Park City Film’s November screenings lead into the holidays
What: Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s documentary, “Honeyland,” not rated
When: 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2; 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3
Where: Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave.
Cost: $8 general admission;$7 students and seniors
Park City Film looks to November as a lead into the holiday season, and that’s reflected in two free films the nonprofit will screen during Thanksgiving Break.
Those films will be Chris Columbus’ 1990 comedy “Home Alone,” starring Macaulay Culkin, on Nov. 27, and Vincente Minneli’s 1944 romantic comedy, “Meet Me In St. Louis,” with Judy Garland, said Executive Director Katharine Wang.
“We partner with the Park City Library during school breaks to create a safe and engaging place for students to go see films by themselves or their families,” Wang said. “And these are holiday films that can be enjoyed by all ages.”
In addition to the free screenings, Park City Film has also programmed three weekend showings of documentaries — Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s “Honeyland,” Janice Engel’s “Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins” and Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.”
“Honeyland,” a documentary about a Macedonian beekeeper that screens from Nov. 1-3, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival was the most-awarded film at the festival, taking home the Cinematography and Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary, as well as the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Impact and Change.
“This is an unbelievable film that transports you to a totally different world,” Wang said. The beekeeper, Hatidze Muratova, uses an old-school technique that requires her to climb mountains to harvest honey from wild bees.
“The way she does it creates a relationship with nature,” Wang said. “She talks with the bees and takes half of the honey in a sustainable relationship so the bees can survive and she can use and sell (it).”
The environmental theme of the film is universal, according to Wang.
“There is a metaphor for modernization and modern life when a very boisterous family with a gaggle of children moves in next door,” she said. “They decide they want to cultivate honey as well, but they also want to make money as quickly as possible. And you see the family as a modern world intruding on the older ethic.”
“Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins” will be the next weekend screening from Nov. 8-10, Wang said.
The documentary shows who the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Dallas journalist was.
“Molly was no-holds barred,” she said “She said what she thought, and when she said it, she was a very thoughtful, smart and articulate person.”
While Ivins repeatedly described herself as liberal, she equally took issue with both conservatives and liberals, Wang said.
“Molly gave out unvarnished truth, but did it with humor, which I think was her genius,” Wang said. “Sometimes you need to get a laugh to bring people together and bring down some barriers to invite conversation. It is about us, ‘We the People’ and the government works for us collectively. And this is a powerful tribute to an incredible woman who died before her time.”
A portion of ticket sales for “Raise Hell” will benefit the American Civil Liberties Union, which the filmmakers require for screenings, Wang said.
“Molly was closely aligned with the ACLU, so the filmmakers decided if they were going to bring the documentary into the public, then it should benefit something that was close to her heart,” she said.
The next weekend screening, on Nov. 15-17, moves from journalism to music with “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.”
The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last August, and was one of a few music documentaries, such as A.J. Eaton’s “David Crosby: Remember My Name” and Andrew Slater’s “Echo in the Canyon,” released throughout the past year that center on the Southern California country-rock movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wang said.
“I think she is more familiar with those of us who grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s; we still can forget what a pioneer she was,” Wang said of Ronstadt. “She was in a male-dominant music industry at the time, and she is someone who has an immigrant background, being Mexican-American. It’s interesting how these things are timely in the current discourse.”
The film also pays homage to the power of Ronstadt’s performances and songwriting, Wang said.
“It’s a great tribute to her while she is still alive,” she said. “She has Parkinson’s Disease and is no longer able to sing at the same level she did.”
Wang said Park City Film is still waiting for confirmation on the film that will screen Nov. 22-25. The final November weekend screening, from Nov. 29-Dec. 1, will be Michael Engler’s historical comedy “Downton Abbey,” which continues the story of the television series.
Wang is excited to bring this film to town on Thanksgiving weekend.
“I’ve always been a fan of (PBS’) ‘Masterpiece Theater,’ and it was so exciting to see a ‘Masterpiece Theater’ production take off the way ‘Downton Abbey’ did,” she said. “It is a high-brow presentation that everyone can relate to. It’s such a great story. It has great acting. It has Maggie Smith and her humor and wit.”
The story is about Crawley Family, the wealthy owners of a British countryside estate who must prepare for a visit from the King and Queen of England, Wang said.
“We always try to program a film over Thanksgiving weekend that is appropriate for all ages and that will bring the community together,” she said. “This film is one of those films. It’s very witty and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who does wit better than the Brits.”
Special Program Screenings
In addition to weekend screenings, Park City Film has programmed a run of special November screenings that adhere to various programs.
On Nov. 2, Katt Shea’s “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” will screen as the month’s Books 2 Movies event.
The film is based on the characters of the Nancy Drew teen sleuth books by Carolyn Keene.
Five days later, on Nov. 7, Park City Film will screen Jenny MacKenzie’s documentary “However Long,” will usher in November’s Made it Utah program.
“However Long” is about a support group of women from the Huntsman Cancer Institute who have stage four metastatic breast cancer, Wang said. Mackenzie and the social worker who formed the support group will be present for a Q &A after the screening.
“It’s about how they want to live out the rest of their lives when they know they have a limited amount of time left,” she said. “It’s a heavy film, but very moving.”
Another Made In Utah film event will be the 14th annual Filmmakers Showcase, on Nov. 21. Park City Film will host a networking reception with audience members and filmmakers after the screening.
Jill Orschel, a local filmmaker, curates the two-hour showcase.
On Nov. 9 Park City Film’s Foreign Cinema for Kids will screen “Faces Places” by JR and Agnès Varda.
“We showed this as part of our regular programming last year,” Wang said. “It’s an incredible film that is a great presentation of French culture and the art of cinema.”
The November screening is in tribute to Varda who passed away earlier this year, according to Wang.
“It’s about how Agnes’ art brings people together,” she said.
The film documented Varda and JR’s trip around France, where they created portraits and collected stories of people they met, and overlayed those encounters with Agnes’ legacy of filmmaking, Wang said.
“The whole rationale of Foreign Cinema for Kids is to introduce and immerse local students in the culture of the language they are studying,” she said. “It will be screened in French with English subtitles, and it will be a pleasure to bring it back.”
The last program spotlighted in November is Art on Screen, where Park City Film showcases visual and performing arts.
Dance will be the focus of the Nov. 14 screening of “Yuli,” Icíar Bollaín’s biopic of Afro-Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, titled after the subject’s nickname.
“He’s a groundbreaking Afro-Cuban dancer in ballet, which has been known as a very Caucasian art form,” Wang said. “But things have been changing in ballet, and companies have become more diverse.”
One of those diverse companies is Utah’s own Ballet West, and a post-screening panel will feature Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute, along with soloists Hardiel Diniz of Brazil and Sayako Ohtaki of Japan.
“They will talk about their journey and what they are doing with making ballets more culturally sensitive,” Wang said.
Odyssey Dance Theater, also of Utah, attracted controversy last year with its handling of racially insensitive elements in “The Nutcracker.” Sklute was one of the ballet directors across the country who pledged to modify performances of Tchaikovsky’s ballet after the incident, and he currently directs the company’s reconstruction of George Balanchine’s “Le Chant du Rossignol,” a 1925 ballet that played to caricatures of East Asian people.
For information, visit parkcityfilm.org.
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