For years, the Park City Film Series has been a quiet beneficiary of the growing Sundance Film Festival, selling concessions at the Library Center Theatre. Though most of the festival's concessions stands are for-profit, the Film Series has been successfully using the temporary business setup to help support its programming for the remainder of the year. The annual concession stands raises a significant amount of money for the organization, making it one of the most important fundraisers of the year.
Though the Film Series relies heavily on volunteers year-round, they are especially important during Sundance. Katy Wang, Executive Director of the Film Series estimates that about 80 volunteers will help sell snacks at the venue. "A lot of people come back year after year," she says, "some are volunteers throughout the year and some come just for Sundance."
For the past two years, the Film Series has been running the stand independently, without contracting with a food vendor. This means more thought goes into concession offerings. "People can get a real meal here." says Wang. "We take pride in figuring out what the people coming here want." Some of the offerings this year include soup, burritos, salads, chili, sweet and savory pastries and gluten-free options. With sandwiches running about $6.50, this concession stand is likely the cheapest meal near Main Street.
Food this year comes from all over town with selections from Clockwork Café, Great Harvest and Park City Roasters. "Almost everything we get is local and freshly made, we want to support local businesses," says Wang. Some local businesses even donated portions of the food and beverage items to the organization. Park City Roasters, which has a long-standing relationship with the Film Series, donated a significant portion of the coffee this year to help maximize profits.
With the money raised from selling snacks, the Film Series is able to support and expand its offerings to the community year-round. "one hundred percent of the money goes to the organization, and the bulk of our budget is for programming," said Wang. As the only year-round, non-profit, screening venue in the area, the Film Series also works with Sundance after the festival to show films and host filmmakers. "We are such a small venue so normally we couldn't get filmmakers [at our screenings]," she says. Wang hopes that in the next year the Jim Santy auditorium will see more filmmakers and cast members for post-screening Q&A's than in past years. The money raised this year during the festival will allow the Film Series to provide these unique opportunities without increasing ticket prices.
"[The money] all feeds back into the community and that's what we're all about," said Wang. "we provide quality programming year-round on par with Sundance and this helps us do that."
The Film Series will resume its regular programming Feb. 1 with a "Made in Utah Film Weekend." The weekend will show three movies shot in Utah, two of which were created by local filmmakers. The Utah filmmakers will be present for Q&A's Friday and Saturday. The weekend is supported by the Utah Film Commission which encourages filmmakers to work in Utah and supports local talent. For more information, visit www.parkcityfilmseries.com.