Park City Film is primed to restart its in-person public screenings April 16 after testing the waters with private events
Filmgoers expected to follow COVID guidelines
The wait is over.
On April 16, Park City Film will restart its public, in-person weekend and special screenings at the Jim Santy Auditorium, said Executive Director Katharine Wang.
“With vaccination rates going up in the county, and seeing theaters in New York and (Los Angeles) opening up, it looked like April would be a time when people would be comfortable coming back to the theaters,” Wang said.
Since Feb. 19, Park City Film has presented private, in-person screenings after nearly a year of not holding events at the Jim Santy Auditorium. Wang, her board and staff used those private screenings to test protocols and monitor people’s comfort levels for coming back to the theater.
“We’ve had very positive responses with the private screenings, and people, overall, have felt safe and began asking about public screenings,” Wang said. “A month ago, we felt the timing would be right to open back up.”
The first public weekend screening from April 16-18 will be Lee Isaac Chung’s Academy Award-nominated feature, “Minari,” rated PG-13, which will be followed by a free Reel Community Series screening of Richard Yelland’s documentary, “Seeding Change: The Power of Conscious Commerce,” on April 22.
Attendees will be expected to follow coronavirus guidelines, Wang said.
Although the state’s mask mandate will drop on April 10, Park City Film decided to follow the Cinema Safe protocols developed by the National Theater Owners Association, Wang said.
“We have signed on to that and we will keep following it, regardless of what happens in the state and county levels,” she said.
Those guidelines include requiring masks unless audience members are in their seats eating and drinking, maintaining 6 feet of social distancing between parties and individuals, and reduced seating in the auditorium, according to Wang.
“There are 446 seats in the Santy, and we will be selling tickets for 65 seats, which is 14% capacity,” Wang said. “We have created clusters of two, three and four seats.”
Patrons are required to purchase tickets in advance with a credit card to avoid cash transactions.
“We have installed an online purchasing system that allows you to select seats,” Wang said. “The system will let you know which seats are available, and when you come into the theater, we will have ushers who will direct you to those assigned seats.”
Concessions will also be full service and volunteers will put butter and toppings on the popcorn through a no-touch method in adherence to the protocols, she said.
All HVAC air systems in the theater will be checked regularly to ensure they are working properly, and all air filters have been upgraded. And hand sanitizers have been placed in easily accessible areas.
In addition, all theater seats and high-touch surfaces will be disinfected after every screening with an EPA-registered disinfectant.
“We have done a lot of work with the city and county Health Department, and overlaid the Cinema Safe guidelines to what is possible in our venue,” Wang said.
Restarting the in-person public screenings doesn’t mean Park City Film’s Virtual Cinema program will stop, however.
“We plan to continue that for the time being,” Wang said. “We have been told by people that they have enjoyed watching films on their computers or in their home theaters.”
Wang is grateful for the community’s support through the past year that included donations and attending the drive-in movies at Utah Olympic Park.
“It has helped buoy us through the dark times, and kept our spirits lifted,” she said. “Now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we know our community will be there when we come back.”
When: Starting 7 p.m. on Friday, April 16
Cost: $8 for the general public; $7 for students and seniors; $6 for Park City Film members
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