Park City Film Series will go local this weekend
Park City plays host to countless films each year. From the Sundance Film Festival to the Park City Film Series the town certainly sees its share of movies.
Fewer films, though, are made by Parkites. But that doesn’t mean Summit County’s filmmaking scene is dead. To the contrary, a variety of films have been produced in the area. This weekend, many of them will be on display at the Jim Santy Auditorium when the New Reel Short Film Competition runs Friday through Sunday, May 12-14.
Presented by the Park City Film Series, the New Reel Competition will feature two categories, with one for student filmmakers, 18 and younger, and another for adult filmmakers, 19 and older.
The competition is the first of its kind in the area. While the high school has held its own Miner Film Festival in the past, and last year, the Park City Film Series hosted its own local film festival, the two events have never been presented together.
"We’re taking a much needed step toward promoting film in Summit County," said film series executive director Frank Normile. "We’re going to do it each and every year we can afford to do it."
Park City High School media technology instructor Christopher Maddux, who organized last year’s Miner Film Festival said he was happy to see the New Reel Competition come together.
"We’ve been trying to do this consistently through the years, but it’s hard to pull together," he said.
Student output varies from year to year, making it tough to book an auditorium and gather an audience, but with the film series involved, Maddux said he hoped the event could find some consistency.
"Hopefully with the Park City Film Series handing out some prize money," he noted, it will become a more consistent thing."
Friday night, the competition will feature the student films at 8 p.m., while Saturday night at 8 p.m., the adults’ entries will run. The competition’s winners will screen at 6 p.m. on Sunday. All of the screenings are free and open to the public.
"I’m looking forward to it," said Normile, "particularly to see what the students have done.
"They tend to be a little edgier."
Student movies showcase Park City High talent
The student films come to the Santy screen from Maddux’s Park City High School students. The 11 shorts come from 10 filmmakers and one school group and range from 3 minutes to 19 minutes long.
"I think we’re going to have two to two-and-a-half hours of student films," said Maddux.
The films, he said, feature a range of themes. One, Spencer Stuard’s "Forget About It," is about two kids thinking about robbing a bank, while another, "It’s Nuthin" is a rap video.
Maddux said he generally gives the students a fair amount of creative freedom, giving them an opportunity to express themselves, and while several of the films feature fairly mature topics, he said, none of the material would be rated beyond PG-13.
All of the films, however, are learning opportunities. The movies, Maddux noted, offer the filmmakers a chance to practice the things they learn in their classes while also giving the students an opportunity to earn some praise, or criticism.
"What I like about the opportunity for the kids is that they get their kudos," said Maddux.
The entries’ quality, he added, should surprise.
"What you’re going to see," he said, "is just going to blow you away."
Adult films feature diversity
The non-student filmmakers will take their chance to shine on Saturday night. The adults’ slate will feature 10 films ranging from 2 to 30 minutes long. The pieces range from short documentaries like Normile’s film, "Our Heroes: Malcolm MacGregor" and mural artist Paul Jakubowki’s painting film, "Adventures in Australian Art" to comedies, including two pieces one about Park City Television and another entitled "Wrong at Home" from the 2006 Park City Follies
Normile said the Follies films, which include a piece of his own and one from writer Annette Velarde, will appear in longer forms than they did in the show. He also said that many of the films come from veterans of Park City Television. Many of the filmmakers worked there as employees or interns.
"It’s a blessing to have a local television station as a training ground for so many people," said Normile.
Ultimately, he said the adults’ films should provide a degree of variety.
"We have a good mixture of comedy with documentary and experimental [films]," said Normile.
When he started out Normile said he had no idea who would respond to the film series’ call for entries.
"I was holding my breath not knowing what we were going to get," he said.
But, he noted, the number of films and the variety was a pleasant surprise. Now, people just need to go see them.
Normile said that each night, the films will run in succession, and following all of the screenings there will be a roundtable discussion with the filmmakers. After the discussions the winners will be announced. In each category, the film series will award $600 to the first-place finisher, $300 to the second-place finisher and $100 to the third-place finisher. The winners will screen again Sunday night at 6 p.m., following the same format.
The New Reel Short Film Competition jury consists of four local film aficionados, including two Park City Film Series board members, George Dymalski and Destiny Grose, along with director and producer Stacy Dymalski (wife of George) and filmmaker and projectionist Jill Orschel. Since he has two films in the festival, Normile will not be on the jury. The names of the winners will remain secret until they are announced Friday and Saturday nights.
Normile said he is excited to see what will happen with the event.
"We’re into it for a chunk of change, but it’s something that’s long overdue," he said.
After all, he noted, part of the Park City Film Series’ mission is to promote local filmmaking and local filmmakers. The organization hopes the festival will do that and provide some entertainment along the way.
"It’s going to be quite surprising and very entertaining," said Normile. "It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time."
The New Reel Short Film Competition, presented by the Park City Film Series, will run at the Jim Santy Auditorium May 12-14, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 6 p.m. Sunday. The event will feature local filmmakers and is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com.
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