Locals Filmmakers Showcase a boon for the community
November 2, 2012
When Jill Orschel started the Local Filmmakers Showcase seven years ago, she had her own agenda.
"The original idea for the film series was very personal and selfish," Orschel said with a laugh during an interview with The Park Record. "I wanted to be able to show my own stuff, and show works-in-progress and get audience reactions, so I could improve the films."
Now, the showcase, which will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Jim Santy Auditorium, has a bigger purpose.
"While the mission of the film showcase has always been to help people get brave and show their works, our theme this year is to expand and bring more awareness about the film culture in Park City," Orschel said. "I still want to show how wonderful film is as a medium and how important it can be because films can address all the important issues that we think about."
She also wants the showcase to be a vehicle to create a demand to maintain film programs in the local schools.
"We’re working more closely with the Sundance Institute this year and I recently had a great discussion with Kara Cody, who is the Utah community development manager for the institute," Orschel said. "We talked about bringing filmmakers into the classrooms, but there is an issue with time constraints and some of the teachers haven’t been able to make the time, but, I think, if there is a demand to have these filmmakers give presentations, it will eventually happen."
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This year, the showcase will present a diverse program of short films.
"We have funny films, documentaries, fiction pieces, music, dance and slide shows," Orschel said. "They range in length from 3 minutes to 16 minutes."
Three of the filmmakers Noah Cohen, Jake Topkis and Arthur Veenema are college students who studied film at Park City High School and are now at film school, and a fourth, Daniel Riley, is still in high school.
"Last year, we focused on bringing in youth filmmakers, because in the past we’ve only presented works done by adults," Orschel said. "The late Chris Maddux (a member of the PCHS faculty) had created an amazing film program at the high school and the Filmmakers Showcase wants to help keep that program strong.
So, by letting kids like Riley be part of the showcase, Orschel hopes it will help keep the program going.
"We don’t want these kids to let go of their dreams, because there is so much that these filmmakers can accomplish," she said.
One example Orschel pointed out is Park City High School graduate J.J. Gerber.
"He’s moved on and is now a successful commercial producer," she said. "He’s living in Los Angeles now and has a couple of projects he would like to submit to the showcase."
In the past, Orschel has been strict about making sure the filmmakers were present for the screenings so they could interact with the audience, but this year, things have loosened up.
"Because we have some filmmakers who are away at school or in different parts of the country, we’re thinking of doing some sort of a SKYPE presentation to get them involved," Orschel said.
That said, there will be many artists who will attend the showcase, according to Orschel.
"An Dinh, who has made films for us in the past, is a country doctor who will travel as far as Tooele and Elko, Nevada, to do house calls," she said. "Film is his hobby, and we’ve been filmmaking colleagues through the years. He’s a great guy and has submitted a funny little piece called ‘Missionary Position’ to this year’s showcase."
Another selection that will be screened is from Park City Film Series Board Chairwoman Irene Cho.
"She produces international films, and has made a feature-length film," Orschel said. "We’re going to see segments of her favorite parts from that film."
One entry, "Life According to Penny," by Sally Meyer and Ali Barr, won the Utah Arts Festival Film of the Year and placed first and won the audience award at the LDS Film Festival.
"They’re from Kamas," Orschel said. "So, we’re excited to have this film part of the screenings."
Last year, photographer Charlie Lanche presented a gallery of his works, and Orschel asked him to return.
"He put himself out there last year and it was a big stretch for him, so this year, we are encouraging him to put his stuff out there in a slideshow," she said.
Other entries include music and performance videos by Rich Wyman, Tanya Taylor and Bryce and Laura Johnson.
In addition, Orschel will screen a new work, "Portraits of the Heart," which stemmed from her interest in a nationwide film competition called Focus Forward, whose winners will be announced at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
"The films, which are all just three minutes, are about innovative people in the world," Orschel explained. "I wanted to do a film about Nassir Marrouche, a heart surgeon who is doing some amazing things."
However, the doctor’s work is so high tech, that Orschel had a hard time getting things in order, so, Marrouche introduced her to his patient Lynn Blodget, who is a photographer.
"I thought about filming Lynn photographing Dr. Marrouche, but the doctor was too busy with his other patients and couldn’t make the photo shoot, so I shot a film about Lynn photographing another patient."
Throughout the years, Orschel has seen the quality of the submissions rise.
"They get better and better and the content of these films seem to have more meaning and more meat to them," she said. "I would love it if people use the showcase as a way to make a deadline or another resource to make their work. At the same time, I also want to make sure its stays relevant."
The Seventh Annual Filmmakers’ Showcase presented by the Park City Film Series will take place Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Jim Santy Auditorium in the Park City Library and Education Center, 1255 Park Ave., at 7 p.m. Admission is free. For more details visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com .