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Sundance Institute brings free summer screenings to Utah

Sundance Institute
A crowd gathers to watch a previous outdoor Local Lens screening in Park City

A new free film screening series from Sundance Institute will give Utahns a second chance to see some of the films featured in the 2024 Sundance Festival.

The series, Local Lens, will showcase 10 films in various Park City and Salt Lake City locations between July 17-21.

“For us, it is an opportunity to give back to the local audience and to connect with the community through our love of independent film,” Basil Tsiokos, senior programmer for Sundance, said.

Tsiokos said this festival is an opportunity for local film lovers to come see some of the films they might’ve missed in the festival back in January or to see a film they really loved again before it hits movie theaters or streaming services.

Tsiokos said another goal of Local Lens is to show the community that Sundance Institute is a year-round organization, rather than just the festival.

The series will offer both indoor and outdoor screenings. In Park City, the Ray Theater and City Park will host these screenings. The Salt Lake City screenings are being shown at Red Butte Garden, Broadway Centre Cinemas and the Gallivan Center. There will also be screenings at the Megaplex at Valley Fair Mall in West Valley City.

Nine of the films to be shown were pulled from the 2024 Sundance Festival, and the final screening will be the Academy Award-winning 2013 documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” which follows the lives of several backup singers.

This is in celebration of the 40th year of the festival. Tsiokos said they polled audience members and asked them to choose one film from each decade of the festival they could vote on. “20 Feet from Stardom” won that vote and will be shown at the Gallivan Center to wrap up the series.

In addition to the screenings, at least four of the films will have a representative present for a Q&A. Tsiokos said these representatives have not been announced yet, but could be filmmakers, producers or actors involved in the creation of the film.

A filmmaking workshop dedicated to honing project pitches will be included in the series, taking place on July 20 at the Megaplex at Valley Fair.

Tsiokos described this event as having three parts. First, filmmakers will be able to pitch a project idea to a panel of experts. If they are selected, they will be given three minutes to talk about their idea and get advice from those experts on not only the idea, but also the pitch itself. There will also be an “Ask Me Anything” portion with Tsiokos and Eugene Hernandez, the festival director, during which the filmmakers can ask questions surrounding the festival’s submission process, programming and more.

“So if there are filmmakers that are at Weber, then it’s a perfect opportunity to come to that event and meet other filmmakers as well, which is also really important,” Tsiokos said.

The film lineup, as well as the reservations for free tickets can be found on their website. While it’s fairly easy to show up and have a spot, Tsiokos recommends reserving the tickets in advance.

“We really encourage folks to come out and we really love to have students out to screenings as well, just because we love to build the next generation of film lovers to go to Sundance as well,” Tsiokos said.

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Megan Swann
Megan Swann, Culture Editor

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