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Civic Theatre hosts Summer of Sundance

The series runs from through Thursday, August 29th.

Submitted by Jason Asbell, Programming Director, Nelson Civic Theatre

As the Civic Theatre moves forward in their development of a media arts centre to offer a wider array of community programs and diverse cinemathey are,once again, finishing off the summer in style with the ‘Summer of Sundance’.  

Selecting film from this year’s Sundance Festival offers the theatre the opportunity to share a full week of lesser known critically acclaimed film. 

The series runs from through Thursday, August 29th.

When major industry awards ceremonies all too routinely shut out diversity, it is always refreshing to turn to Sundance, which has elevated independent filmmaking and is actively committed to diversity and innovation. The Sundance Institute, founded by Robert Redford in 1978, is committed to the growth of independent artists. In 1985, the Sundance Institute assumed management of the fledgling United States Film Festival, which had been experiencing financial problems, and the rest is history.

However, when it comes to picking the films that will round out the festival’s slate, festival director Caroline Libresco is clear: This is not a numbers game.

“Our philosophy is, ‘Let’s show the full range of what we see that’s out there.’ We’re always thinking about range, the range of topic, the range of style,” Libresco said.

“I think there are so many variables and elements that we are considering. Gender is one of probably a hundred, to be perfectly honest. We would never make a decision based on a quota, ever. The number-one thing that is on the table in our conversations as a programming team is, ‘Is this filmmaker achieving what she or he has set out to do?,’ ‘What is she or he trying to do with this movie?’ and then ‘Is she fulfilling that? Is she really achieving it in a way that works?’ It’s not about topic. It’s not about provenance. It’s not about gender, race, or ethnicity.”

With that said, some of this year’s best films , period, happen to be directed by women so it’s no surprise to see that at the 2019 festival, women directed 46 percent of the films in competition, representing 56 films across four categories. The Civic will be showing Chinese American Lu Lu Wang’s comedy drama, ‘The Farewell’, Joanna Hogg’s, ‘The Souvenir’, and Penny Lane’s documentary, ‘Hail, Satan?’

You will get a chance to see more titles from 2019’s Sundance festival as they get theatrical distribution over the course of the year, but for now, get ready to see six titles. Along with the above mentioned films from the current year’s festival offerings we will also see  ‘Last Black Man in San Francisco’, ‘Maiden’, and ‘Apollo 11’. The series will be rounded out with  four independent classics that had their premieres at Sundance Film Festival from years past , ‘Reservoir Dogs’ ~ 1992, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ ~ 2006, ‘Blood Simple’ ~ 1985, and ‘Memento’ ~ 2001. 

Also on the Civic slate is a very special screening of ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ - in honour of its 50th anniversary this year. What better way to celebrate the festival that was started by Robert Redford, the Sundance Kid himself, then with a screening of this classic film?  This screening will be FREE for Civic members, but you can also sign up for membership on the spot to take advantage of this perk.

This year the Summer of Sundance is offering a pass for $60 which allows entrance to all films and early entrance to ensure you get your favorite seat.  

The remainder of the schedule includes:

‘Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid’ – Monday Aug. 26 – 7 p.m.

  • Wyoming, early 1900s. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid are the leaders of a band of outlaws. After a train robbery goes wrong they find themselves on the run with a posse hard on their heels. Their solution – escape to Bolivia.

‘Apollo 11’ – Tuesday August 27 – 7 p.m.

  • A look at the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon led by commander Neil Armstrong and pilots Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

‘ Blood Simple’ – Tuesday Aug. 27 – 9 p.m.

  • A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

‘Maiden’ – Wednesday Aug. 28 – 7 p.m.

  • This is a second showing

‘Hail Satan’ – Wednesday Aug. 28 – 9 p.m.

  • A look at the quick rise and influence of the controversial religious group known as The Satanic Temple.

‘ The Farewell’ – Thursday Aug.29 – 7 p.m.

  • This is a second showing

‘ Memento’ – Thursday Aug. 29 – 9:15 p.m.

  • A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife’s murderer.