Park City Film series examines climate change with ‘Chasing Ice’ |

Park City Film series examines climate change with ‘Chasing Ice’

When Katharine Wang became executive director of the Park City Film Series last month, she understood the organization wanted to elevate the level of dialog in the community by using film as that platform.

She reviewed the schedule and saw Jeff Orlowski’s "Chasing Ice" would be screened Dec. 28 through Dec. 30.

The film is a documentary about National Geographic photographer James Balog who embarks on a quest to photograph climate change through multi-year, time-lapse photography.

The film, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, has, since, won a few canisters worth of accolades, including Sundance’s Excellence in Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary, The Environmental Media Association’s 22nd annual Best Documentary Award and audience awards from the South Southwest, Hot Docs, Rier Run, Palo Alto, Berwick, Port Townsend, DocuWest, Take One Action, Brattleboro and Seattle film festivals, according to the film’s website

That got the wheels in Wang’s head turning, and through a "happy confluence" of events, a post-screening program developed.

"The film screens for three nights, Dec. 28 through Dec. 30, and on the last night, Sunday, which is usually our most popular night, because the screening starts a little earlier in the evening, we will have the filmmaker, Jeff Orlowski, join us via Skype after the screening for a question-and-answer session," Wang said. "The session will be projected on the Santy screen and facilitated by KPCW’s Chris Cherniak, host of ‘This Green Earth.’"

Wang thanks SNS FiRe (Strategic News Service Future in Review) Films for getting Orlowski to participate in the Skype presentation.

Local filmmaker Geralyn Dreyfous is involved the organization.

"Her partner, Sharon Anderson-Morris, contacted me on, literally, my first day as executive director, and said she wanted to help with the screening," Wang remembered.

"I asked if she could help us get in contact with Jeff and she said, ‘Sure.’"

Initially, Wang and the film series board hoped that Orlowski or Balog would be able to come to Park City, but with the holidays and other commitments, they had to decline.

"So, we thought we’d take advantage of this new technology, which would also reduce our carbon footprint, and have Jeff join us via Skype, and project the feed onto the Santy Auditorium movie screen."

Following the session, the Park City Film Series will host a reception, sponsored by the Park City Foundation and Park City Municipal Corporation, in the lobby so audience members can mingle and discuss the film.

"’Chasing Ice’ is such an impassioned movie and it makes things clear about what’s happening with the changing climate," Wang said. "It makes the topic more comprehensible."

Because the film encapsulates the disappearing glaciers in an understandable way, the audience has more of a chance to come away, wanting more information or wanting to get involved with some conservation programs, Wang said.

"While you can’t go and take pictures on the glaciers with James Balog, there is stuff you can do in our community," she explained. "That’s what we want to instill upon people. We can help them get connected with the Save Our Snow organization or with the Park City ski resorts Park City Mountain Resort, Canyons and Deer Valley that are taking steps to reduce their own emissions."

The audience will also learn about Park City Municipal Corp. and the number of conservation programs it offers.

"These are big, measurable projects that you can get engaged in, and that’s what the reception is all about," Wang said. "That way, you can connect back to the community and leave the screening inspired and hopeful and not overwhelmed and hopeless."

Wang would like to see more events such as this accompany more Park City Film Series screenings.

"There are other important topics, such as education reform and sustainability, that we could do something with in the future," she said. "We thought ‘Chasing Ice’ would be the perfect test case for our expanded vision because of all the activity in our community regarding climate change, carbon reduction and sustainability."

Even with the Skype presentation and the reception, admission to the screening is only $7 for adults. That is possible because Iceworks, a local company that provides ice decorations, underwrote the screening, Wang said.

"All of these organizations have come together to help us present a thoughtful film and event this month," Wang said.

The Park City Film Series will screen Jeff Orlowski’s "Chasing Ice," not rated, at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library and Education Center, 1255 Park Avenue. Screenings will be Friday and Saturday, Dec. 28, and Dec. 29, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 30, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for students and senior citizens. On Sunday, Dec. 30, the screening will be followed by a Skype question-and-answer session with Orlowski and a free reception. For more information and tickets visit .

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