Salt Lake Community College and the Sundance Film Festival reached a major milestone in 2015, as the Grand Theatre hosts Sundance film screenings for the first time.
The Sundance Film Festival is showing 19 films this year at the Grand Theatre. 10 different screenings were held this past weekend, and nine more screenings are scheduled between Friday, Jan. 30 and Sunday, Feb. 1.
“I think it’s exciting that we are a sponsor of the event and we’re very excited to be partnering with Sundance,” says Richard Scott, former Grand Theatre director and current interim dean of Arts and Communication at SLCC.
Scott explains that preliminary discussions about adding the Grand Theatre as a Sundance venue took place over a decade ago.
“I had talked to Sundance back in 2001 when I first came to the college because I came down from the Egyptian Theatre in Park City and had a working Sundance relationship at that point. I really just brought them in to take a look. I knew they weren’t ready to expand their market share in Salt Lake City,” says Scott.
The Sundance festival has been held annually in Park City. Over the years, the festival has expanded in popularity and attendance, opening new venues in Salt Lake City and Ogden. It was not until a few years ago when the Sundance Institute engaged in plans with the college to make the Grand Theatre its newest venue in Salt Lake City.
Catherine Mortimer, a film production major, is looking forward to attending the “Don Verdean” screening at the Grand Theatre this coming Saturday.
“When I heard they were doing that, I was way excited because I hated driving up to Park City every year,” says Mortimer. “So seeing that it was not only so much closer because you can also go to the Broadway Towers, but since it was at my campus, that was super convenient, I was way excited for it.”
The Grand Theatre seats 1,100 people per screening and will open its doors to about a total of 20,000 film viewers during the duration of the festival.
The Grand Theatre was part of South High School from 1931 to 1988. A year after the closure of South High School, Salt Lake Community College decided to buy the property from the Salt Lake School District. Today it is used for many events, from plays to concerts, drawing attention to its audience for its amazing conservation and uniqueness.
Scott mentions that one reason why the Grand is a great location for the festival is that it is out of the exact downtown location where you would struggle with parking, yet it is still centrally located. “Coming from south, west, east or north, you’re off the freeway,” Scott adds.
Conveniently, the student parking area is open to all those who attend the festival.
According to campus parking services, the faculty and staff parking spots will only be opened to those who have a faculty/staff parking permit. Individuals who park at a meter will be required to pay. For those who don’t have a car, TRAX and bus service is fairly close to the theatre.
The college, in partnership with the Sundance Festival, gave away free tickets for films at the Grand Theatre. Students entered a drawing and were randomly selected.
Scott adds that he hopes to see student involvement down the road. “I think you’ll see next year a whole lot more with lectures, workshops and student involvement,” he says.
Mortimer said she enjoys working on documentaries and would definitely like to become involved in submitting some work for the festival in the coming years.
“Oh yeah, definitely, that’s definitely something I would like to do,” says Mortimer.