Michael Tully’s "Ping Pong Summer" will kick off the Sundance Institute’s free summer film screenings in Park City in City Park on
Michael Tully's "Ping Pong Summer" will kick off the Sundance Institute's free summer film screenings in Park City in City Park on July 25. (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)
Summertime is a magical time in Park City.

Residents and visitors can participate in an array of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, camping, horseback riding, hot-air balloon rides and stand-up paddleboarding. And the evenings are filled with outdoor concerts and outdoor dining.

In the next few days, outdoor films will be added to the list when the Sundance Institute and the Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) start their respective free summer film series in town.

The Sundance Institute's Park City screenings will be held at City Park on Friday, July 25, with Michael Tully's "Ping Pong Summer" and PCMR will kick start its Movies on the Mountain series with Robert Zemeckis' "Back to the Future" on July 28.

Sundance Institute

Kara Cody, senior manager for Utah Community Programs for the Sundance Institute, said this year will be the 17th anniversary for their outdoor screenings.

"This is a way for the Institute to give something back to the local community," Cody told The Park Record. "Film is a great way to connect with each other and one of the Institute's missions is to introduce people to the Sundance Institute's wonderful artists.

"I mean, this is what we do and it's fun, because who doesn't like to watch movies outside?"

The Sundance screening schedule for Park City is:

  • July 25 — "Ping Pong Summer"

  • Aug. 1 — "Twenty Feet from Stardom"

  • Aug.

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    15 — "Big Night"

    "We like to look at films that played well at past Sundance Film Festivals," she said. "They are audience favorites, award winners and some that have a fun local connection that will be fun for an outdoor audience, because there are just some films that are great for outside viewing."

    Also, all the films, which start at sundown, are appropriate for families and are screened in partnership with various nonprofit organizations in town, Cody said.

    Robert Zemeckis’ "Back to the Future" will open Park City Mountain Resort’s free Movies on the Mountain on July 28. (Photo courtesy
    Robert Zemeckis' "Back to the Future" will open Park City Mountain Resort's free Movies on the Mountain on July 28. (Photo courtesy Internet Movie Database)

    "It's important for us nonprofits to work with each other," she said. "There is strength in numbers and film is a powerful way to tell a story.

    "If we can use a screening to bring awareness or attention to their cause, then it's a perfect fit for us," Cody said. "Our most successful events we do in Summit County and Park City are ones where we collaborate with other organizations."

    "Ping Pong Summer," which is screened in collaboration with Park City Recreation, is fun because it takes place in 1985.

    "It's a visual time capsule of the 1980s," Cody said. "There is a fascination with that time period and we thought this would be a good one to start the Park City screenings with.

    "We are collaborating with Park City Recreation because we did this a few years ago with 'Bones Brigade' and had the skateboard jam in the park," Cody said. "We wanted to do something similar and once we saw this film, we thought it would be perfect for us to set up ping pong in the park."

    Cody also hopes people who attend the screening will bring out their '80s wear.

    "We want to see parachute pants, high tops and day-glow scrunchies," she said laughing.

    For Morgan Neville's "Twenty Feet from Stardom," Sundance is working with the Park City Institute and the Kimball Arts Festival.

    "It's a perfect fit for that weekend, because the Park City Institute is presenting Muscle Shoals Live with Lisa Fischer as part of the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert that Sunday and Lisa is in the film," Cody said. "With the Park City Kimball Arts Festival going on at the same time, it will be a very good weekend for the arts."

    Cody said "Twenty Feet From Stardom" is a film she can watch over and over again.

    "It's a wonderful documentary and an Academy Award-winner," she said. "The great thing about this film is that there is a lot of meat to it, but it's such an uplifting documentary."

    The last Park City screening is Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci's "Big Night."

    "This film, which is about the owners of a failing Italian restaurant, premiered at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award," Cody said. "It's a perfect fit for the Grub Crawl that the Park City Chamber will present that weekend."

    The Grub Crawl is an event that introduces Main Street restaurants to the public.

    "Park City Chamber reached out to us about doing a screening as a way to highlight Summit County as a destination for the culinary arts and arts in general," Cody said. "This film is such a perfect fit. You definitely don't want to go see it hungry."

    In addition, "Big Night" will be screened as a 35 mm film.

    "It's been a couple of years that we have presented a 35 mm film for an outdoor screening," Cody said. "Many older films like this aren't available, yet, in digital format.

    Even if we project a DVD, the quality isn't great. And at Sundance we take pride in our presentations. A 35 mm of 'Big Night' was available and we wanted to break it out."

    During each of the screenings, the Park City Institute will ask the public to vote for the final film of the summer that will be screened on Aug. 27 at Red Butte Garden.

    Audiences will vote on three films that have music themes. They are "SLC Punk," "U2 3D" and "Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap."

    "We are utilizing HP Tablets at the screenings, so there will be no more counting little pieces of paper," Cody said.

    Votes can also be cast online at www.sundance.org/utah . The voting will end on Aug. 15.

    "We will announce the winner a few days later," Cody said.

    For more information about the Sundance Institute's free summer film screenings, visit www.sundance.org .

    Park City Mountain Resort

    Last year marked the debut of Park City Mountain Resort's Movies on the Mountain, and it was such a success, everyone wanted to do it again, said Andy Miller, PCMR's communication manager.

    "We want to get people on the mountain because summer is a great time to get outdoors in Park City and that twilight hour is wonderful," Miller told The Park Record. "We have a lot of people, locals and lodging guests, who come up to the mountain and participate in the activities during the day and they can just stay and enjoy the evening.

    "We were excited for the turnout last year and have already gotten a great response from the community," he said. "So we wanted to bring the series back and we're looking forward to the series this year."

    Miller said Movies on the Mountain creates an atmosphere conducive for families.

    "Screenings take place on the lawn, next to the resort plaza, by the kids adventure zone," he said. "We set up a big screen, provide concessions, including a variety of beverages and popcorn for sale."

    Also, Legends Bar & Grill, which is next to the movie location, will offer special desserts every week, Miller said.

    "This makes for a terrific setting to spread out a blanket and enjoy free films," he explained. "People can also bring chairs as well. It works out pretty well because there is a lot of space to spread out, so no one gets in the way of the people behind them."

    The screenings will take place every Monday from July 28 through Aug. 18, and the films start just after sunset, which is approximately between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., and families can stake out their turf beginning at 8 p.m.

    PCMR's staff selected the films that include:

  • Aug. 4 — Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud's "Despicable Me"

  • Aug. 11 — Richard Donner's "The Goonies"

  • Aug. 18 — Rob Reiner's "The Princess Bride"

    "We looked for films that appeal to a wide range of people," Miller said. "We wanted to get films that adults would be excited to see and feel comfortable bringing their families, as well."

    Miller is personally looking forward to "Back to the Future."

    "This was one of the films that we scheduled to show a year ago, but it got rained out," he said. "So were looking forward to it leading the series off this year."

    For more information about Park City Mountain Resort's free Movies on the Mountain film series, visit www.pcmr.com.