Park City Film Series will kick off its 2017-18 season this weekend | ParkRecord.com

Park City Film Series will kick off its 2017-18 season this weekend

Films programmed to bring community together

In 1999, the Park City Film Series became more than a project under the Park City Arts Council umbrella.

That year, it established itself as an stand-alone, art-house nonprofit that strives to bring thought-provoking, independent feature and documentary films to town.

The series will kick off its 18th season this weekend.

Executive Director Katharine Wang spoke to The Park Record about the September screenings that include a mix of features and documentaries.

"One of the goals of the Park City Film Series is to create community through film," Wang said. "These films, as diverse as they are, have the potential to do that."

All screenings will be held at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium. The regular weekend screenings will start at 8 p.m. A special Thursday screening that will be held Sept. 28, will start at 6 p.m.

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The first film of the season will be Aisling Walsh's "Maudie," rated PG-13, on Sept 8-10.

"This was a film I saw at the Telluride Film Festival last year," Wang said. "It stars Sally Hawkings and Ethan Hawk and is one of my favorite films."

"Maudie" is about Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, who passed away in 1970.

"She's kind of a quiet and unassuming person, but is super fierce," Wang said. "She has a disability and her family tries to protect her and tells her she needs to stay in her place, but she rebels against that and ends up becoming a housekeeper for a fish monger, portrayed by Ethan Hawk."

The film is like watching a flower unfold, Wang said.

"You see her come into her own and become internationally famous through her artwork," she said. "It's a small story, but it shows how the beauty of her spirit goes into these paintings."

Wang also praised Hawk for his portrayal of Lewis' husband Everett.

"This is a performance that I've not seen from him," she said. "Sometimes you have expectations of an actor, and then they bring something that totally surprises you. It's a pleasure to bring this to Park City."

The next film on the schedule is Vanessa Gould's documentary "Obit," not rated, that will run Sept. 15-17.

"'Obit' is about the fantastic and world-class writers of the New York Times' obituary department and the work they do," Wang said. "The film shows you that obituaries aren't morbid, but that they are a celebration of people's lives."

The film calls obituaries 'documentary storytelling in print.'

"You see the dedication of the writers have to the craft as they bring these people to life," Wang said.

One of the obituary subjects in the film is William P. Wilson, the consultant to John F. Kennedy during the 1960 Presidential Campaign.

"The film brings to life that whole moment in history through the work he did," Wang said. "I think in this digital era we forget how powerful the written word is. If you are a lover of the Times or good journalism in general, you will love the film."

Rama Burshtein's comedy feature, "The Wedding Plan," rated PG-13, will follow "Obit," and will run Sept. 22-24.

"For this film, we take a little turn and fly across the ocean to Israel," Wang said.

"The Wedding Plan," which premiered at Telluride last year is about an Orthodox Jewish woman whose fiancé tells her he doesn't want to marry her one month before their wedding.

"The woman decides she still wants to get married, and the film is all about the anticipation of whether or not she will find a suitable husband within a month," Wang said. "It's funny to see her interludes with different men."

At the same time, the film follows the woman's journey toward self discovery.

"She had an expectation with her once-fiancé, but that got upended, which is great for good comedy," Wang said. "This is a fun film from a different part of the world that shows our commonality, and I think people will relate to it."

On Thursday, Sept. 28, the Park City Film Series will partner with the Women's Giving Fund, a permanent endowment established by the Park City Community Foundation to support high-impact programs for women and children in Summit County, to screen Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed's "She Started It," not rated, on Sept. 28.

This free and special screening, which will start at 6:30 p.m., is part of the Park City Film Series' Reel Community Series, a program that showcases community nonprofits.

"She Started it" follows five women over a two-year period who work in the tech sector, Wang said.

It spotlights White House CTO Megan Smith, to GoldieBlox CEO Debbie Sterling and Ruchi Sanghvi, the first female engineer at Facebook.

"They created their own companies, and some of these women are successful, and some, not so much, but as entrepreneurs, they had to figure out where they will find success," she said. "The film showcases what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and it's not shy about addressing the sexes within the industry."

Women are a very small percentage of the people you will find in math and science fields, Wang said.

"While it is challenging bringing your ideas to market, women have an extra barrier to get through because of their gender," she said.

The "She Started It" screening can be seen as a continuation of the Park City Film Series screening of Robin Hauser Reynolds' "Code: Debugging the Gender Gap" a couple of years ago.

That film looked at the gender gap in software engineers, Wang said.

"We thought this would be a nice complement to that film, in terms of where they can take their ideas once they get engaged in math, science and technology," she said.

A panel discussion with entrepreneurs from our community, will follow the screening.

"We will showcase some other types of entrepreneurs in our community who aren't in the tech world," Wang said "We want to inspire the young women girls in our community to follow their dreams and passions as well as see potential mentors in our community. "

Wang also emphasized the "She Started It" screening isn't just for girls and women.

"We want boys and men to come attend as well, because the story is about following dreams and being successful, and everyone can relate to that," she said.

The September screenings will wrap up with Amanda Lipitz's "Step," rated PG, on Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

"Step" premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and is a documentary about the senior year of a high school step dancer team in Baltimore.

"It shows how dancing brought them together as a team, as a community, and how that
helped them follow their dreams and become the first in their families to be able to go college," Wang said. "The girls face some large challenges in Baltimore that many kids in our community won't face, but it also shows everyone how in the face of adversity camaraderie, that team connection, can help you be more resilient."

Wang thinks "Step" is a story the Park City community can relate to.

"Look are our local Olympic athletes and what it takes for them to pursue their dreams," she said. "They may not get the gold medal they want, but they gain so much along the way. We are really excited to bring this back to our community and inspire young people."

The Park City Film Series will kick off its 2017-2018 season with Aisling Walsh's "Maudie," rated PG-13, from Friday, Sept. 8, through Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Park City Library's Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave. Friday's and Saturday's screenings will start at 8 p.m. Sunday's screening will start at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $7 for students and senior citizensFor information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com.