Park City Film Series returns with Sundance favorites |

Park City Film Series returns with Sundance favorites

A scene from the India film Water.

When Frank Normile started the Park City Film series 13 years ago, his motivation was not merely spawned from his deep love of motion pictures.

"I started it so I could meet women," he said. "You can meet more women at the movies than at the bars."

It worked. It’s how he met his wife.

"I still meet women," Normile said with a grin, "but not with the same motivation."

The Park City Film Series will kick-off this weekend with the movie "A Prairie Home Companion" at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library. The film is rated PG-13 and show times are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. The prices will be $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and $4.50 a show when buying a 10-movie pass.

"We’re going to be starting in a week," Normile said last Friday. "We’re hoping to have a large turnout. We’ll be showing a great film suitable for the entire family. I got a lot of films this year that are PG and PG-13."

According to the Park City Film Series Web site, the opening movie, "A Prairie Home Companion" is "a fictionalized account of Garrison Keillor’s award-winning show, which currently runs on National Public Radio. This is a playful, comic story set in St. Paul, Minnesota, where fans file into the Fitzgerald Theater to see the radio show performed. (Viewers) get a close up view back stage and on stage as the film follows the show’s cast of characters preparing for the final live broadcast.

"Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin are an aging country duet. Lindsay Lohan hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Kevin Klein is a down-and-out private eye who moonlights as the backstage doorkeeper and Woody Harrelson with John C. Reily are singing cowboys. Add Virginia Madsen ‘Sideways’ as an angel, Tommy Lee Jones as the Axeman, Maya Rudolph (S.N.L.) as a pregnant stagehand and Garrison Keillor himself in the role of Emcee."

This year there is a new computerized projector, which Normile said will "show greater clarity and view-ability."

Normile is looking forward to the season. The lineup, he says, is Sundance heavy. Showing Sundance movies is the foundation of his organization.

When the Sundance Film Festival rolls through Park City in January, many of the films are too expensive or too crowded for many locals to attend. Normile wanted to give Parkites an opportunity to see these movies without breaking the bank and without wading through the chaos of crowds.

"The prices for tickets at Sundance were high and many locals complained they couldn’t see these films." Normile said. "We wanted to bring these films back when they became affordable."

Since most of these movies are independent, many viewers have not seen a trailer or heard of the films. Normile has developed a user-friendly Web site to inform movie goers. The site,, has a calendar of all the movies that will be shown with trailers, photos and descriptions that "new and old patrons," he said, are invited to visit.

When Normile and the board of directors picked the films for this season, the selections had them smiling.

"It’s the best lineup in years," Normile said.

Normile is particularly excited about a film from China "Mountain Patrol" which will be shown Sept. 22-24.

"I’ve been trying to get that for two years," Normile said. "David Lean, who directed ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ could’ve died and been reborn. It’s in the same vein of Lawrence of Arabia. It’s a big film."

Normile said he originally thought the film was a documentary, but was pleasantly surprised with a gripping story.

"Mountain Patrol," follows the real story of a reporter in China.

According to Normile’s Web site, "Filmmaker Lu Chuan traveled to the remote border of China and Tibet, to make this film, the true story of a reporter from Beijing, who traveled to the high mountains of Western China to learn about armed volunteer patrols trying to save the endangered Tibetan antelope. Poachers are decimating the herds and selling pelts to be made into fashionable shawls. The reporter goes along on patrol in the hopes that a story in the newspaper will spur the Chinese government to take stronger action to protect the animals.

"The film, filled with panoramic and colorful images, was shot on location under dangerous conditions. The film is from Mainland China where it won Hong Kong’s Golden Horse Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Picture."

The Park City Film Series will also show light-hearted comedies like "Little Miss Sunshine."

"We have a well-rounded calendar," Normile said.

Starting in Oct., the film series will show one free Sundance documentary a month. In cooperation with the Salt Lake Film Society, Normile is again working with Global Lens to show short films from developing countries.

"Only 12 cities are approved to show Global Lens films," Normile said. "They get thousands of applications, last year we showed 10, this year we are only showing four."

Normile will also continue the "Reel Classic Series," showing classics and oldies with a discussion afterward.

The Park City Film Series will kickoff this weekend with the movie "A Prairie Home Companion" at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library. The film is rated PG-13 and show times are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. The prices will be $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and $4.50 a show when buying a 10-movie pass.

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