sun Valley. The last-minute Weinstein indie films added were, ‘The Intouchables’ and ‘Bully.’ The film, ‘Bully’ has been garnering a lot of media attention lately because Harvey Weinstein is upset the movie received an R-rating for the use of the F-word.
SUN VALLEY, Idaho–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley, an official selection at the first-ever Sun Valley Film Festival, cuts to the emotional core of one of the most divisive topics in the American West: the wolf. The hour-long documentary provides a rare glimpse into the world of “wolf-lovers” and “wolf-haters” as it follows events surrounding the first legal wolf-hunting season that took place in Idaho in 2009, the by-product of a highly successful and contentious reintroduction of the species into the American West in the mid-1990s.
“Brief but poignant. Even in its silences, the film is telling.”
Sun Valley Film Festival director Sabina Dana Plasse comments, “It is a thrill to present Sun Valleyresident DeSiree’ Fawn’s first film The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley. Her film surpasses political controversy to understand the human heart.”
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A young woman with five generations of ranching heritage created the film “The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley.”
Filmmaker DeSiree Fawn says, “It was a story about these two cultures that I grew up in, fighting over something tangible, which is the wolf issue. My film is actually about people, not wolves. It’s about how people feel about the wolves here in Idaho, focusing on the Wood River Valley.”
Fawn says she’s shown “The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley” five times in Idaho now. She says her goal wasn’t to draw dividing lines between people, but to let all sides have their say.
DeSiree’ Fawn will present her movie “Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley” at 6p.m. Tuesday at the Community Library in Ketchum.
The free film showing features a variety of footage Sun Valley audiences will find interesting, from former footage local filmmaker Bob Pool shot of a wolf eating an elk at the Sun Valley Gun Club to some always-colorful statements by Stanley’s premiere wolf hater Rin Gillett.
It also features an interview with the former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf recovery coordinator Ed Bangs, who holds nothing back as he prepares to head off into retirement in his flipflops with a one-way ticket to Fiji.
As several audience members pointed out, Fawn did a remarkable job keeping the narrative balanced—she never, even in the audience Q&A session, chose a side herself. She emphasized that people must choose for themselves.
The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley is brief but poignant. Even in its silences, the film is telling. It is an enlightening window into the culture clash between the old Idaho way of life and the changing tide as ranching and agricultural traditions are altered or erased altogether. Fawn hopes to release The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley on DVD next year.
“The Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley” What happens when we play God with the natural harmony of the world? This documentary examines this question by studying the reintroduction of wolves into a habitat, where they had been eliminated by human’s years ago.
“Finding the truth of the human issue is really what the film is about,” Fawn says. “Finding out how many elk a wolf will eat in a year, that’s just according to who is telling you that information, unless you’re seeing it yourself.”
In fact, Fawn holds off on showing any wolves till the end of the movie. She also was able to gain the trust of a variety of wolf supporters and detractors because the New York-educated filmmaker is a fifth-generation Idahoan. With one particularly opinionated interviewee, she might not have landed the interview otherwise.
“I mentioned that our grandparents went to school together, then I got my local standing with him, and I was able to go up and interview him,” she says. “I just try to disappear into the camera. I think I was able to portray the essence of what they were trying to accomplish without making my presence known. There’s no judgment, and that’s what I think they pick up on.”
Posted on Thu, Sep. 29, 2011 06:09 AM
When DeSiree’ Fawn and her mother were in line ordering food at Perry’s in Ketchum, they heard an argument about the elk population and wolves. It was at that moment that Fawn decided she was going to make a documentary film about the controversy over the reintroduction of wolves in the West and focus on the first state-sanctioned wolf hunt that took place around the Wood River Valley during fall 2009.
“I wanted to do it because I wanted to learn about it,” she said. “It ended up sparking something deeper within me. It was not just a surface project.”
Fawn said the wolf issue symbolizes a cultural conflict.
Read more here: http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005137998