Park City Film Series fills May schedule before taking the summer off
Ryan Summerlin April 30, 2014
May is a bittersweet month for the 2013-14 Park City Film Series.
Bitter, because the film series has to shut down early for the summer. Sweet because the Park City Library and Education Center’s Jim Santy Auditorium, which is the film series’ home, will be under construction to help the building go green.
"We are excited for the addition of the green elements to the Park City Library and Education Center," said Katharine Wang, executive director of the Park City Film Series and a board member of the Park City Library. "The building is so inefficient when it came to energy conservation and the renovation goal will be LEED Silver."
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a system established by the U.S. Green Building Council, is a certification program that recognizes best-in-class energy efficient and environmentally friendly building strategies and practices.
In order for the Library renovation to begin on schedule, the Park City Film Series will close two weeks early.
But that doesn’t mean the series will scrimp on screening quality art films.
In fact, the first film of the month, "Alive Inside," which will screen on May 1, premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award for Best Documentary, Wang said.
The film, directed by Michael Rosatto-Bennett follows Dan Cohen, a social worker and executive director of the nonprofit organization "Music & Memory," as he goes from nursing home to nursing home loading donated iPods with music for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, she said.
"It is not yet out for distribution, but we heard a lot from the community and they wanted it back as soon as we could get it," Wang said. "We want to make sure as many people possible see this film at a large scale so the information can transfer as widely as possible in order to fundamentally change the lives of these patients."
After the screening there will be a Question and Answer session via Skype with director Michael Rosatto-Bennett moderated by Strategic News Services/FiRe Films director Sharon Anderson-Morris, who is underwriting the films.
The screening will start at 7 p.m. and admission is a suggested donation of $10.
"The funds will help the film get a wide distribution deal," Wang said. "It has been picked up for limited release, but we feel it needs to get to every town and every theatre."
The next film on the schedule will be Denis Villeneuve’s "Enemy," starring Jake Gyllenhaal, that will fill the regular weekend screening slot on May 2 through May 4,
"Enemy" is based on a book by Portuguese author and Nobel Prize winner Jose Sarmago’s novel, "The Double."
"Jose is one of my favorite authors and is a surreal and imaginative writer," Wang said. "Jake meets his double that is connected to him in a sinister way. Throughout the film, the audience wonders if it’s his twin or someone who looks like him or could it be a split-personality."
The following week, on May 8, the Park City Film Series will host another Thursday screening. The film will be the Utah premiere of Sylvia Caminer’s "Tanzania: A Journey Within."
This is a documentary about Venance Ndidalema, a brilliant man who grew up very poor in Tanzania and wound up at the University of Miami in Florida, and Kristen, a friend from North Carolina, who has never been out of the United States.
"This film shows how much the experience of traveling opens her eyes to African culture," Wang explained. "Kristen gets to see Mt. Kilimanjaro and gets to see what it’s like to live in an African village, and at one point she ends up contracting malaria and comes in touch with her own mortality."
Both the director and Ndidalema will be on site for a Q&A after the screening.
"There is a fundraising campaign built around the film called 1 Ticket Sold=1 Life Saved, which is working with Malaria No More," Wang said. "The proceeds of the ticket sales will go to malaria treatments of young children in Africa."
The following weekend screening, on May 9 through May 11, will feature John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s "Finding Vivian Maier," a documentary about street photographer Vivian Maier.
"This in an intriguing film," Wang said. "Vivian Maier was a nanny in Chicago and would walk around taking man-on-the-street black and white photographs in the 1950s. She was a complete unknown artist until a couple of years before she died.
"She took more than 100,000 photographs and captured American life during that time period," Wang explained. "Her photos crossed the economic spectrum and she was able to look at society from the fringes."
The idea of the film emerged when Maloof bought a bunch of negatives of these photos at an auction and started releasing them.
"The film is about him discovering Maier through interviews of the children she nannied," Wang said.
The next film on the list, for May 16 through 18, is Declan Lowney’s comedy "Alan Partridge."
"Steve Coogan has been playing this character named DJ Alan Partridge for 20 years and he is well-known in England," Wang said. "Partridge is a no-filter, small-town radio personality filled with dry wit and English humor. He’s kind of like the equivalent to Stephen Cobert and he inhabits it so well."
The film’s setting is a radio station that gets bought out by a big owner and everyone is worried about losing their jobs.
"So, Alan winds up taking over the station and broadcasts while on a slow-speed chase," Wang said. "It’s a hilarious film."
The last film of the seasons, which will be screened on May 23 though May 25, is Wes Anderson’s "Grand Budapest Hotel."
"Wes is an amazing storyteller," Wang said. "The film is set in 1930s Eastern Europe, when things were opulent and presentation was everything."
However, in the background is the rise of Nazi Germany, so there is a sinister element to the film, she said.
"It’s a story about Gustav H, a hotel concierge, played by Ralph Fiennes," Wang said. "One of his lovers, who is a guest at the hotel, dies and leaves him a mysterious painting."
The painting is stolen and the rest of the film is dedicated to tracking it down.
"It features an all-star cast and many cameo appearances by Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Willem DaFoe and Jude Law, who do vignettes throughout the film," Wang said. "Wes is able to curate his actors in a sense and drop them in when they are needed.
"It’s a mystery and comedy and funny, but vary smart," she said. "It is based on real events, but a fictionalized account. We are excited to bring that in as the closing film of our season. It’s artistically well-done, and a great story."
In addition to the regular screenings and special Thursday screenings, the Park City Film Series will continue its free Books 2 Movies screenings with "Babe" on May 3, and "Holes" on June 7.
Also, the Tumbleweeds Film Festival will present an afternoon of family-friendly shorts on Saturday, May 17.
For more information about the Park City Film Series, visit www.parkcityfilmseries.com.