Park City Film Series returns to the Jim Santy Auditorium |

Park City Film Series returns to the Jim Santy Auditorium

After a season of temporary housing at the Prospector Theater, the Park City Film Series will return to the Jim Santy Auditorium in the newly renovated Park City Library this weekend.

"We would like to thank the Prospector for stepping in and offering us their facilities last season, and we are forever grateful to them for taking us in," said Katharine Wang, Park City Film Series executive director. "Looking ahead, we’re super excited to be back in the library, because the city has done a fantastic job of updating the building into this 21st century building and nice community space."

The 449-seat theater features a new screen that measures roughly 23 feet by 13 feet and a new digital projection and sound system.

"We really tried to work hard to make sure the setting and the way we present the films is top quality in an appropriate setting for what our community and we expect from an art-house cinema," Wang said. "All of the paint is redone. As much as we liked the pink, the walls are now a tonal grey that is more conducive of film."

In addition, the film series will utilize the Community Room across the hall for concessions and pre- and post-screening gatherings.

"We remember what it used to be like when we used to sell concessions jammed into a little hallway for the past 15 years," Wang said with a laugh. "Now, we’re all excited that we can spread out and have more space to do things. It feels more relaxed and we will be able to offer our audiences better experiences."

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Wang said the theater renovation wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the Summit County restaurant tax, the Go Digital campaign supporters, Sundance Institute, Park City Municipal, the William Wishnick Foundation and the Dumke Foundation.

"They and the community all contributed to make this state-of-the-art theater," she said. "It was well beyond what we as a small nonprofit could have done on our own."

The first film out of the gates for the 2015-6 season on Sept. 11 through Sept. 13 will be Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl."

"This feature won the 2015 Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award," Wang said. "It’s a beautiful tale about a high school student who makes films with his friend, and his mom makes him befriend a girl who has recently been diagnosed with leukemia.

"However, it’s more than what you would expect, because the film doesn’t take the trite route of making the relationship into a romance," Wang said. "Instead, through this experience, the boy comes into his own and realizes how precious life is."

The next regular weekend screening will be Brett Haley’s "I’ll See You in My Dreams," rated PG-13, on Sept. 18-20..

"This film also came through Sundance," Wang explained. "Blythe Danner is amazing as a woman who finds that you’re never too old to fall in love and have an exciting life. She plays a woman whose husband has passed away and is starting up the second half of her life.

The Park City Film Series’ Dual Language Immersion program will also return on Sept. 12, with Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie’s animated French film, "Zarafa."

The film, based on a true story, is about a boy and a giraffe, according to Wang.

The free screenings will be at 3 p.m. in the Jim Santy Auditorium, and also at the Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch.

"We introduce our Park City School District students to French and Spanish foreign films through this program," Wang said. "The Dual Language Program was fabulously successful last year. And Park City Orthodontics is sponsoring the program this year and the RAP Tax has also come on board because they told us this program is only one of two or three in the country."

This season, the program will screen more films geared towards teens.

"Last year, we only screened films that were aimed at elementary-school students, but this year we’re adding films that will attract teens," Wang said. "We heard they wanted content that is more geared to their age level. So, we will introduce PG and PG-13 films later in the fall."

Also, on Sept. 24 the Park City Film Series is partnering with Sundance Institute, Park City Education Foundation, the Park City School District and the Weilenmann School of Discovery to present another Sundance Film Festival film, Greg Whiteley’s "Most Likely to Succeed."

"This documentary is about a school in California that is really trying to change the way our children are being educated," Wang said. "It looks at project-based schooling. And the issue of the antiquated school system and brings out the fact that those who established the system way back when could not have imagined what the world would be like in 2015."

As it has with Reel Community Screenings in the past, the Film Series will partner with local nonprofits for films such as "Most Likely to Succeed" that will engage the community.

"This time we’ll partner with the Sundance Institute, Park City Education Foundation, the Park City School District and the Weilenmann School of Discovery," Wang said

There will be a post-film discussion, moderated by KPCW News Director Leslie Thatcher, featuring Ted Dintersmith, the film’s executive producer, and Weilenmann School of Discovery Executive Director Cynthia K. Phillips, Dr. Kathleen Einhorn, who is the Park City School District’s associate superintendent of teaching, learning and technology, Community BanCapital’s Al Landon, and STEM Coordinator Charlie Mathews.

"We wanted to bring in the major players in education in our community to present this film," Wang said.

September screenings will end with a series of films during the Slow Food Park City Food and Film Weekend on Sept. 25 to 27.

Slow Food is a nonprofit that is all about bringing the community together through food, according to Wang.

Friday’s screening will be "The Hundred Foot Journey," at 7 p.m.

"This film is about an Indian family who relocates to France and opens an Indian restaurant across the street from a French restaurant run by Helen Miren," Wang said. "We’re partnering with Good Karma for a dinner and movie."

A pre-screening dinner in the Community Room will begin at 5 p.m. and a post-screening dinner will start at 9:15 p.m.

The Saturday film will be the documentary "Bella Vita" at 7 p.m.

"Filmmaker Jason Baffa documents surfer, artist and environmentalist Chris Del Moro, who is half Italian and spent his summers in Italy," Wang said. "The film follows Chris back to Italy."

Baffa also created his own wine, Zio Baffa, to go with the film.

"So, we will host a pre-film wine tasting and then present an after-film question-and-answer with Baffa via Skype," Wang said.

The final screening of the Park City Slow Food Food and Film Weekend will be another documentary, "Food for Change," at 6 p.m.

"This is about the history of food co-ops, where people try to take control of their own nutrition and rebuild and revitalize their communities around these organizations," Wang said. "We are presenting this film in conjunction with the Wasatch Food Coop in Salt Lake City."

The event will feature a pre-film gourmet bake sale with local vendors as a fundraiser for Slow Food Park City. Filmgoers can purchase the food and have a picnic out on the lawn before the film, Wang said.

"This is an exciting first month for us to be back at the library," she said. "We’re looking forward to the rest of the season and we hope the community will join us."

The Park City Film Series will kick off its 2015-26 season with Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," rated PG-13, at the Jim Santy Auditorium of the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., from Friday, Sept. 11, through Sunday, Sept. 13. Friday and Saturday screenings will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday’s screening will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $7 for senior citizens and students. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit .