Sundance sets free summer screenings throughout Utah
Summer has finally arrived, which means it’s time for the return of Utah’s outdoor movie tradition, now in its 22nd year.
Sundance Institute will once again celebrate the season and Utah’s natural beauty with free screenings of eleven Sundance Film Festival favorites, taking place in Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, St. George and, new this year, Coalville. The screenings will also feature special guests, family-friendly activities, food and surprises.
Films start at dusk (approximately 9 p.m.), with gates opening and activities beginning at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
All screenings are free and open to the public, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic baskets and blankets or low-back lawn chairs to outdoor screenings.
“I can’t think of a better way to spend the summer than sharing these great films made by talented artists with our friends and neighbors, all while surrounded by our state’s natural beauty,” said Betsy Wallace, managing director and CFO of Sundance Institute. “We’re proud of our year-round partnership with the state of Utah and always look forward to this opportunity to express our appreciation for our home state and the people we share it with.”
Friday, July 12 — “Top End Wedding” / Australia — The Ray Theatre, Park City
Lauren and Ned are engaged, they are in love, and they have just 10 days to find Lauren’s mother (who has gone AWOL somewhere in the remote far north of Australia), reunite her parents, and pull off their dream wedding. Cast: Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Kerry Fox, Huw Higginson, Ursula Yovich, Shari Sebbens.
This is an indoor screening. Venue opens at 6 p.m., and the screening starts at 7 p.m.
Friday, July 19 — “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” / United Kingdom — Ledges Event Center, Coalville
Against all the odds, a 13-year-old boy in Malawi invents an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine. Based on the true story of William Kamkwamba. Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Maxwell Simba, Lily Banda, Noma Dumezweni, Aïssa Maïga, Joseph Marcell.
Summit County Power Works will be hosting a Light Swap where you can switch in your old light bulbs for energy and money-saving LED light bulbs for free. There will also be games and an opportunity drawing for prizes.
Friday, July 26 — “RBG” / U.S.A. — City Park, Park City
An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With unprecedented access, the filmmakers show how her early legal battles changed the world for women. Now this 84-year-old does push-ups as easily as she writes blistering dissents that have earned her the title “Notorious RBG.”
Treats available from Waffle Love.
Friday, Aug. 2 — “Life, Animated” / U.S.A. — City Park, Park City
Owen Suskind, an autistic boy who could not speak for years, slowly emerged from his isolation by immersing himself in Disney animated movies. Using these films as a roadmap, he reconnects with his loving family and the wider world in this emotional coming-of-age story. Shown in collaboration with Kimball Arts Festival.
Treats available from San Diablo Churros.
The series starts on July 3, with a special showing of “Get Out” at Salt Lake City’s Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre. The Academy Award-winning film made its world premiere as a surprise screening at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival before going on to become a worldwide phenomenon.
The films continue in Salt Lake with an advance screening of the 2019 Festival’s family-friendly film “Abe” prior to its theatrical release. The first Park City screening will be on July 12 with another standout from this year’s Festival, “Top End Wedding.”
Other highlights of the series include 2018’s critically acclaimed “Eighth Grade;” the classic Festival favorite “The Cockettes,” featuring an in-person Q & A with co-directors Bill Weber and David Weissman; and the Summer Series’ first-ever screening in Coalville, with 2019’s Alfred P. Sloan Prize-winning “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.”
Of the ten selected films, three made their world premieres at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; eight of the ten films played in the last three Festivals.
The Utah community will once again be able to vote to select the final film of the series, either online at sundance.org/utah or via onsite balloting at screenings through mid-August.
The nominees will be chosen from a selection of classic Festival films from women filmmakers, including “Leave No Trace,” “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and “Little Miss Sunshine.”
“Each year, we look for more ways to connect people all over Utah with our work,” said LaraLee Ownby, assistant director of Utah Community Programs for Sundance Institute. “We’re thrilled to continue the Summer Series’ expansion this year and bring these recent Festival favorites, many directed by filmmakers from underrepresented groups, to entertain and hopefully inspire a new generation of art-lovers throughout the state.”
The Institute will again collaborate with other Utah-based organizations for the Summer Film Series, including DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival, the Kimball Arts Festival and Ogden Amphitheater.
Zions Bank returns as the series’ principal sponsor, along with the state of Utah as a major supporter. The series’ community supporters are Salt Lake County Economic Development Department; Peggy Bergmann; Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) Program; Summit County Recreation, Arts, and Parks (RAP) Tax; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Promontory Foundation; and Red Butte Garden.
For more information about Sundance Institute programming for Utah residents and to vote for the Utah Community Choice Film visit sundance.org/utah.
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