Park City Film Series gears up for the Oscars
The Park City Film Series will change things up in the name of diversity on the weekend of the Academy Awards.
Instead of its annual Oscar Party gala, the nonprofit will present a diverse collection of films that speak for themselves, according to Executive Director Katharine Wang.
One of the films is F. Gary Gray’s N.W.A biopic "Straight Outta Compton," which will be screened on Sunday.
"We are not the Academy and this is not our pick for best film of the year, but when you look at the nominees there wasn’t a lack of diversity in the offerings of films that were eligible," Wang told The Park Record. "That, in part, is why we programmed the way we did."
Friday’s and Saturday’s screenings will feature an array of Oscar-nominated shorts.
"This is an amazing line up," Wang said. "We decided, given the collection of shorts that have been nominated and the features that are eligible for consideration that have premiered this year, that we really wanted to showcase the diversity of film and filmmakers."
Park City Stand Up Paddleboarding, Wagging Tails on the Trails and 1Body are the sponsors for the weekend, according to Wang, who considers short films the most diverse of the Oscar program.
"The reason is because short films do come from all over the world and cover a variety of topics," she explained.
As an added bonus, an Oscar-nominated animated short will kick off the Friday and Saturday screenings, Wang said.
"We’re skipping a full night of animated shorts on Sunday so we can screen ‘Straight Outta Compton,’" she said.
Friday’s screenings are the live-action shorts are "Sanjay’s Super Team" by Brent Schraff; "Ave Maria" by Basil Khalil; "Shok" by James Donoghue; "Everything Will Be Okay" by Patrick Vollrath; "Stutterer" by Benjamin Cleary and "Day One" by Henry Hughes
Saturday’s screenings are the documentary shorts include "World of Tomorrow" by Don Hertzfeldt; "Body Team 12" by David Darg; "Chau, Beyond the Lines" by Courtney Marsh and "Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah" by Adam Benzine
"While we are screening the whole list of live-action shorts on Friday, we’re not showing the whole list of the nominated documentaries on Saturday because of time constraints," Wang said. "Instead, our programmer (George Dymalski) has deleted three of the six."
The Park City Film Series opted to present a free screening of "Straight Outta Compton" on Sunday for a number of reasons.
First off, it’s a powerful film about N.W.A — comprised of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, the late Easy-E, DJ Yella and MC Ren — one of the earliest and most significant groups that introduced Gangsta Rap to the American consciousness, Wang said.
"Those who performed [the style] have said the lyrics are a reflection of their lives," she said. "They were being oppressed and profiled by the police and unfairly stereotyped because they were young, black and poor.
"They felt that they had to tell their story without sugar coating, because it was the only way to do it honestly," Wang said. "This film does a great job of telling the story of how these guys decided to stand up against the oppression by using their music."
The second reason was timing.
"When you think about it, the making of the film started two years ago and it came out during a year when so much has happened concerning the friction between the African-American community and the police across our country," Wang said. "Although it’s a very R-rated film because of the lyrics and nudity, we thought it was to bring it to the community because it’s so relevant to what is going on in 2016."
The Park City Film Series will present two nights of Oscar-nominated shorts, not rated, at the Jim Santy Auditorium of the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., on Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. Friday’s screenings will feature live action shorts and Saturday’s screenings will feature documentary shorts. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $7 for students and senior citizens. The film series will also present a screening of "Straight Outta Compton," rated R, on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. The screening is free. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com .
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