George Dymalski draws the curtain on his Park City Film Series tenure
Community invited to celebration after Sunday's screeming
June 9, 2017
Park City Film Series Technical and Program Director George Dymalski has a special connection with Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchesz's award-winning 1999 pseudo-documentary and horror film "The Blair Witch Project."
"One year, we had a hiccup when a film was loaded backwards, so it was up to me to prescreen the films to make sure they were loaded right," Dymalski said during a Park Record interview. "So, there I was in the empty theater watching the film by myself at 10 o'clock at night. I swore that there was someone behind the stage at one point."
Dymalski will take this and other memories with him when he retires from the Park City Film Series after Sunday's screening of Daniel Raim's documentary "Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story" at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium.
The reason he's leaving is so he can focus on other projects, especially music.
"I play in a number of bands and want to devote more of my free time that," he said. "I also do some songwriting. So this will help me concentrate on that."
Dymalski joined the Park City Film Series family as an attendee and then as a volunteer in 1996 when the nonprofit was still operating under the Utah Arts Council umbrella.
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"Jill Orschel trained me as a projectionist, because there were only a handful of projectionists, including Steve Hegerfeld, back then," Dymalski said. "We handled 35 millimeter film and there wasn't a lot of technology involved."
When the Park City Film Series officially became its own nonprofit in 1999, it was headed by Executive Director Frank Normile.
"Frank knew I had a technical background," said Dymalski, whose full-time job is being a software programmer. "He asked me to manage the projectors and make sure there weren't any technical glitches."
A couple years later, Normile asked Dymalski to do other projects that included creating a database that listed past screenings.
"I put in as much as I could, but I wasn't able to find all the calendars that I think went back to 1995 and 1996," Dymalski said. "I only found ones that went back to 1998."
In the early 2000s, the Park City Film Series moved into the digital age.
"I've always worked with computers and when the digital stuff started, I was able to handle the troubleshooting aspects and setting up the equipment," he said. "Frank relied on me, because we didn't have anyone else in the early days."
After Normile moved in 2006, the Park City Film Series was run by what Dymalski good-heartedly said was a "three-headed monster."
The monster included Destiny Grose, Libby Wadman and Dymalski.
"Destiny was in charge of programming, so when she ended up leaving, I took over the programming aspect in addition to my technical duties," Dymalski said.
As programmer, Dymalski scheduled the films and made sure they arrived and got sent back to the distributors.
One of the challenges as programmer was getting the films.
"We're a single-screen art-house theater, so we're pretty small potatoes," Dymalski said.
"Over the years, commercial theaters have been showing more art-house films that they didn't used to in the past, and sometimes the Holiday or Redstone gets a title we want, and then we find ourselves locked out."
Sometimes Dymalski would get lucky and secure an Academy Award-nominated or winning film.
While he considered the grab a victory, it always warmed Dymalski's heart to see audiences attend and enjoy the screenings.
"There is so much competition out there," he said. "You have larger art-house theaters like the Broadway in Salt Lake City that show art-house films three or four times a day and people can watch films on TV, the phones or other devices."
Dymalski said there is nothing like seeing a film on the big screen with a group of people, and he is pleased the Park City Film Series not only hosts more screenings each month, but also has partnered with other nonprofits to make these screenings possible.
"We have some great nonprofits in town, and film is so important to help get their messages out," he said. "And that it gets you talking."
Dymalski will miss working with the volunteers.
"We have always been volunteer driven," he said. "We wouldn't be able to do these screenings without our volunteers."
Dymalski also wanted to thank the current executive director, Katharine Wang.
"Since she came on, we've been able to partner with more nonprofits for our Reel Community Series screenings that are usually held on Thursdays," he said. "I program the weekend screenings, and she is the one who does the mid-week programming as well as the partnerships.
"We're hosting so many more screenings and getting more of the community involved as far as audience, nonprofits and other organizations go."
Wang said the Park City Film Series was lucky to have Dymalski throughout the years.
"George's passion for independent film and the Park City community have made him a critical part of the Film Series' 22-year history," she said. "He came on board … and has been everything from a projectionist to a co-executive director to a programmer with a sharp sense of what films would resonate best with our audience.
"It's hard to imagine the Film Series without George behind the scenes and working the crowd, but he leaves behind a passionate and well-trained successor in Shay Blackley, and we look forward to seeing him on the winning side of the raffle in the years to come."
George Dymalski will retire from the Park City Film Series after the 6 p.m. screening of Daniel Raim's documentary "Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story" on Sunday, June 11, at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium. The Park City Film Series will host a retirement party immediately following the screening from 8-11 p.m. in the Community Room across from the Jim Santy Auditorium. There will be food, live music and a cash bar. The party is open to the public. For information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com.