Free films help families and friends fill the holiday break |

Free films help families and friends fill the holiday break

Screenings held at the Santy Auditirum

Holiday break is a time where kids of all ages have the opportunity to spend time with their friends and families. The challenge is finding things to do.

So, at the request of Park City Manager Diane Foster, the Park City Ice Arena, the PC MARC and the Park City Library were charged to come up with a schedule of family-friendly activities that will take place during the break that runs from Monday, Dec. 26, to Friday, Dec. 30.

The schedule can be found on the Park City School District’s website,

While the Ice Arena will offer open skating sessions and the MARC has scheduled some drop-in activities such as ping pong, arcade games, an open gymnasium and bouldering, to name a few, the Park City Library — in addition to its YouCreate Lab offerings — reached out to the Park City Film Series to set up a string of family-friendly movie screenings at the Jim Santy Auditorium, said Katharine Wang, Park City Film Series executive director.

“The library’s Youth Services Librarian Katrina Kmak and I sat down and put together a slate of films to screen that we thought would be fun and not just be candy-filler,” Wang said during a Park Record interview. “We wanted films that kids would want to come to with their families to be entertained, but we also wanted to show films that were high-quality and fit in with what the Park City Film Series is known for.”

Although not all of the films selected aren’t independent films, Wang and the Kmak wanted to make sure the series offered a broad selection of films that were entertaining and contained strong storylines.

The selected films are as follows:

  • Monday, Dec. 26: “Pete’s Dragon,” rated PG, by David Lowery
  • Tuesday, Dec. 27: “The BFG,” rated PG, by Steven Spielberg
  • Wednesday, Dec. 28: “Ghostbusters,” rated PG-13, by Paul Feig
  • Thursday, Dec. 29: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” rated PG-13, by J.J. Abrams
  • Friday, Dec. 30: “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” rated PG-13, by Alfonso Gomez-RejonAll the films will start at 3 p.m. in the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave., and each screening will include free popcorn.

    “While our full concessions won’t be open, we wanted to let the kids enjoy a full movie experience with popcorn,” Wang said. “All they have to do is bring their own bowls and we’ll fill them with popcorn.”

    Wang is looking forward to sharing these films with Park City.

    “We start off with ‘Pete’s Dragon’ that just came out a few months ago,” she said. “It’s a remake of the classic 1977 film, which is about an orphan boy who befriends a dragon who lives in the Pacific Northwest. It’s along the same lines as ‘E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,’ where a child befriends a magical creature. It’s very entertaining and has a great storyline.”

    This film has a strong tie with independent film.

    “The director, David Lowery directed ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,’ which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival,” Wang said.

    Robert Redford, the founder of the Sundance Film Festival, also narrates the film.

    “That’s a little bonus, seeing that we’re coming up on the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in a few weeks,” she said.

    “The BFG,” which stands for “The Big Friendly Giant” is the next screening.

    “This film is based on the classic Roald Dahl children’s book,” Wang explained. “Steven Spielberg is the director for this one and, speaking of ‘E.T.,’ the screenplay was written by Melissa Mathison, who wrote the screenplay for ‘E.T.’”

    “The BFG” is about an orphan named Sophie, who is whisked away to Giant Country in the middle of the night by a giant, whom she isn’t quite sure is friendly or not.

    “Of course, the giant turns out to be friendly and actually faces bullying by his giant peers,” Wang said. “He learns to stand up for himself with the help of his new, little friend.”

    The third film in the series is the 2016 version of “Ghostbusters.”

    “This film is rate PG-13 because of ghosts and zap-gun violence,” Wang said. “It follows the original [1984] film storyline that is about a paranormal invasion of Manhattan and a team of Ghostbusters who rise to the challenge.”

    In the 2016 film, the Ghostbusters are all female: Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones.

    “It’s fantastic to see women in these roles being funny in not a heavy-handed way,” Wang said. “They inhabit the roles in a very new way, even though it’s the same story.”

    Thursday’s screening will be “Start Wars: The Force Awakens,” which is rated PG-13 for action violence.

    “We wanted to show this because it’s the continuation of a classic story, but also because ‘Rogue One’ is just hitting the commercial theaters now,” Wang said.

    “Rogue One” is the prequel to 1977’s “Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope” which was the first “Star Wars” film ever released. “The Force Awakens” is Episode VII in the saga and takes place three decades after the fall of the Galactic Empire depicted in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”

    “Now there is a new threat, the First Order, and a whole new cast of heroes rise to combat that threat,” Wang said.

    The last screening of the week is “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.”

    “This one is straight out of our catalog of independent films and it opened up the Park City Film Series 2015 season,” Wang said. “It’s a fantastic film and I loved it for so many reasons.”

    “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is the story about being a teenager and explores the awkwardness of what that entails, Wang said.

    “Greg, who’s the main character and his co-worker Earl, who make films in their free time, are asked to befriend Rachel, one of their high school classmates who has just been diagnosed with leukemia,” she said. “It’s a very complex and engaging story. It did win the 2015 Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award.”

    From fantasy to narrative drama, these free films have something for everyone, Wang said.

    “We want anyone to come see these films,” she said. “You don’t have to be a student to attend, and if you’re an adult, you don’t have to have kids to attend. We’re happy to partner with the library to make these films available to the community.”

    The Park City Film Series and the Park City Library will partner for a series of free kids movie screenings that will be shown at 3 p.m. from Monday, Dec. 26, to Friday, Dec. 30, at the library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Avenue. For more information, visit For more activities, visit

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