Park City Film Series will go digital after Sundance |

Park City Film Series will go digital after Sundance

Katharine Wang, Park City Film Series executive director, inspects the 33mm film projectors at the Jim Santy Auditorium. The film series worked with the Sundance Institute and Park City Municipal to acquire a new digital system. (Park Record file photo)
(Photo by: File photo/The Park Record)

The Park City Film Series is going digital.

The nonprofit organization that is dedicated to bringing quality arthouse films to Park City, completed its Go Digital or Go Dark fundraising campaign in December and, thanks to an agreement with the Sundance Institute, will have access to a fully digital system after the Sundance Film Festival.

"Sundance has been very generous and will install their equipment at the Jim Santy Auditorium for the Sundance Film Festival with the intention of leaving it behind for us to use during the spring," Wang told The Park Record. "We’ll do a renovation and permanent installation with the equipment in the summer, which will trick out the whole auditorium for the series to start up again in the fall of 2014. We have this opportunity to turn the Jim Santy Auditorium into a 21st century exhibition space."

The Park City Film Series entered an agreement with Sundance and Park City Municipal providing that if the Film Series raised $75,000, the others would step in and help purchase and install a full digital system.

The fundraising campaign started in earnest last September and the goal amount was raised in early December.

"We saw a fantastic outpouring of support from the community," Wang said. "We received Summit County restaurant tax grant of $20,000, which was a matching grant, and the public responded positively to that."

The film series also received funds through Park City’s annual Live PC Give PC fundraiser in November.

"That was unbelievable." Wang said. "There were 258 unique donors that turned out for us, which put us on top of the small nonprofit organization leaderboard. And we came in fourth overall, which was amazing for us."

The series also received support from individual businesses and organizations in the community.

"The William Wishnick Foundation gave us a grant and one of our long-time supporters, P.J. Builders, came to us and helped us close our the campaign in early December," Wang said. "Now, we’re working with the Sundance Institute and Park City Municipal to get down to the nuts and bolts of what needs to be done."

Holden Payne, technical director of exhibition for the Sundance Institute, said crews will begin placing the new equipment in the Santy projection booth at the end of this week.

"We will install a Barco 23-B, which is a state-of-the-art digital projector, but to do so, there needs to some upgrades to the in-house audio system," Payne explained. "So we’ll do that. And then work on the installation of alternate film sources such as computers, Blu-ray players and solid state drives."

In addition, Sundance will install a Dolby digital server that will store the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) files.

"As an added surprise, there will also be a Dolby 3-D system installed as well," he said.

Still, the 35mm film projector will not be disassembled.

"Both Sundance and the Park City Film Series will still show actual film down the pipe," Payne said. "So we’re going to keep the other machine intact."

The overall project with all the upgrades will come in at $280,000.

"The system is not a cheap date, I’ll tell you that," Payne said with a laugh.

Sundance worked a similar deal with the Rose Wagner Center in Salt Lake City, he said.

"Both facilities needed this equipment, and through out relationships with Barco and Dolby, we were able to help facilitate the installations," Payne said.

Going digital was a necessity for the Park City Film Series, Wang said.

"Most commercial theaters have already converted to digital at this point, and last year at this time, about 30 percent of all arthouse film theaters had converted," she said. "Movie studios have been saying for about three years that new films will only be distributed digitally, and it was announced last year that a couple of them would only be making digital movies beginning in Jan. 2014.

"So as far as timing was concerned, we were right on schedule and decided when the most opportune time would be to change so we could maximize our resources," Wang said.

One of the benefits of digital film is cost.

"It’s a lot cheaper to ship a digital file that comes on a hard drive that weighs about 8 pounds than sending two 40-pound cans full of 35mm films," Payne said. "Also, no matter how many times you run the film digitally, it still will look and sound as good as the first time it’s shown."

Elizabeth Latenser, media relations manager for the Sundance Institute, said the conversion helps both the Park City Film Series and the Institute.

"The Institute is committed to bring great films and screenings to Park City on a year-round basis," she said. "Through partnering with the Park City Film Series and other nonprofit organizations and businesses in town is another way for us to do this."

She also added her compliments to the Park City Film Series’ dedication to fundraising.

"We also need to give the Park City Film Series a high five because they were able to reach their goal and raise the $75,000 to get this thing going," Latenser said. "We’re really happy for them."

For more information about the Park City Film Series, visit

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