Fresh horizons for New Frontier |

Fresh horizons for New Frontier

After spending last Sundance Film Festival in the Miners Hospital cocoon, New Frontier will have room to spread its wings at The Yard in Jan. 19-29, 2012.

The move was announced earlier this week during a Sundance Film Festival staff retreat, which, incidentally, was held at The Yard.

Shari Frilot, senior programmer and curator for New Frontier, said the 10,000 square-foot venue will introduce more people to the advances of trans-media storytelling.

"We were a little ahead of our time when we started New Frontier in 2007," Frilot told The Park Record, during a short break during the retreat. "We had this ambition and instinct to make a move to create a line of programming that took into consideration how new media was evolving, with the increasing trend of figures in the art world making films and embracing cinematic practice. We’ve been in these worlds and have been developing this showcase, and I think we’re ready to graduate into a venue that can handle the capacity of some of these installations."

The new space will also expand New Frontiers’ visionary scope, Frilot said.

"It’s going to expand the spectrum of work we can pull from and it will have an effect on the audience experience as well," she said. "New Frontier has always been about creating a fully immersive media environment that resonates in an artistic way, our media-immersed lives. To do it on a grand scale speaks to what we’re trying to do and enables us to do it in a more powerful way.

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"For the first couple of years, New Frontier was like a curiosity, but I think the times have caught up with us," Frilot said. "The mission is still there. Even if it evolves, every year, we explore the frontiers of storytelling and that’s often found at the intersection of the new media technology, cinematic visions from the art world and innovation coming out of the film world, and I think we’re ready for our ‘close-up.’"

The space can also be modified to properly exhibit these innovative displays, said Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper.

"We don’t know what art we’re going to get year to year," he said. "Being at The Yard will give us a lot more flexibility, because we’ll be able to build walls and do whatever we can to make sure the art fits.

"It’s also more of a traditional museum space because it’s all big and broad and has these high ceilings," Cooper added. "It gives us room to make a cool, loungey hangout that mixes with the art, and I think it will serve us really well, because people will come to this cool spot and get turned onto the art."

The space also has the blessing of Sundance Film Festival Founder Robert Redford.

"When we told him about it, he got really excited because he knows this space," Cooper said. "I think he likes that it’s on the edge of the city, and he likes this whole part of town. It’s very central to what we do, because headquarters is close by and the Eccles (Performing Art Center) is just down the street."

It’s also a nice, unobtrusive alternative to the bustling Main Street.

"Although everyone loves Main Street, it’s difficult to maneuver during festival time," he said. "Main Street is there for another type of experience where people can go eat dinner, socialize and all that stuff."

With the move, The Yard will be deemed an official venue of the Sundance Film Festival for the first time, said Yard Event Space owner Mark J. Fischer.

"This will be the fourth year The Yard has been used during the Sundance Film Festival, but not as an official venue," he said. "I’ve had a working relationship with Sarah Pearce (Sundance Film Festival’s director of operations) for six years and as we’ve gotten to know each other more, our visions aligned."

Fischer has been working to develop The Yard and the surrounding areas, now known as the Bonanza Park District, since 1998.

"I thought the area was ripe for thoughtful redevelopment and I spent the last 10 to 11 years purchasing the necessary properties to make it possible," he said. "I think the growing consensus in the community is that the area is very accessible, with two major highways on each side. It serves as a great area to support Main Street in the sense that we can have event space here, with a lot of parking, to bring people to town who will then go to Main Street and enjoy dining and the other entertainment values there.

"During the past 30 years, this area supported Main Street in a different way, because this is where the lumberyard was kept and where the plumbers and the electricians were located," he said. "I think Bonanza Park is designed to be a very accessible, modern, urban experience to add to Park City’s existing character, and now New Frontier and Bonanza Park go hand in hand."