Photographer Credit: Jonathan Hickerson
Park City, UT — It’s a Utah summer tradition 20 years in the making: Sundance Institute will celebrate summer with free outdoor screenings of Sundance Film Festival favorites in Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden and Kamas. These screenings will also feature food, special guests, fun activities and a few 20th anniversary surprises.
Betsy Wallace, CFO and Managing Director of Sundance Institute, said, “Enjoying these great films with friends, neighbors and colleagues, surrounded by Utah’s natural beauty, is a highlight of our year-round programming -- and, now that we’re in our 20th year, it’s safe to say it’s a local tradition as well. We are proud to call Utah our home and the Institute’s summer series is one way we try to give back to the local communities”
The series kicks off July 5 at Salt Lake City’s Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre with a screening of Napoleon Dynamite. This Sundance Film Festival-discovered cult comedy classic will be accompanied by themed activities for the whole family, such as a Napoleon-inspired dance competition and a costume show. Other highlights of the series include a special screening of the classic Sundance Institute namesake Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Robert Redford, preceded by a free concert and to which all audience members are encouraged to wear their best Western garb. Nine of the films got their start at the Sundance Film Festival.
Back by popular demand, the Utah community will be able to vote to select the final film of the series, either online at sundance.org/utah or onsite at screenings through August 23. The nominees will be chosen from a selection of 20th anniversary favorites from the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, including The Full Monty, Chasing Amy and Prefontaine.
Films start at dusk (approximately 9:00 p.m.), with gates opening and activities beginning at 7:30 p.m. All screenings are free and open to the public, no ticket needed, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic baskets and blankets or low-back lawn chairs.
Kara Cody, Assistant Director of Utah Community Programs for Sundance Institute, said, “This year’s films range from comedy to adventure to real-life drama -- some will be great fits for families, some for extreme sports enthusiasts or music buffs. With a full schedule of interactive games and activities to go along with these great films, these screenings are far from the ordinary.”
The Institute will again collaborate with other Utah-based organizations for the Summer Film Series, including Park City Municipal Corporation, Kimball Arts Festival, Park City Recreation, Ogden City Amphitheatre and Mountain Town Music. This year’s screenings are supported by Principal Sponsor Zions Bank, Major Sponsor Pop Art Snacks, Community Supporters Salt Lake County Economic Development; Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) Program; Summit County Recreation, Arts, and Parks (RAP) Tax; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Promontory Foundation; and Red Butte Garden.
For more information about Sundance Institute programming for Utah residents and to vote for the Utah Community Choice Film visit sundance.org/utah.
Wednesday, July 5 ∙ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
Napoleon Dynamite / U.S.A. (Director: Jared Hess, Screenwriters: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess) — From the rural town of Preston, Idaho, comes Napoleon Dynamite – a new kind of hero. He spends his days drawing magical beasts, working on his computer hacking skills to impress the chicks, and begrudgingly feeding his Grandma's pet llama. When his friend Pedro runs for class president, Napoleon helps him triumph over adversity. Cast: Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Efren Ramirez, Aaron Ruell, Tina Majorino. Screening to include a dance contest and other special events.
Friday, July 7 ∙ City Park
Riding Giants / U.S.A., France (Director: Stacy Peralta) — Closely chronicling the sometimes-life-and-death drama that big-wave riding entails, Riding Giants is an often-mesmerizing visual thrill ride. But the most appealing aspect of this often revelatory documentary is the realization that the man versus nature dialectic never ends; the search for the ultimate wave and the spiritual pinnacle can only be pursued but never reached. Are you stoked yet? Presented in collaboration with Park City Recreation and to include a beach party and tarp surfing.
Thursday, July 13 ∙ DeJoria Center
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid / U.S.A. (Director: George Roy Hill, Screenwriter: William Goldman) — The classic film starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman as the real life bank-robbing duo. Follow Butch and Sundance as their adventures take them from Colorado, through right here in Utah and down to Bolivia as they attempt to live their outlaw lives on their own terms. Cast: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katherine Ross. Winner of four Academy Awards. Presented in collaboration with Mountain Town Music and to be preceded by a free concert by Ghostowne, starting at 6:00 p.m.
Monday, July 17 ∙ Ogden City Amphitheatre
Shaun the Sheep Movie / United Kingdom (Directors and Screenwriters: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak) — When Shaun's mischief inadvertently leads to the Farmer being taken away from the farm, Shaun, Bitzer, and the flock have to go into the big city to rescue him, setting the stage for an epic adventure. Presented in collaboration with Ogden City Amphitheatre’s Monday Night Movies series. Doors open at 7:00pm.
Friday, July 21 ∙ City Park
Chasing Coral / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski) — Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at un unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery of the world. Presented in collaboration with the Park City Municipal Corporation and to be preceded by a discussion with the PCMC on sustainability programs in our community.
Wednesday, July 26 ∙ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
Sing Street / Ireland (Director and Screenwriter: John Carney) — A boy growing up in Dublin during the '80s escapes his strained family life and tough new school by starting a band to win the heart of a beautiful and mysterious girl. Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Mark McKenna. Screening to include a 1980s-themed lip sync contest.
Friday, August 4 ∙ City Park
Walking Out / U.S.A. (Directors and Screenwriters: Alex Smith, Andrew Smith) — A teenager journeys to Montana to hunt big game with his estranged father. The two struggle to connect, until a brutal encounter in the heart of the wilderness changes everything. Cast: Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, Bill Pullman, Alex Neustaedter, Lily Gladstone. Presented in collaboration with the Kimball Arts Festival.
Wednesday, August 9 ∙ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
Hunt for the Wilderpeople / New Zealand (Director and Screenwriter: Taika Waititi) — Ricky is a defiant young city kid who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle in the wild New Zealand bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their differences and work together to survive in this heartwarming adventure comedy. Cast: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley.
Wednesday, August 23 ∙ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
Meru / U.S.A. (Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chair Vasarhelyi) — Three elite mountain climbers sacrifice everything but their friendship as they struggle through heartbreaking loss and nature’s harshest elements to attempt the never-before-completed Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, the most coveted first ascent in the dangerous game of Himalayan big wall climbing. Winner of an Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Wednesday, August 30 ∙ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
Utah Community Choice Film - For the fourth year, Sundance Institute wants YOU to select the last film of the Summer Film Series. Through August 23, vote for your favorite 20th anniversary Sundance film: Vote onsite at screenings or at sundance.org/utah. The winning film will be announced in late August.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute's signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Boyhood, Swiss Army Man, Manchester By the Sea, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, Life, Animated, Sonita, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
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Editor’s Note: Photos and credit information for all films screening in the Summer Film Series can be found at sundance.org/photos. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of one-time reproduction and only when including proper image credits and/or ‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ Unauthorized use, alteration or reproduction of logos and photos is strictly prohibited.