Park City Film launches 2019-20 season with screenings that focus on community
What: Park City Film: “The Biggest Little Farm,” rated PG
When: 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7; 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8
Where: Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave.
Cost: $8 for general admission; $7 for senior citizens and students
Preparing for a new Park City Film season is exciting for executive director Katharine Wang.
“It’s always a mystery, because we never know what films will be available to us,” Wang said. “It’s also a fun time of the year because we get to start seeing films together with the community.”
Park City Film officially kicks off the2019-20 season’s weekend screenings with John Chester’s 2018 documentary, “The Biggest Little Farm,” rated PG, at 8 p.m. from Friday through Sunday at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium.
Wang first saw “The Biggest Little Farm” at last year’s Telluride Film Festival.
“I’ve seen a lot of documentaries about environmental farming and sustainability, so I went into this with moderate expectations, but it blew me away,” she said. “I think that’s why it was selected by this year’s Sundance Film Festival to be part of the Spotlight category.”
“The Biggest Little Farm” follows John and Molly Chester, a couple from Los Angeles, as they attempt to build Apricot Lane Farm, one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature.
“They wanted to celebrate the diversity of natural systems and nature’s ability to heal itself if given the proper environment,” she said. “It’s a great film about community, and we thought it would be great to bring it back to our community.”
The Saturday and Sunday screenings will be followed by a Q and A with local restaurateur Bill White, owner of Bill White Farms.
“He is trying to do what the John and Molly Chester are doing, but he’s doing it here in Park City,” Wang said. “It seemed like the perfect opportunity to partner with him to show people what he’s doing there.”
The next film in the series is another documentary, “Pavarotti,” which is about the late opera icon Luciano Pavarotti, by Ron Howard. The film, which is rated PG-13, will screen Sept. 13-15.
“It’s a new and beautiful depiction of the singer, who may not be well known to younger generations, but certainly known by opera lovers,” Wang said. “The film uses archival footage of his performances throughout his career to tell his story and show the magnificence of his voice.”
The first narrative feature film screening of the month will be Joe Talbot’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”
The R-rated film, which won the 2019 Sundance Film Festival directing award and grand jury prize for creative collaboration, will screen Sept. 20-22, Wang said.
“The Last Black Man in San Francisco” follows a young black man played by Jamie Falls who is on a quest to reclaim his childhood home in the heart of San Francisco.
“The film explores hometowns,” Wang said. “It looks at how they are made and how they are kept alive by people who love them. And it’s also a love letter to San Francisco’s beauty and nature.”
The final weekend screening of September will be another documentary, Alex Holmes’ “Maiden,” rated PG, which will show Sept. 27-29.
“Maiden” is about the first female crew, led by Tracy Edwards, to compete in the Whitbread Round the World yacht race in 1989.
“The film examines the period between 1989 and 1990, and at that time, an all-female crew sailing around the world was unheard of because it’s a male dominated sport,” she said.
Not only did the crew faced the extremeness of the contest, which required them to spend nine months at sea, they also had to deal with the sexism from their competitors, the press and sponsors, Wang said.
“Everyone, it seems, wanted to see them fail, rather than want to help them succeed,” she said. “It’s about following your passion, standing up for what you believe in and proving your self worth.”
“Maiden,” uses a mix of archival footage and interviews with the crew in the present day.
“The archives are interesting and fantastic, because the women had the foresight to mount a camera on the boat’s mast,” Wang said. “I’m so excited to show this. Sundance selected it for the Spotlight program this year, and I’ve been getting emails asking if we’re going to bring it in.”
In addition to the weekend screenings, Park City Film has scheduled two more screenings.
The first will be “Margaret Atwood: Live in Cinemas,” that will be the September Art on Film screening on Monday, Sept. 23, and the second will be the Reel Community Series screening of “Anthropocene the Human Epoch” on Thursday, Sept. 25.
Both films will start at 7 p.m.
“The Art on Film Series is our partnership with the Park City Library, and it started with our airing of National Theatre Live productions, before it evolved into a broader scope to celebrate different forms of art — literary, performing and visual — in a cinema setting,” Wang said.
Atwood is the author of “Handmaid’s Tale,” which was published in 1985. The novel, which has been made into a film and a Hulu TV series, is about a handmaiden named Offred who lives in a near-future authoritarian theocracy in New England. On Sept. 10, Atwood will release its long-awaited sequel, “The Testaments.”
“The screening is an interview that was captured live on stage at the National Theatre in London,” Wang said. “Margaret will talk about how she came up with the concept of ‘Handmaid’s Tale,” and why she decided to write and release its sequel, nearly 35 years later.”
“Anthropocene the Human Epoch” fits with Park City Film’s Reel Community Series program, which is intended to expand filmgoers’ views of issues that impact the world, Wang said.
Park City Film is partnering with Sundance and Park City Municipal Corp’s sustainability department to screen the documentary, which was made by a team of filmmakers — Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky, and Nicholas de Pencier – who known for their work on “Manufactured Landscapes” and “Watermark.”
“Anthropocene,” which screened at Sundance earlier this year, follows the research of an international body of scientists, the Anthropocene Working Group.
“The directors uses art to imagine and connect people to the enormity of the human impact on the natural world,” Wang said. “They show you the largest open-pit coal mine in Germany, and it’s almost incomprehensible to see how big it is.”
Other images include tens of thousands of elephant tusks from elephants that were slaughtered for the ivory trade, and the devastation of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, according to Wang..
“We’re bringing it to reconnect people back to the challenges that face us from the environmental front,” she said.
The screening gives Park City Film a chance to address Utah Climate Week, which will start the following week, and the Mountain Towns Net Zero 2030 Summit that will be held in Park City the week after that, Wang said.
To do that, Park City Film will present a post-film panel discussion with Luke Cartin, Park City environmental sustainability manager, and Dr. Carlos G. Santana, University of Utah assistant professor of philosophy.
Nell Larson, executive director of the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter and co-host of KPCW’s This Green Earth, will moderate the panel.
The screening and discussion will show what Park City is doing on net-zero issues, which is the concept where a home or business uses less or the equal amount of energy that is created within the structure.
These topics are just the tip of the iceberg of issues that will be addressed throughout Park City Film’s season, Wang said.
“It’s exciting to see what comes up each year,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of control over what films will be released, but I think we have made some excellent choices regarding what we’ll be screening this month.”
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