Annual showcase focuses on local filmmakers
November 4, 2017
For the past 12 years, Park City resident Jill Orschel has screened the works of local filmmakers during the Filmmakers Showcase.
The short films, which usually range between one minute to 30 minutes, have evolved in quality because the artists are finding new ways to express themselves, she said.
"I feel like the film making is advancing," Orschel, a filmmaker herself, told The Park Record. "We're not seeing that copycat film making that we saw a decade ago. Not all the high-schoolers are trying to be Quentin Tarantino, because there people who are making things that really reflect as expressions of themselves as artists."
Orschel says the films in this year's Filmmakers Showcase, which will be held on Nov. 9, at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium, are the best she has seen as curator.
"I feel that every film we have in the showcase can play at top-tier festivals," she said. "They could be at Sundance, South by Southwest, Tribeca and more."
A major part of the films' quality is the development of new cinematic technology over the years.
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"People can make high quality films with their phones," Orschel said. "There is also the development of drones that help the filmmaker reach the tops of mountains and the bottoms of canyons. While some people may see drones and consider them annoying,e hope these films will show them what drones can actually do."
One of the films that utilizes a drone is called "The Crown Traverse," by Matthew Irving.
"It's a great adventure with beautiful landscape," Orschel said. "We have several other pieces with drone footage, as well."
While the visuals are important to the films in this year's showcase, there are themes that have stuck out more than in years past.
"I've seen films about home – finding home, creating home, or coming back to home," Orschel said. "We have films that break down that concept even more to create a new sense of place and belonging."
One film is actually titled "Home."
"It was made by our youngest filmmaker, Mia Li Cutler, a ninth grader at Treasure Mountain Jr. High," Orschel said. 'The film is animated, and she is a talent to watch for."
Another film, "States of America," by Brad Barber, who teaches at Brigham Young University, takes the home concept to a bigger level.
"Brad has visited all the states in the country and plans to create a little five-minute piece on each," Orschel said. "While each state has its own character, but there is still a universal feel to it. We will get to see his Utah segment."
There are two other films, "A Kitchen Can Talk Back" and "To Close a Monastery," which were directed by Doug Fabrizio and produced by Elaine Clark, both known for their work on the RadioWest program at KUER.
"They have an editor, Kelsie Moore, who really knows what she's doing," Orschel said.
In addition to the theme of home, films in the showcase focus on another theme – the future.
"A film called 'Tomorrow's Shores,' by filmmaker Arthur Veenema, fits into this category," Orschel said. "He has had films in our showcase every year, and I hope he gets discovered."
The Showcase will feature nearly 20 films this year.
"There are eight films about the outdoors and landscapes, seven films about people and relationships and four films that have interpersonal themes," Orschel said. "Of those include two narratives, nine documentaries, three experimental films, one animated film, two music videos and eye candy."
Orschel said while she is the showcase's curator, she really doesn't pick and choose which films to screen.
"It just happens organically," she said. "All year long there are people on my radar, and, in turn, I'm on their radar. I just want to get whoever has new work on the big screen."
Orschel has leaned more on the Park City Film Series to help with this year's event.
"[Executive Director] Katharine Wang is a great collaborator, and I'm working with Kathleen Stone who has helped freed me from the logistics of the showcase," she said. "That has given me space to create and evening that is something special."
Orschel said the films are sequenced into an overall narrative experience.
"Each film will build on the ones screened before it," she said. "While I tried to do that in the past, with the sequencing, I feel that this year is really coming through."
Orschel, as she has done in the past, has also created a pre-screening experience that starts at 6:30 p.m.
The pre-screening experience will include a virtual reality demo by Carol Dalrymple, loop screenings of "The Wave" by Christian Madsen and "The Film Machine" by the Also Sisters and the University of Utah Grip & Lighting Class.
"We will also loop a film called 'Winter Wonderland,' by Daniel Riley," Orschel said. "He uses drones a lot in his films and we will hopefully a drone display if he isn't too busy with his work in Seattle."
Opening and closing the festival is a film by Andy Cier, who is on the Sundance Institutes's Board of Trustees.
"Andy had this great footage of the solar eclipse, and when I saw it, it inspired me," Orschel said. "It's not just the eclipse itself, but also includes the group who gathered to watch it." A post screening reception will be held in the Park City Library's Community Room.
"Everyone is welcome," Orschel said. "We'll have refreshments for everyone and then serve beer and wine … We want people to come meet the filmmakers from our community." Orschel said she is thankful for the support of the community over the past 12 years and wanted to thank her sponsors, Park City Film Series, Utah Film Commission, Utah Arts & Museums, Park City Community Foundation and the Summit County RAP Tax.
"The Filmmakers Showcase wouldn't be what it is without them," she said. "I know it's not a perfect science because I don't always get everyone into the showcase. But I want people to contact me throughout the year, because we are always open to showing people's work. We're inclusive, We have diverse voices and want to introduce the public to local talent."
The 12th annual Filmmakers Showcase will start at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit facebook.com/events/1934990160101723 or http://www.parkcityfilm.org.
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