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Park City Film tries out in-person socially distanced screenings

Rentals accommodate up to 30 people

Regina King's “One Night in Miami" is one of five feature films that are part of Park City Film's in-person screenings at the Jim Santy Auditorium. The arthouse nonprofit will rent out the venue Fridays and Saturdays to groups up to 30 people.
Courtesy of Park City Film

Park City Film will begin to host in-persion private screenings at the Jim Santy Auditorium after months of research, careful consideration and taking the advice of the Summit County Health Department.

The screening sessions, which have been given the green light by Park City, will be available for private groups up to 30, and will start on Friday, said Katharine Wang, Park City Film executive director.

“We’ve been closed for almost a year, and we’ve been monitoring what has been happening COVID-wise,” Wang said. “With the rollout of the vaccines, we wanted to dip our toes into the waters of safely reopening.”



Rates to rent out the auditorium are $350 for the general public or $250 for Park City Film members, and allow for groups up to 30 people.

“Rentals need to be booked a minimum of 72 hours in advance of the selected screening dates,” Wang said. “We’re working with a small staff, so that will allow us to prepare for the screenings, and it will also give the groups renting the auditorium time to cancel if they have to.”.



Screenings will start at 7 p.m., and available screening dates are Feb. 19-20, Feb. 26-27 and March 12-13

Although Saturday, March 6, has been booked, Friday, March 5, is still available, Wang said.

Reservations can be made by contacting Wang via email at director@parkcityfilm.org or by calling 503-866-8444.

Park City Film has curated a selection of five films to choose from for the screenings. (See accompanying list)

“A number of them are from Sundance Film Festivals or have been nominated for Golden Globes, so they fall in the same curatorial philosophy that we normally employ,” Wang said. “The artistry of the films are of utmost importance to us, and we feel these are films we think the community will appreciate.”

Wang and her staff have been working with the city and county since the fall to implement coronavirus protocols, which will ensure social distancing is in place at the theater, she said.

Those standards include distancing, masks for all, minimizing interactions, sanitization and health screenings.

“We reduced our capacity by 85%, which is 65 seats instead of 450 seats, with 6 feet of distancing between seat pairs, to give people an opportunity to gather with their families and COVID clusters to enjoy films on the big screen again,” Wang said. “We also require that guests wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking in their designated seats.”

All masks need to be in compliance with the updated Summit County mask requirements, which means no buffs or valves.

“If an audience member needs a mask, Park City Film staff will provide a disposable one for free,” Wang said.

Concessions will be available for the private screenings upon request, and sales will be full service, including a full-service popcorn toppings bar so patrons can still enjoy real melted butter on their popcorn, according to Wang.

“We will also sanitize the seats and other high-touch points with an approved, non-toxic disinfectant,” she said. “We’ll also have hand sanitizer available in the lobby area for audience members to use.”

In addition, all Park City Film staff and volunteers will undergo a complete health screening and have their temperatures taken before they begin their work.

Audience members are asked not to attend any film screenings if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, have been in contact with individuals known to be COVID positive within the last two weeks or are not willing or able to adhere to Park City Film’s COVID-19 protocols, Wang said.

“We are keeping with the more rigorous standards that the state had put in a few months ago,”

she said.

Although the in-person private screenings will start Friday, Park City Film will continue its Virtual Cinema offerings for community members that are more comfortable watching films at home, Wang said.

“We just want to see what the interest level are for in-persion screenings are, and how people will respond,” she said. “If the private screenings are successful and we continue on, we will add more to the selection and dates.

Park City Film’s private-screening auditorium rentals for up to 30 people

When: 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 19-20, Feb. 26-27, March 12-13; and Friday, March 5.

Cost: $350 for the general public; $250 for Park City Film members

Web: parkcityfilm.org/private-screenings.

Park City Film in-person rental screening films

• “Herself,” by Phyllida Lloyd, rated R. Sandra, on the surface of it, is a young mother struggling to provide her two young daughters with a warm, safe and happy home. Beneath the surface, Sandra has a steely determination to change their lives for the better, and when it becomes clear that the local council won’t provide that safe home, she decides to build it herself from scratch. This film premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

• “Night of the Kings,” by Philippe Lacôte, rated R. A young man is sent to “La Maca,” a prison in the middle of the Ivorian forest ruled by its inmates. As tradition goes with the rising of the red moon, he is designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners. Learning what fate awaits him, he begins to narrate the mystical life of the legendary outlaw named “Zama King” and has no choice but to make his story last until dawn. This film is an official entry of the 93rd Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film – Ivory Coast, and was an official selection of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

• “Nomadland,” by Chloé Zhao, rated R. Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern, played by Frances McDormand, packs her van and sets off on the road to explore a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The film features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West. This film is the winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion, the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival and recipient of four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama.

• “One Night in Miami,” by Regina King, rated R. This feature imagines a night in February 1964, when real-life friends Cassius Clay, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Malcolm X gather to celebrate Clay’s win over Sonny Liston, which made him the heavyweight champion of the world. This film has been nominated for three Golden Globes including Best Director and Best Supporting Actor.

• “The Climb,” by Michael Angelo Covino, rated R. “The Climb” is a frequently uproarious film about Kyle and Mike, who are best friends — until Mike sleeps with Kyle’s fiancée. It started as a short film and then premiered as a feature at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.


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