Park City Film and Alzheimer’s Association partner for a ‘Moonlight Sonata’
What: “Moonlight Sonata” screening
When: 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5
Where: Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave.
Park City Film December schedule
• Dec. 5: Irene Taylor Brodsky’s “Moonlight Sonata,” not rated, Reel Community Series. 7 p.m.
Filmmaker Irene Brodsky’s son Jonas underwent cochlear-implant surgery as a toddler, and her father was diagnosed with dementia. “Moonlight Sonata” is a story about loss and what is discover when people push beyond it.
• Dec. 6-8: Louie Schwartzberg’s “Fantastic Fungi,” not rated, weekend screening, 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. on Sunday
“Fantastic Fungi” is seen through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists such as Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone and Andrew Weil, who educate audiences about the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offers in response to medical, therapeutic and environmental challenges.
• Dec. 7: Charles Martin Smith’s “A Dog’s Way Home,” rated PG, Books 2 Movies Series, 4 p.m.
“A Dog’s Way Home,” based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron, is about Bella, a dog who becomes separated from her owner, Lucas. While embarking on a 400-mile journey to reunite with her owner, Bella touches the lives of an orphaned mountain lion, a down-on-his-luck veteran and some friendly strangers who happen to cross her path.
• Dec. 12: Willam Christensen’s “The Nutcracker: A 75th Anniversary Celebration,” not rated, Made in Utah Series, 7 p.m.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Nutcracker in Utah, BYUtv and Ballet West have produced a one-hour immersive documentary that features excerpts of the award-winning ballet performance and highlights the role of Willam Christensen in this incredible story, rooted in Utah.
• Dec. 13-15: Kasi Lemmons’s “Harriet,” rated PG-13, weekend screening, 8 pm. on Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. on Sunday
“Harriet” is the tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.
• Dec. 14: Enrique Gato’s “Atrapa La Bandera,” rated PG, Foreign Cinema for Kids Series, 4 p.m.
Mike Goldwing stows away on a rocket bound for the moon to fulfill his grandfather’s lost dream of being an astronaut; meanwhile, a Texas billionaire is also racing to the moon to destroy the Apollo XI flag and rewrite history in his favor. Film will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles
• Dec. 20-22: Fernando Meirelles’s “The Two Popes,” rated PG-13, weekend screening, 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday
Behind Vatican walls, the conservative Pope Benedict and the liberal future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.
• Dec. 23: Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” rated PG, school break screening, 7 p.m.
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
• Dec. 26: Robert Zemeckis’ “A Christmas Carol,” rated PG, school break screening, 4 p.m.
An animated retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions. Starring Jim Carrey.
• Dec. 27-29: Joon-ho Bong’s “Parasite,” rated R, weekend screening, 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday
“Parasite” is a family tragicomedy depicting the collision that ensues when KiWoo, the eldest son in a family of four unemployed adults, is introduced to the wealthy Park family for a well-paid tutoring job.
• Dec. 27: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s “Free Solo,” rated PG-13, school break screening, 4 p.m.
Professional rock climber Alex Honnold attempts the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan’s 900-meter vertical rock face in Yosemite National Park.
• Dec. 28: Josh Cooley’s “Toy Story 4,” rated G, school break screening, 4 p.m.
When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
• Dec. 30: Rory Kennedy’s “Ethel,” not rated, Reel Community Series, 7 p.m.
“Ethel” is a personal portrait of Ethel Kennedy’s political awakening, the life she shared with Robert F. Kennedy, and the years following his death when she raised their eleven children on her own.
Although Irene Taylor Brodsky’s “Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements” centers around her son Jonas, who was born deaf and had cochlear implant when he was four, the documentary is also about her father Paul, who has dementia.
After seeing the film and interviewing Taylor Brodsky during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Park City Film Executive Director Katherine Wang thought it would be the perfect vehicle to partner with the Alzheimer’s Association Utah Chapter for Park City Film’s Reel Community Series free screening on Thursday at the Jim Santy Auditorium.
“Our Reel Community Series uses film to help elevate the missions of our nonprofit partners, and we’ve been trying to partner with the Alzheimer’s Association for a long time,” Wang said. “We wanted to open up the communication, because getting old will affect us all eventually, if it hasn’t already. And while some of us won’t get dementia, a good number of us will.”
The film addresses issues on multiple levels, Wang said.
“First of all, it’s about the filmmaker’s son, but it’s also about her parents, who make the decision later in life to get cochlear implants so they can participate in the hearing world,” she said. “On another level, it’s about her parents getting older.”
It also shows Paul, an inventor who invented the TTY voice-to-text device for the deaf, slipping more and more into dementia, Wang said.
“The grandparents’ story is an amazing component of the film, and I was struck by it when I first saw the film,” she said.
The film’s title comes from Beethoven’s famous Piano Sonata No. 14, which he wrote while he was going deaf.
“The filmmaker tells the story about ability and disability and perceptions, by breaking the film up in three different parts, which mirrors the three movements of the Beethoven work,” Wang said. “It’s a beautifully made film and I think audiences of all ages can connect with and appreciate. It’s important for people to see this, so they can develop some empathy of what it is like.”
The screening will be followed by a panel with Dr. Micheal Galindo, specialist in internal medicine and palliative care with Intermountain Health Group; Ronnie Daniel, executive director of the Utah Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association Utah Chapter; Sheryl Bagshaw, dementia practitioner and educator; and Stephanie Mathis, executive director of Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf.
Daniel said he is grateful that Park City Film partnered with his organization for the screening.
“One of the things we are about is growing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia,” Daniel said. “So It’s great anytime we can partner with a great community organization like Park City Film to connect with people who are living with the disease and their caregivers who might not know what resources are available.”
More than 5.5 million Americans may have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s, according to the National Institute on Aging.
While it’s natural to worry about the patients, it’s easy to forget about the caretakers, Daniel said.
“One of the things that stands out of the film is that it emphasizes what we affectionately call the ‘sandwich generation,’ the group of people, like the mother in the film, who is not only caring for her child with special needs, and also caring for her aging parents, including one who is living with dementia,” he said. “This film identifies and emphasizes the impact that this disease has on families and caregivers.”
Daniel knows what it’s like to care for and lose loved one to Alzheimer’s.
“I lost my grandfather to the disease, and three of his siblings also passed away from Alzheimer’s disease,” Daniel said. “Family members lose loved ones to Alzheimer’s twice. The first time is when their loved ones forget who their family is, and the second way is when they pass away.”
Daniel is worried about his own parents.
“They are still living, which is wonderful, but I’m starting to see the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s in my 82-year-old father and my 80-year-old mother,” he said.
Daniel also worries about himself.
“Many people like me, who I classify as the ‘worried well,’ start to worry about themselves during times when they stand up to get something from their desk, but forget what they are looking for,” he said. “You wonder if it’s just forgetfulness, or the early stages of Alzheimer’s.”
Daniel said anyone who has concerns about themselves or loved ones can call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24-hour help line at 801-272-3900.
“We can connect them with master-level clinicians who can help them in 200 different languages,” he said. “The help line is there to answer basic questions or provide assistance to someone in a crisis.”
Since “Moonlight Sonata” is focused on deafness, Park City Film will screen it with open captions, according to Wang.
“This was something that the director wanted when it came to the Sundance Film Festival,” Wang said. “She wanted the film to be accessible.”
In addition, American Sign Language interpreters will be onsite for the post-film panel discussion.
“The panel will address any questions or concerns that come up, and it will also identify resources that are available,” Daniel said.
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