The Park City Filmmakers Showcase is back after taking a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 issues.
The free event features 14 films created by 13 Utah-based directors and kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12 at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library.
Curator Jill Orschel said moving this year’s showcase from fall to spring is a significant change, symbolized by the apple blossoms on the event’s promotional poster, designed by her son, EJ
“The apple trees on the poster mean a lot because I know the apple trees will bloom when people walk into Santy Auditorium,” Orschel said. “Spring, like apple blossoms, is metaphorical. It means a new beginning and hope comes when new flowers open after we have all been sheltered for so long.
Additionally, the first Park City Filmmakers Showcase took place in the spring, Orschel said.
“Our very first showcase was in April 2005,” she said. “Then we skipped a year, and we skipped the last two years during the pandemic, but we’re continuing and moving forward.”
This year’s showcase will feature 14 films from 13 directors, according to Orschel.
“Nine are from Park City,” she said. “We also have filmmakers from Salt Lake City, one from southern Utah and one from Provo.”
More than 20 people who worked on the films will be in attendance, Orschel said.
“Some of them are Park City students in film school or have gone off to work in the film world, so it’s like a homecoming,” she said.
Five filmmakers identify as women and eight as men, Orschel said.
“We also have four film educators and one filmmaker with a disability,” she said. “We also have a filmmaker from Korea and one from Australia.”
A filmmaker, Stan Clawson, who teaches filmmaking at Salt Lake Community College, has two shorts, “Hairball of Glam” and “Blind Contours,” as part of the festival, Orschel said.
“He teaches filmmaking, is on crews and makes his own films,” she said. “I think he’s more sensitive to the world in a way that others aren’t. I think that’s his gift because his work is nuanced. There’s a complexity to the themes he explores. But there is also a freedom of spirit that is refreshing. I am delighted that people see his work.
Themes for this year’s programming include animals, food, COVID, shelter, art, culture, religions, identity, existentialism, self-discovery and the future, a said Orschel.
“We have eight documentaries or documentaries, five scripted fiction films, one animation and one music video,” she said.
Most movies are 10 minutes or less, and the longest clocks are close to 20 minutes, Orschel said.
“Any of these movies could get into a top film festival,” she said.
Since its inception, the Park City Filmmakers Showcase has never tried to be a film festival, Orschel said.
“We always wanted to be a home for local filmmakers to feel warm and welcome,” she said. “We never wanted them to feel like it’s a competition because it’s such a competitive world right now. It’s so hard to get into festivals; it doesn’t matter who you are .”
Orschel has noticed how much filmmakers have improved their craft since 2005.
“The great thing is that the movies that are being made today are better than they were in the past, and there are more movies being made than ever before,” she said.
Park City Movie Executive Director Katharine Wang enjoys partnering with Orschel on the showcase and looks forward to an in-person event this year.
“We’re thrilled to bring the showcase back for its 15th iteration after taking a two-year hiatus,” she said. “We didn’t want to pivot to make this experience virtual because one of the reasons Jill started it was to create these opportunities for people to meet other people within this robust industry in our state for the network, engagement and possible future collaborations.”
Orschel said she was committed to the Park City filmmakers showcase, whatever its future form.
“I would love it to become a real professional platform for filmmakers, but I’ll also be happy and thrilled if it remains a grassroots event,” she said.