The Park City Film Music Festival is ready to kick off its second season this week. Festival founder and co-director Leslie Harlow promises that this year's edition will be bigger and better than last year's.
"It's going to be longer, with more films, and in a more central location," Harlow said.
The festival opens Thursday and runs for 11 days. "This gives us a chance to show more films and do some other things as well," she said.
Besides screening more than 50 feature-length films, documentaries and shorts, the festival will also have a couple of live-music showcases. "The emphasis at this festival is on film music, so music plays a significant role here," Harlow explained.
The thrust of the festival, which is the first of its kind in the United States, is on the impact music has on movies. "What we're looking at is if the music embraces the film," said Harlow. "So much is involved in the making of a film, and music is so critical to films."
All the films will be judged, and the winners will be awarded prizes in different categories. That will take place on the last day of the festival, Jan. 30. "We don't look at the quality of a film because the budgets of the films we're showing are so different. We judge on the basis of the film score. And the music doesn't have to be for full orchestra. There are some beautifully done and performed scores that only use one or two instruments."
The festival will also offer a daylong course on the film-music industry. That takes place Saturday in Dumke Recital Hall in David Gardner Hall on the University of Utah campus.
Presented by Film Music Magazine editor Mark Northam, the seminar will give attendees a solid glimpse into the film-music business and offer advice on getting a foothold in Hollywood. "Mark gives this seminar all over the country," Harlow said. "We're fortunate that he's able to come to Park City. When he did the seminar in Los Angeles recently, it sold out." The Salt Lake event will be limited to 123 participants.
The festival has a new venue this year. All the films will be shown in the festival screening room on the second level of the Park City Main Street Mall. "I'm thrilled that we're there," Harlow said. "We have a great central location, right across the street from the Egyptian Theatre, where Sundance is."
Last year's festival was held at the Canyons resort outside of Park City. The new venue gives film aficionados a greater choice and a better opportunity to see films. "This will be great. People will be able to choose what they want to see and at which festival."
She said that last year a portion of the audience at the screenings were people who couldn't get into Sundance. "We can live up to our new motto now, 'Movies You Can Get Into.' "
In addition to the Main Street Mall venue, where movies will be shown daily during the festival from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Harlow will be bringing a number of the films to Salt Lake City and screening them at Dumke Recital Hall. Films will be shown there all day on Jan. 24 and 26, and in the evenings on Jan. 22 and 28. (For a complete screening schedule along with a brief synopsis and rating for each movie, log on to the festival Web site at www.parkcityfilmmusicfestival.com)
Harlow and her husband, festival co-director Russell Harlow, are avowed film buffs. She said the two of them had an amazing time screening the films that were submitted. "Sometimes we were excited by what we saw, and sometimes we were disappointed. But we love movies, so it was a lot of fun."
One film Harlow recommends is the documentary "Lubbock Lights," detailing the musical heritage of Lubbock, Texas. The film centers on the local group The Flatlanders. "What a blast it was to have it come in," she said. "It promotes some musicians I've admired for years."
The documentary has a personal connection to Harlow, who is originally from Lubbock. She was the violist in a string quartet on "Truckload of Art," one of the songs featured on the film. "That was recorded 30 years ago when I was a student at Texas Tech."
Another documentary closely associated with Harlow is "Life on Jupiter," chronicling the life of Jens Nygaard, founder and longtime conductor of the Jupiter Symphony in New York City, who passed away in 2001. "Many of the musicians who come to (summer's Park City International Music Festival) have soloed with the Jupiter Symphony under Jens," Harlow said. They include violinists Charles Libove, Arturo Delmoni, Charles Castleman, Paul Rosenthal and pianist Doris Stevenson. "I like to see dedicated musicians like Jens get the recognition they deserve. This is a wonderful film."
Harlow said many of the filmmakers, composers and actors will be present during the festival to introduce their films and be available afterward to talk about them. "It's really cool the kind of atmosphere we have here."
And she admitted that the film-music festival is not a career move for her. "It's just another way to be involved in the arts." There is also another perk. "I've always dreamed of making a film. And this festival lets me enjoy the process of making a film without actually having to make one. It's stimulating, creative and fun."
If you go
What: Park City Film Music Festival
Where: Screening Room, Park City Main Street Mall (333 Main)
When: Thursday through Jan. 30
How much: $10 per film, $30 for an all-day pass (Summit County and Park City residents, $5 per film)
Also . . .
Where: Dumke Recital Hall, David Gardner Hall, University of Utah
When: Saturday, Jan. 24, 26 and 28
How much: $10 per film, $5 for students, $30 for an all-day pass
Also . . .
What: "Breaking Into the Business: Getting Your Music Into Film and TV in Today's Competitive Marketplace," seminar with Mark Northam
Where: Dumke Recital Hall
When: Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
How much: $125