Sundance Institute announces its 2015 Summer Film Series |

Sundance Institute announces its 2015 Summer Film Series

Summers have always been a time to celebrate the outdoors in Park City and the Sundance Institute is excited to be part of the offerings.

The nonprofit announced the 2015 Sundance Institute Summer Film Series that will screen a total of seven films in Park City’s City Park and the Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City, said Kara Cody, Sundance Institute’s senior manager of Utah community programs.

The mission of the series is twofold, Cody said during an interview with The Park Record.

"First off, we love to bring our friends and neighbors together to enjoy some of our favorite films from the Sundance Film Festival, whether they are from the most recent festival or from festivals past, in the beautiful Utah summer evening," she said. "It’s pretty spectacular to sit in City Park with the mountains and see these wonderful films outside."

Secondly, the mission of the Sundance Institute is to connect audiences with independent films, Cody said.

"The series allows us to do that," she said. "It gives friends and neighbors a chance to see films they might have missed during the festivals or the ones they want to see again."

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The Park City screenings will begin on July 10 with Academy Award-winner Louise Psihoyo’s documentary "Racing Extinction," which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

The film exposes the issues surrounding endangered species and mass extinction, according to Cody.

Sundance will collaborate with Recycle Utah, a nonprofit that is "committed to reducing waste and preventing ground water pollution in the surrounding community," according to its mission statement.

"We are excited to work with Recycle Utah on that screening because it’s their 25th anniversary and this is the perfect film to celebrate what they do," Cody said.

The next Park City screening will be Benh Zeitlin’s feature "Beasts of the Southern Wild" on July 30.

The film, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, is one of the Sundance Institute’s success stories, Cody said.

"It started out at the Sundance Institute summer film labs and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won a Grand Jury Prize," Cody said.

The film was also nominated for four Academy Awards — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress.

"I’m surprised at how many people have told me that they haven’t seen that movie," Cody said. "It’s one of those films that you see and can’t wait to see it again. I think it will be a lot of fun to see outdoors because the sound design is incredible."

"The Beasts of the Southern Wild" screening is part of the Park City Kimball Arts Festival’s Festival After Dark program, which continues art experiences for the public after the festival closes for the night, according to Cody.

"It’s great because that weekend is all about the arts and we are honored and thrilled to be part of their program," she said.

The Summer Series in Park City will end on Aug. 14, with Daniel Junge’s documentary, "Being Evel," which also premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

"This film is, of course, about daredevil Evel Knievel," Cody said. "We are collaborating with Park City Recreation for that screening. They have some fun activities planned in the park prior to the screening. It’s always nice when we can bring recreation and the arts together and this will be a fun evening."

Working with Utah-based organizations helps enhance the Sundance Institute’s Summer Film Series and makes it more exciting for the community, Cody said.

"Anyone can screen a film, but when you have that support from other community groups, it makes it more meaningful," she said. "Plus, it also helps create a bigger audience. We are reaching out to the environmental community with ‘Racing Extinction’ and the extreme-sports community with ‘Being Evel.’ And hopefully, we can engage them and let them know that there is something for them at Sundance."

In addition to the Park City Screenings, the four screenings at Red Butte Garden are:

  • Stuart Murdoch’s feature musical "God Help the Girl" on July 1.
  • Malik Benjelloul’s documentary "Searching for Sugar Man" on July 8
  • Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn’s documentary "In Football We Trust" on July 15
  • Utah Community Choice Film on Aug. 26.

    Salt Lake City and Park City audiences will have the chance to select the Utah Community Choice Film, Cody said.

    "The public can vote on-site at the screenings or by visiting our website ( through Aug. 15," she said. "The winning film will be announced in late August."

    The thing that sets the Sundance Summer Film Series apart from other outdoor film series is the presentation quality, Cody said.

    "Our equipment is truly state-of-the-art and allows us to bring the equivalent to a festival theater outside," she said. "The picture is bright and clear and the sound is large and loud, so everyone will have a top-of-the-line experience at the park."

    Moviegoers should bring blankets or low-back chairs to sit on and jackets, because it does get chilly when the sun sets, Cody said.

    "We also encourage picnics and we have seen some incredible spreads in the past," she said. "This is a great community event that goes on and we are always thrilled to do this.

    "In addition, parking can be limited, so we urge people to carpool, ride the bus, walk, jog or bike to City Park."

    For more information about the Sundance Institute’s Summer Film Series, visit