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The 35mm film projector at the Jim Santy Auditorium needs to be replaced by a digital projector if the Park City Film Series is going to continue into 2014. (Photos by Christopher Reeves/Park Record)
The Park City Film Series, a nonprofit organization that screens independent films at the Jim Santy Auditorium, has been around for 14 years.

It has seen its share of changes and film-industry protocol, but nothing will impact the organization as much as digital film will in the upcoming year, said Katy Wang, executive director of the Park City Film Series.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the film industry will begin distributing all their films digitally and stop making 35mm films, Wang said.

"To put things in perspective, during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, only five of the movies that came through the festival were on 35mm," Wang told The Park Record. "Sundance brought in their own digital projectors and let us use them this past year. They pushed our equipment to the side and we used theirs."

While the Film Series had the luxury of working with the Sundance Institute then, the reality is if Wang and her staff want to continue to showcase independent foreign films, documentaries and art house films on a year-round basis, it needs to go digital.

"A lot of filmmakers are shooting on digital already," she explained. "To print that on 35mm film is time and cost consuming. It takes about $1,500 to do that and then there is an additional cost of distribution."

However, the films look great, Wang said.

"The visual quality is unmatched," she said. "I liken the conversion to when vinyl records went to CDs. You miss some of the pops and crackles, but the fidelity and luminosity is so sharp and clear.


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"All the commercial screens have converted and 50 to 60 percent of art house screens have converted, but all of the art house screens are in the same boat as we are because we are nonprofit organizations," Wang said. "Here at the film series, we are spending time writing grants, working with the Park City Municipal and the Sundance Institute, too, which is fantastic for us to have those resources. But we also need to look to the community to help us."

The Film Series wants to buy one of the Sundance Institute's used projectors, and then eventually upgrade the theater.

However, Wang said they would still hold on to the 35mm projector, just in case a good, old-fashioned film comes around.

The Film Series needs to raise $75,000, Wang said.

"It's not the entire amount we have to raise, but it's the amount that we're looking to raise from the community's private citizens," she explained. "We have a $20,000 matching grant from the Summit County restaurant tax grants. So the first $20,000 in donations will get doubled."

To add to the excitement, the Park City Film Series is tapping into the area's filmmaker community.

"We're a town that is all about films, and we're asking for submissions of two-minute shorts that address the topic of 'What does the Park City Film Series and independent film mean to our community?'" Wang said. "We'll take the winning films and screen them before our regular screenings on the weekends. The films will be screened one winner per weekend."

Prizes for the winners will include, obviously, a chance to screen their film on the big screen at the Jim Santy auditorium, Wang said.

Other prizes will include a one-hour, one-on-one consultation with local filmmaker Jill Orschel, a 10-punch pass to the Park City Film Series, a tour of local film production studios or sets, a gift certificate for film/video equipment and a curated DVD collection of great independent films.

The guidelines are simple, Wang said.

"First off, the films have to be inspiring and express the importance of the Park City Films Series and art-house cinema in Park City," she said. "And it has to fit within the theme."

The films also have to be compelling, moving and funny, and no more than two-minutes long.

"It also cannot contain any third-party video, photographs, audio, music or graphics that isn't owned by the filmmaker," Wang said. "No stock video or other media can be used in these films."

Lastly, the films need to be family-friendly.

"We don't want any nudity or lewd and vulgar films," Wang said. "That includes offensive language and gestures."

Submissions will be accepted until Nov. 1 and the winners will be announced on Nov. 8.

"Anyone can submit a film for the general-prize categories," Wang said. "We will have a student category that is open to ages 18 and under and we will have a college category where contestants must be enrolled in a college or a university."

Judges, members of the review panel and their immediate family members and same households, whether related or not, are not eligible to participate.

"We also will welcome submissions from other states," Wang said. "If the filmmakers love the Park City Film Series and what we do, then we are more than happy to accept their films in the contest.

"We really want this contest to be from the heart and from the community that expresses the value of having an art house cinema in the community," she said. "We're one of a kind and have been around for 14 years and want to be around indefinitely.

For more information or questions about the Park City Film Series' Go Digital or Go Dark campaign or the Big Screen Contest, please contact Katy Wang, Executive Director: katy@parkcityfilmseries.com or (435) 615-8291.