Park City Film Series lines up eclectic slate
Spring has come, and while the ski season might be over, the film series rolls on.
Next weekend, the Park City Film Series will begin its final lineup of films, which will take the organization through the end of its season in mid-June. The films range from English comedies and Russian horror films to French thrillers and American documentaries, along with a few notable recent releases, like "Thank You For Smoking" and "Neil Young: Heart of Gold."
While normally, some theme emerges from among the films on a given calendar, film series executive director Frank Normile said the only common element tying these films together is their diversity.
"I don’t see any line of similarities," he said. "There’s no rhyme or reason to it, it’s just going to be an eclectic collection."
Five free films will highlight the new calendar, screening five of the seven remaining weeks in the spring season. "Why We Fight," winner of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for documentary filmmaking, will open the new lineup on May 4. A documentary about the military industrial complex in the United States, "Why We Fight" will screen as part of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Series.
A film in the Best of Slamdance series, "Letters from the Other Side" will show the following Thursday. A veteran of the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival, the documentary follows the stories of three different Mexican families with members who have emigrated to the United States.
"It’s really a touching, disturbing story at times," said Normile. "It’s very timely, and it’s very powerful."
The next Thursday, a documentary, "Nobelity," will screen. Presented in conjunction with Recycle Utah, the film offers a look at some of the world’s most pressing problems through the eyes of nine Nobel laureates. June 1, "The Devil and Daniel Johnson," about the life of musician Daniel Johnson, will screen, closing out the Sundance Documentary Film Series, and two Thursdays later, June 15, the 1951 classic "A Place in the Sun" will show as part of the Reel Classics film series.
The Park City Film Series new calendar will begin the weekend of May 5 with "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story," a British comedy about making an 18th century novel into a film. The next weekend, the film series’ New Reel Film Competition will run, offering a chance for some Summit County filmmakers to see their work on a big screen.
"Neil Young: Heart of Gold" will screen the next weekend, May 19-21, with its portrayal of Young’s iconic August 2005 show in Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. That film will be followed the next weekend by "Ballet Russes," a 2005 Sundance Film Festival documentary about the iconic Ballet Russes dance troupe.
June 2-4, "Thank You For Smoking" will screen, with the French film, "Cache," coming the next weekend with its story, a thriller, about a couple mysteriously stalked by an unknown assailant. "Night Watch," a Russian science fiction-horror film, will close the film series out June 16-18.
Normile said that while the film is a departure from Park City Film Series’ typical fare it should offer a unique finish.
"We so rarely show horror or suspense films, I though it would be a good way to close out the series," he noted.
Overall, Normile said there were several films he couldn’t get for the current calendar. Those, he said, would come in the fall. With the close of the 2005-2006 film series season in sight, Normile also took a second to reflect on the past months with the organization.
"It’s been a groundbreaking year," he said.
The film series continued its involvement with the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Series and the Best of Slamdance series, while adding three different programs: the Global Lens series, Reel Classics and in May, the New Reel Short Film Competition.
According to Normile, the Reel Classics series, which presents free screenings of classic noir films for educational purposes, has been a success, with "Dial M for Murder" drawing 70 viewers last week.
"It’s beginning to catch on," said Normile.
Otherwise, he urged attendance for the film series’ upcoming New Reel Film Competition, which will run May 12-14 at the Santy, and he also noted the benefits of programs like Reel Classics and the film competition.
"It opens the film series to not only promoting excellent films, but also to the making of film and the appreciation of classic films," said Normile.
The additional efforts have all been longtime goals for the organization.
"They’ve been in our mission statement for a while," Normile said. "We just haven’t been able to afford them."
Normile said that each of the programs will return for next year. Additionally, the film series will be upgrading its facilities.
"We’re partnering with Sundance and the city to purchase some new high-definition film equipment that will be brought to the film series in May," said Normile.
So in the near future, the Santy’s patrons will have a slightly crisper view of their stories.
The effort is just a part of the film series gradual improvement. And while there are still seven weeks left in this film series season, the executive director offered an advance note of appreciation to the organization’s patrons and fans.
"I want to thank everyone for coming out," he said. "They’ve made it a very interesting year."
For more information about the Park City Film Series, including ticket prices and a full schedule of events, go to http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com.
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