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Film festival to focus on music

Try to imagine "Star Wars" without music.

That’s one of the reasons why the Park City Film Music Festival, which opens Friday, May 20, was started in 2004.

"We hold the festival to raise awareness and appreciation of music as an art form in film," said festival director Leslie Harlow. "It seems odd that one of the major elements in a film doesn’t get recognized and the composer doesn’t get paid anywhere close to the actors.

"Sure, there are big-name composers we all know who make a lot of money, but there are a lot of fine and incredibly good composers for film who aren’t making as much money as they should. So we at the festival want to promote them and give them awards for what they do."

Harlow and her staff looks at all the ways the music is used in film, she said. "It’s not just about one style of music, either. It’s all styles.

"We did that for a reason because creating music for film is an artistic effort," she said. "Even though I’m in classical music, I really enjoy film that utilizes music in any way. So if someone bangs on a can and it works for the film, then he or she gets credit for how the music impacts the film."

More than 500 films were entered this year and Harlow chose close to 200.

"It was hard to turn down films because there are so many good ones out there," she said.

As in the past, a lot of short films were submitted.

"A short film gives the filmmaker a chance to concentrate on the impact the music has in the film, and they don’t have to carry out a long narrative," Harlow said.

Long or short, the screenings will take place from May 20 to May 30 in three venues the Egyptian Theatre, the Prospector Lodge Theatre and the Santy Auditorium, Harlow said.

"We have 300 hours of screening time available to us," Harlow explained. "When scheduling, I try to put the films together in a group, which doesn’t necessarily mean they relate to each other, but as I do this, I really do try to program each day so there is some consistency at each venue.

" doing this, I found that almost every day there is some slate of films that someone will enjoy," she said.

One of the films that will show opening night is Jonathan Martin’s 30-minute horror flick "An Evening with My Comatose Mom."

The film, which would probably be rated PG to PG-13, originated with a discussion the Provo-based Martin had with a friend.

"She wanted to do a horror film and that got me thinking about the genre," Martin said. "I wanted to make something that was a nod to the classic horror film. I wanted it to have a big feeling about it."

Martin worked with film students from Brigham Young University and established professionals, including documentary filmmaker Devin Graham and make up artist Chris Hanson, who has worked on "Hellboy" and "X-Files Movie."

He found music composer Kevin G. Lee by talking with a visual effects supervisor at Sandman Studios, who worked on "An Evening with My Comatose Mom."

"I looked at Kevin’s stuff and felt like he’d be the right fit and, as it turned out, he was," said Martin, a business graduate of Utah Valley University. "His music is fantastic, and he used a lot of pipe organs that gives the film a regal, classic feel, but he also used harps and other intimate instruments to add some flavor to the other parts of the film. It’s an overall fun score that fit the fun and scary feel of the film.

"I knew specifically, the film needed to have an original score that had that big, epic feeling," Martin said. "The music needed to complete the film and would not be overlooked by the audiences."

So far, "An Evening with My Comatose Mom" has been accepted into 22 film festivals, including the Park City Film Music Festival.

"One thing that sets us apart from other film festivals is the films don’t have to be premieres," Harlow said. "They just need to be good films with good music that catches our attention."

The Park City Film Music Festival will kick off Friday, May 20, at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main Street, the Prospector Convention Center Theatre, 2175 Sidewinder Dr., and the Santy Auditorium; 1255 Park Ave. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for Summit County residents. A day pass is available for $30 and a full festival pass is available for $250. Visit www. pcfmf.com/MainPage.html for more information about screening schedules, tickets and film content.


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