‘Anote’s Ark’ screening addresses more than climate change | ParkRecord.com

‘Anote’s Ark’ screening addresses more than climate change

Matthieu Rytz’s documentary, “Anote’s Ark,” which will be screened by the Park City Film Series on Thursday, is about Kiribati’s king Anote Tong’s quest to find a home for the 100,000 people who live on his Pacific island nation before it is swallowed up by the sea.

The Park City Film Series' upcoming free Thursday screening of Matthieu Rytz's documentary, "Anote's Ark," has a two-fold mission, said Katharine Wang, executive director of the series.

The first objective is to shine a spotlight on Park City Climate Week, a seven-day celebration that raises awareness of climate change. And the second part is to showcase the Jim Santy Auditorium's new accessibility options, which include closed captions and support for audio description devices.

"Anote's Ark" fits in with climate week because the documentary, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, is about the 100,000 people who live on the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, Wang said.

Kiribati sits on the crosspoints of the Equator and International Date Line, and the island is confronting potential annihilation from rising sea levels due to climate change, Wang said.

Clearly, what we are going through isn’t as dire as Kiribati, but there is a parallel...” Katharine Wang, Park City Film Series executive director

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"Anote Tong, who was Kiribati's president at the time the film was made, is trying to find a way to relocate his nation's people, and do it with dignity," she said. "He is looking for places while traveling around the world and gathering as much information as he can about climate change and other countries."

Tong's concern is to find a place and keep his people's culture intact.

"While he and his people don't want to leave the island, they have to leave," Wang said. "There is no alternative."

The plight of the island nation has some similarities to that of the plight of Park City because both communities are affected by climate change, according to Wang.

"If we don't have snow, it affects our economy, and we already live in a high desert," she said. "Clearly, what we are going through isn't as dire as Kiribati, but there is a parallel."

The reason why Wang and the Park City Film Series selected "Anote's Ark" to introduce the Jim Santy Auditorium's ADA-compliant capabilities is simple: the film features closed captions and has audio description capabilities, which are mandated by the Department of Justice.

Audio descriptions consist of a narrative of what is happening on the screen.

"While the DOJ didn't require these devices for a theater of our size, we felt that art should be accessible for all," Wang said. "So we partnered with the Sundance Institute and Park City to offer these amenities to our audiences."

The Film Series also received a grant from the Summit County RAP Tax and another grant from the Katherine W. and Ezekiel Dumke Jr. Foundation to acquire the accessibilty options, Wang said.

"We will have a display of our closed-caption and audio-description devices to examine," Wang said. "Now that we have these capabilities, we can include more of our community members in conversations about issues such as climate change."

Speaking of conversations, the documentary will be followed by a panel discussion that will be moderated by Nell Larson, executive director of the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter and host of KPCW's This Green Earth program.

The panel will feature Daniel Mendoza of the Global Change and Sustainability Center at the University of Utah,, Luke Cartin, the environmental sustainability manager of Park City Municipal, and state Rep. Angela Romero (D–Salt Lake City), Wang said.

"We will also include a pre-screening showcase about clean energy that will feature local nonprofits from the area," she said. "They will show us what they are doing to raise awareness about climate change."

The Park City Film Series and Sundance Institute will present a free screening of Matthieu Rytz’s “Anote’s Ark,” from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave. A discussion will follow the screening. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit parkcityfilmseries.com.