Museum collaborates with Film Series for ‘A Fierce Green Fire’
When Katharine Wang, executive director for the Park City Film Series, saw Mark Kitchell’s documentary "A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet" during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, she already had a connection to it.
The film is based on one of her favorite books by Philip Shabecoff, who was a New York Times Journalist.
"This book, which has the same title as the film, is one that I found seminal in my own education about the environment and the environmental movement," Wang said during an interview with The Park Record. "I had a personal connection to the film and as an American Studies major, I knew about the environmental movement."
The Park City Film Series will present a free screening of "A Fierce Green Fire," underwritten by Linda McReynolds, at the Prospector Theater, 2175 Sidewinder Dr., on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m.
The film is about the history of the environmental movement and starts with John Muir and David Bauer and spotlights Lois Gibbs and individuals who made significant differences in the environmental movement.
The evening will also feature a question-and-answer session via Skype with Kitchell.
"Strategic News Service/FiReFilms and the Park City Foundation sponsored to help us get Mark," Wang said. "Sharon Anderson Morris, director of SNS programs, lives in this community and will introduce the film and facilitate the Q and A."
The idea to collaborate for "A Fierce Green Fire" emerged a few months ago.
After Wang heard that the Park City Museum would be displaying an exhibit called "Wild Land: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Landscape Painting," she contacted the museum’s education director, Jenette Purdy, and suggested a partnership between the exhibit and screening.
"After hearing from Jenette that the museum was working with the Summit Land Conservancy already on a panel discussion (see story titled "Museum exhibit inspires environmental discussion"), I thought this would be a great complement to those events," Wang said.
This isn’t the first museum and film series collaboration.
"Last year we collaborated for ‘Voices for America: Letters Home from Vietnam’ in conjunction with their exhibit ‘Mail Call,’ which was about the history of mail in the military," Wang said. "We liked the way the film was able to give a voice to the exhibit. I think the museum does a great job curating these traveling exhibits, and film is another way to bring them to light."
When Wang explored the exhibit, she learned about Thomas Cole, who was the first artist to focus solely on the land in his paintings.
"For me that was an eye opener," she said. "I had known about Albert Bierstadt and most of the landscape painters that came later and opened up the American West, but I didn’t know how important Thomas Cole was to that whole movement.
"The idea that his works of the Hudson River Valley was the first that didn’t have people plowing the fields or canoeing down a river was compelling," she said. "I thought it would be a perfect fit for the film."
Purdy was more than happy to work with the film series again.
"Katy at the Park City Film series is always great to bring the community some wonderful films," she said. "We really felt that community partnerships are key to our missions. There are so many great nonprofits and groups in Park City that do a variety of things so well.
"One of the reasons why we bring in these traveling exhibits is to expand our offerings at the museum and present new discussions about these topics that you might not expect at the museum," Purdy said. "Since we’re such a small staff, one of the best ways to hold these public programs is to partner with other organizations. It expands our audience as well as the audience of the other organizations."
The Park City Film Series and the Park City Museum will collaborate to bring Mark Kitchell’s 2012 documentary "A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Green Planet," not rated, to the Prospector Theater, 2175 Sidewinder Dr., on Thursday, Oct. 16. The screening, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.org or http://www.parkcityhistory.org.
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