Sundance outdoor films add to the summer fun
The Park Record For the past 19 years, Sundance Institute has presented free summer outdoor film screenings. Each year, the nonprofit selects an array of films that not only celebrate the art of independent film, but are entertaining enough to get people outside, said Kara Cody, Sundance Institute senior manager of Utah community programs. “In this day and age where people have the ability to stream movies at their fingertips, to see audiences still come out to be with their friends and neighbors to watch films is special for us,” Cody told The Park Record. “What better way to see these films than in the Utah outdoors.” The screenings will be held in both Park City and Salt Lake City and start with John Crowley’s “Brooklyn” on Wednesday, July 6 at the Red Butte Garden Amphitheater. The Park City screenings will start on Friday, July 15, with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s “The Way, Way Back.” The screenings, which will begin a little after dusk, also include Leon Gast’s “When We Were Kings,” Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz’s “Under the Electric Sky (EDC 2013),” Julian Jarrold’s “Kinky Boots,” Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s “Sonita” and Stephen Kijak’s “We Are X.” “We always look for some good films and we did onsite surveys during last year screenings,” Cody said. “We have volunteers who ask our audiences questions about what kinds of films people want to see.” Volunteers ask the audiences if they want documentaries, narratives, award winners or obscure films. “A lot of the films that we select for the screenings come up on these surveys,” she said. Others are just timely. “For instance, ‘When We Were Kings’ is timely with the passing of Muhammad Ali,” Cody said. “That film premiered at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, so it’s also celebrating its 20th anniversary and then going on to win the Best Feature Documentary in the following Academy Awards.” “The Way, Way Back” is ideal because it’s a summer coming of age comedy that mostly takes place at a water park. Sundance Institute is working with Park City Recreation to provide some pre-screening fun. “It was very obvious for us to reach out to Park City Recreation to collaborate on this film,” Cody said. “We have such a great relationship with Park City Recreation and love having them support our programming.” The activities will include a water balloon toss and other outdoor games. “We want to get people in the park and watch this movie together,” Cody said. Another Sundance Institute collaboration will be with the Kimball Art Center and the Park City Kimball Arts Festival for a screening of “Sonita,” on Aug. 12. The documentary is about an 18-year-old Afghan rapper who found out her family planned to sell her to an unknown groom for $9,000. “‘Sonita’ is such a powerful film,” Cody said. “Something you can take away from that film is not only that girls should not be sold, but also how the power of art can tell a story and transform and make lives better. “Sonita herself is such an incredible artist and so passionate about her art and her cause, which is making sure no other girls are sold and ending child brides,” she said. “She used the art of music as a tool to make these changes, and I think it is the perfect fit with the arts festival.” Another unique City Park screening will be “Under the Electric Sky (EDC 2013),” which will be shown in 3D on July 29. “We have been talking about presenting a film in 3D outdoors for years now, and we are finally ready to make it happen this summer,” Cody said. This is also a timely film, which is about the Electric Daisy Carnival. “The Electric Daisy Carnival, which is this [electronic dance music] festival in Las Vegas, just celebrated its 25th anniversary,” Cody said. “So, we decided to pull out the big guns and show it in City Park. I like EDM music, but not a super fan. However, after seeing this film, I would love to go to the festival some day.” Sundance Institute will loan 3D glasses for the screening because, according to Holden Payne, Sundance Institute technical director of exhibition and production, the glasses are compatible with the screening equipment’s Dolby gear. The two remaining films, “Kinky Boots” and “We Are X,” will be screened at Red Butte Garden. “‘Kinky Boots’ has been a favorite film of mine for years,” Cody said. “‘We Are X’ is one of those films that kept coming up during our surveys at the end of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It won an editing award, and it’s always fun to show a film that isn’t going to be available right away through streaming or other screenings, so it’s nice to show a sneak peek.” The final screening of the season, on Aug. 31, will be selected by the public, Cody said. “In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Midnight Sundance Film Festival category, people can vote on which horror movie will be screened on Aug. 31 at Red Butte Garden,” she said. The choices are “The Blair Witch Project,” “What We Do In The Shadows,” ”Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” or “Under the Shadow.” “A few years ago we decided to engage our local audiences and give them a chance to vote on a film they would see at the end of the series,” Cody said. “We also decided to do themes, and since this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Midnight category, we wanted to give people a choice between the really scary films and horror comedies this year.” The public can vote online by visiting http://www.sundance.org/utah or they can vote onsite during this year’s summer screenings. “We just want to let people have their voices heard in this election year,” Cody said. The Sundance Institute will present its 19th annual free outdoor film screenings with Matt Ross’ “Captain Fantastic” on Wednesday, July 6 at the Red Butte Garden Amphitheater. Screenings of other Sundance Film Festival films will start in Park City at City Park with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s “The Way, Way Back” on July 15. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.sundance.org.
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Sundance schedules 11 screenings for its 2019 summer series, and the public can vote on one.