Park City Film gives cinema lovers global celebration
New screenings won’t be scheduled during Sundance
Park City Film will give cinema lovers a chance to travel the world without leaving their home theaters this month.
The nonprofit’s board of directors decided last month to keep the Jim Santy Auditorium closed until at least February, so it will continue its virtual cinema screenings that will include films from Germany, Argentina, Japan and Brazil, according to Executive Director Katharine Wang.
“We will take things as they go,” Wang said. “We’ll be keeping our eye on what the COVID case counts look like and the health of the community. We want to be respectful and responsible.”
In addition, the art house film nonprofit will not start any new screenings during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which will become a virtual event this year from Thursday, Jan. 28, through Wednesday, Feb. 3.
“We are consciously taking a break during Sundance because we want people to watch the festival films,” Wang said. “We want people to focus on the Sundance Film Festival events, even though we’re all in this virtual environment.”
In the meanwhile, Park City Film’s new batch of virtual cinema screenings is slated to open this month.
The first film of 2021 is Niki Stein’s biopic, “Louis van Beethoven,” not rated, that will be available starting Thursday.
The film, which recounts Ludwig van Beethoven’s life, was released in 2020 to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, Wang said.
“It is told through the perspective of an older Beethoven towards the end of his life after he’s become a lonely, curmudgeon who is almost totally deaf,” she said. “He reflects back on his life as a child prodigy and (gets into) how his art evolved over time through the mentors he’s had including Mozart and Haydn.”
The film also shows how impactful Beethoven’s music was in his day, as well as how influential it continues to be today, according to Wang.
The next film on the docket will be Juan José Campanella’s comedic thriller “The Weasel’s Tale,” which is also not rated.
“This is an Argentinian comedy that features an all-star cast of Argentiean actors,” Wang said.
Some of those actors include Graciela Borges, Oscar Martínez and Luis Brandoni,
“If you’re into Argentinian cinema, these faces will be familiar to you,” Wang said.
“The Weasel’s Tale,” which will be available starting Jan. 8, is about an aging film star who is living out the rest of her days with her husband, also a fading actor, and her former director and her former screenwriter.
“The tension happens when a young couple shows up to buy the property and tries to force the habitants into a nursing home,” Wang said.
The film attracted Wang because of her love of Argentinian films.
“I’m a huge fan of world cinema, anyway, and I’m always on the lookout for films that offer a different slice of life perspective,” she said.
The world cinema theme extends to Jerry Rothwell’s documentary, “The Reason I Jump,” not rated, which will also be available starting Jan. 8.
The film, which won the audience award for World Cinema Documentary at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, is based on a memoir by Naoki Higashida and immerses the audience in the world of the global non-speaking autistic community, Wang said.
“Naoki wrote the book when he was 13, and the film intertwines his own self-discovery with five other young people who are autistic,” she said. “It brilliantly and unexpectedly reveals this magnificent diversity. It shows how they interact with and experience the world and what we can learn from them. The tagline is ‘Not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.’”
Rounding out the January screenings so far will be Sandra Kogut’s humorous and inventive episodic feature, “Three Summers,” and Renee Barron and Douglas Blush’s documentary, “Rock Camp: The Movie,” which will both be available on Jan. 15.
“‘Three Summers’ premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and satirizes Brazil’s rigid class structure,” Wang said. “The story revolves around a caretaker for luxury beachside condos owned by a wealthy Rio de Janeiro family over the course of three summers. While attending to her employers’ every need, she becomes a bystander to a major scandal.”
“Rock Camp: The Movie” is a documentary about “Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp,” which is like
“Dancing with the Stars” for musicians, Wang said.
Music producer David Fishof started Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp in 1996, and the concept is putting amateur musicians in a band that is mentored by rock legends from the 1970s and 1980s, she said.
Some of the mentors include Alice Cooper, Paul Stanley from Kiss, The Who’s Roger Daltry and Heart’s Nancy Wilson, according to Wang.
“The film humanizes these rock stars because the musicians they are mentoring tend to remind them of what it was like when they fell in love with it in the first place,” she said. “It also shows how transformative music is for people who are bankers and accountants, and how they come alive by playing drums and guitar. So it’s a fun celebration of music and self discovery.”
Ticket buyers for “Rock Camp: The Movie” will automatically be entered into an opportunity drawing, and they will have the chance of winning VIP packages to a Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp or autographed guitars, Wang said.
“Each screening also includes a Q-and-A with the filmmakers and Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford,” she said.
For information about Park City Film, including virtual cinema screenings, visit parkcityfilm.org.
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Aiko ready for a two-night jam session in Park City.