Filmmakers Showcase celebrates the big 10 |

Filmmakers Showcase celebrates the big 10

The Filmmakers Showcase, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend, will feature an array of short films including Shaz Bennett's "Alaska's a Drag." The showcase will be held in the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium. (Courtesy of Shaz Bennett)

The Filmmakers Showcase will celebrate its 10th birthday this weekend.

For the past decade, award-wining filmmaker and Park City resident Jill Orschel has curated the showcase, which is comprised of independent short films created by Utah artists.

This year’s event, which is free and open to the public, will be held Friday through Sunday, Nov. 13-15, at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library, and it will be a little different than past years.

Friday and Saturday screenings start at 8 p.m. Then on Sunday, the showcase will present a special screening of Brad Barber and Scott Christopherson’s award-winning documentary "Peace Officer" at 6 p.m. (See story titled "Peace Officer" will cap the 10th annual Filmmakers Showcase)

The evenings will start with preshow screenings of student films on a big-screen TV in the common room across from the auditorium, Orschel said.

(For a full list of films, see story titled "Filmmakers Showcase list of films in alphabetical order")

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"We’ll have four student films from Park City High School and a lot of them are silent films," she explained. "We’ll have concessions and a license for beer and wine and some live entertainment."

Friday’s and Saturday’s screenings will be comprised of an array of short films, ranging in length from two to 14 minutes.

"Each night’s screenings will run 90 minutes long and we’ll have a short discussion with some of the filmmaker," Orschel said. "Then we’ll show ‘Peace Officer’ on Sunday."

Orschel look back and reflected on the growth of the showcase.

"It’s been incredible because it all started off as just a little mom-and-pop film exhibit," Orschel said. "It was a little gathering and we would bring in people to see these films. I would make soup or chili."

Now, the films are screening in the state-of-the-art, newly remodeled Jim Santy Auditorium in the Park City Library.

"But that’s only part of it, because the films we are getting in are very top notch," Orschel said. "We’re not only attracting higher-quality films, but it’s that higher-quality films are being made in Park City and throughout Utah."

Orschel cites the development of strong film programs and the resources that have been made available to students and adults as major factors in do-it-yourself filmmaking that yields interesting and strong films.

"In our hometown alone, the Park City Library has cameras, computers to edit, sound rooms and a green screen," she said. "You can make a whole film with what the library has and that’s really great."

The availability of this technology has made it possible for more people to make films. "Even a phone can make a film," Orschel said. "There was a film at the Sundance Film Festival called ‘Tangerine,’ by Sean Baker, that was all done by three iPhone 5S’s."

While Orschel is excited for the technology and opportunity for more people to make film, she feels a film needs to have substance to be good.

"I’m still a firm believer that even though you have a pencil and a piece of paper does not mean you will create the great American novel," she said. "So, technology isn’t the only thing that makes great films."

That’s why she thinks an amateur filmmaker should tighten up his or her talents with formal training.

"Sharon Maddux’s class at Treasure Mountain Junior High and the program at Park City High School that was started by her late husband Chris are prime examples of good film programs," Orschel said. "Kyle Fish is the film teacher now at Park City High School and keeping the program strong."

The University of Utah is also a hot bed for filmmakers.

"We have films coming in from there from both students and faculty," she said. "Brigham Young University also has one of the best animation programs in the nation and they have a TV channel that reaches all over the world. And Salt Lake Community College has a fine reputation for its film program."

Then there are nonprofit community-based organizations like Spy Hop and KUED’s Video West Program.

"We have a short from one of the kids from Spy Hop, and we have several shorts from Video West," Orschel said. "Doug Fabrizio is the curator of Video West and his producer Elaine Clark is such a go-getter. I’ve loved working with her the past two years and we’re going to show her film, ‘Pick a Peach.’"

Of course, The Sundance Institute has been a big driving factor of filmmaking in Utah.

"It has done a great job of reaching out to young people during the Sundance Film Festival by making their films available to students in classrooms and their summer series," Orschel said.

Then there is the Park City Film Series and its executive director, Katharine Wang.

"Katy has done an incredible job with the series because she knows how to create community through film," Orschel said. "I’ve been part of the series as a projectionist from day one and it’s been exciting to see how it’s evolved.

"I’ve enjoyed my personal collaboration with Katy because we come from two different sensibilities," Orschel said. "I’m a sensitive filmmaker and want to create a safe place for people to show their films. Katy, on the other hand, has a keen sense of space when it comes to the auditorium. She knows what works for an audience and helps create a connection and develops a deeper conversation beyond the films themselves."

Collaboration among filmmakers is another development that emerged out of the showcase.

"One thing I enjoy about the showcase is how people network," Orschel said. "It’s so exciting to show in collaboration with the Park City Film Series. I love doing this each year. There is such great talent in Utah filmmakers and it’s great to get everyone together."

Orschel is happy that the Filmmakers Showcase is still going strong.

"I’m really proud of it," she said. "It not only has helped new and established filmmakers grow, but it has also helped me progress as an artist and filmmaker. I always take something out of each showcase. And some of these filmmakers have become lifelong friends of mine."

The 10th Annual Filmmaker’s Showcase will be held at the Jim Santy Auditorium of the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., from Friday, Nov. 13 through Sunday, Nov. 15. Friday’s and Saturday’s screenings will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday’s screening of "Peace Officer" will begin at 6 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit .