Jupiter Landing a local indie flick
While movies from across the country bounce across Sundance and Slamdance film festival screens, at least one film in Park City this week will actually come from the area.
"Jupiter Landing" was written by Parkite Stacy Dymalski and Salt Lake City resident Zack Van Eyck and follows a group of six outcasts living in a place called Jupiter Landing a big, quirky, Victorian house converted into apartments. The lives of the building’s residents are turned upside down, however, with an eviction notice. Spurred on by Nikki, a local reporter and one of the residents of the house, the group decides to fight the notice.
"It’s a very character-driven, dark comedy," said Billie Hirsch, the film’s producer.
Filmed in the summer of 2004 in an old house in the Avenues in Salt Lake City, Harsch and Dymalski said the movie was a relatively local production.
"We wanted to shoot it in Utah with Utah actors," said Dymalski.
Five of the seven lead actors were from Utah, she said, and nearly all of the crew was, as well. Joining Harsch as producers were two other Parkites, her husband Jim and John Sprung. Park City performer Kim Page was a co-producer and Eric Ristau and Mary Beth Maziarz did the cinematography and music, respectively.
Dymalski said making the film was the first time she had worked on a project consisting almost entirely of Utahns, but she said the project finished on time, went well, and she was happy with the way the film turned out.
"That convinced me, there’s a pool of talent here that’s untapped," said Dymalski. "That was a big revelation for me."
The making of "Jupiter Landing," Dymalski noted, followed an interesting path. After she and Van Eyck finished the script, it was optioned to director David Winkler. However, after a year, Winkler said he wouldn’t be able to get to the project and suggested that Dymalski direct the project.
With the chance to retain creative control and keep the project in Utah, she jumped at the opportunity. While she had written and sold screenplays and worked on short films, she had never worked on a feature. But, she added, Winkler offered his help, mentoring her through the filmmaking process and helping her through the rough spots.
"It was exciting, because I had never got to direct a film," Dymalski said.
"But," added Harsch, "the reality of the rest of us was, that we had never done anything like that."
However, with Dymalski leading the way and the others filmmakers learning their parts, the project turned out well, in the eyes of the filmmakers.
"We’ve actually shown it in New York [City] in the Tribecca Theatre on digital beta and it looked amazing," said Dymalski.
Despite filming in August heat in a house without air conditioning, battling summer rainstorms and neighborhood noise, the filming event wrapped when it should have.
"We did some amazing stuff," said Dymalski. "We finished the movie in time, on budget."
Shot with a budget slightly under $1 million, the project wasn’t a small undertaking. Dymalski said she wanted to submit the film for consideration for the Sundance Film Festival this past fall, but she missed the deadline by a few weeks.
"But the Park City Film Music Festival, their deadline was a few weeks later," she said, "which made the difference, in this case."
She credited Maziarz’s work on the film’s theme and songs for helping it get selected.
"It was a huge part of this movie," said Dymalski.
The film will make its Park City premier on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. as a part of the Park City Film Music Festival.
"We’re so proud of it," said Harsch. "It’s gone beyond our expectations."
The Park City Film Music Festival is located in the Main Street Mall on the second floor. Screening tickets are $10 and are available at the festival headquarters. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmmusicfestival.com.
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