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2020 Annual Report

SLFS Mission

We educate, advocate, and inform about – and through – cinema. We promote diversity through film exhibition and creation. We foster film talent and cultivate film appreciation and participation. Our programs and venus ensure that the potent ideas and voices of film are accessible to everyone in our community.

Land Acknowledgment

SLFS recognizes and honors the fact that our Broadway, Tower, and Studio Backlot Motor Cinema venues are located on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute, and Ute Tribes. The state of Utah is home to eight distinct tribal nations.

The Pandemic's Impact on SLFS

Through the unending hustle and fear, we’ve had 14 months to pine for our spaces and the joy they bring. For all the hurt the pandemic has caused, it has given us the gift of distance from our previous day-to-day and also given us new perspectives to celebrate our art form. We have worked harder than ever during these historic times. After our venue closures on March 13, 2020, we quickly created a lifeline to continue serving our cinematic mission. We devised a way to show a full schedule of the newest independent films online to SLFS patrons each and every day on Then we made our technology available coast-to-coast to aid 34 peer nonprofit movie theaters and a few local arts presenters on, so they too could earn COVID-closure revenue and survive. Assisting our peers has been an unplanned venture during the pandemic; our work on this robust project was needed desperately at home and around the country to ensure the health of arts organizations and independent cinemas.In September through October we partnered with Redman Studios & Stories to present Studio Backlot Motor Cinema on the westside so people could gather for the communal cinema experience safely from their cars. During one week in November we also featured Filméxico Cultural Tour virtually and planned three additional tours for Spring 2021. To accomplish all of this and to prepare for a new future, we pursued several fundraising opportunities thanks to a great deal of planning and implementation by our whole team. First, a challenge grant from the AHE-CI/Northern Trust inspired sustaining support from many patrons, Red Carpet Club members, volunteers, grantors, sponsors, and hundreds of individual donors during our Double the Love Campaign. We also applied for and were awarded Economic Injury Disaster Loans, CARES grants, and Paycheck Protection Program funding. Our leadership team worked on the national and local levels with congressional leaders to ensure motion picture cinemas were included in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. With all this incredible support, we will reemerge stronger, better, and ideally transformed.

Thank you for your continued support of SLFS. You are why the arts will stay strong in our community.

Core Values

Programming: Community Need, Artistic Merit, Festivals & Awards, Critical Merit

Operations: Quality Experience, Collaborative, Accessible & Inclusive, Educational

SLFS Venues

8 Screens and 1 Virtual Platform open 354 days in 2020.

@Broadway (6 Screens)

Open 72 days January 1 - March 13, 2020

SLC's home for independent, international, and documentary cinema.

@Tower (1 Screen)

Open 72 days January 1 - March 13, 2020

SLC's beloved 92-year-old theater offering contemporary and historic works of cinema.

@Home (1 Virtual Platform)

Online 228 days from March 25 - December 31, 2020, and ongoing through 2021

Motor Cinema (1 Screen)

17 days during September - October 2020 and ongoing May – Jun and Fall 2021

SLFS Numbers


Of the 204 SLFS films presented in 2020 pre-closure at the Broadway and Tower venues, at Studio Backlot Motor Cinema, and on SLFS@Home:

  • 99 featured directors, lead characters, and/or subjects that are female, BIPOC, and/or identify as LGBTQ+ 
  • 99 International films represented 30 countries
  • Broadway, Tower, and Studio Backlot Motor Cinema Venues hosted 75 in-person films and events 
  • hosted 181 virtual films/events, including Filméxico virtual Cultural Tour


All audiences

  • 36,755 attended 75 in-person films/events at venues and Studio Backlot Motor Cinema
  • 10,278 viewed 181 virtual films/events at, including Filméxico Cultural Tour
  • 47,033 Audience served in 2020

Free and Discounted

In-person Free and Discounted Admissions

  • 3,363 Free in-person
  • 2,497 Discounted in-person
  • 5,860 Total In-person Free and Discounted 

Virtual Free and Discounted Admissions

  • 897 Free virtual
  • 352 Discounted virtual
  • 1,249 Total Virtual Free and Discounted 

Total Free and Discounted Admissions

  • 4,260 Total Free, both in-person and virtual
  • 2,849 Total Discounted, both in-person and virtual
  • 7,109 Total Free and Discounted, both in-person and virtual

Educational Programs

1,383 attended 53 events as part of six educational programs, including in-person Tuesday free school screenings, a youth tour, Filméxico Cultural Tour five free filmmaker panels, UofU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 35 classes, and one special event, and Traveling While Black virtual short film.
  • 700 attended 35 Osher movie club classes virtually via
  • 328 viewed Traveling While Black free virtual short film:
  • 185 viewed five Filméxico Cultural Tour Filmmaker Panels
  • 100 attended 10 weekly school Tuesday free screenings January – March 2020 at Broadway
  • 50 attended one In-person Osher special event Sundance pre-view at Broadway
  • 20 admissions to one in-person Girl Scout Tour at Tower
  • (Media Accelerator Studio)

Eight filmmaker fellows continue to be mentored and supported through MAST. MAST leadership quickly pivoted to create our @home digital technology.  A MAST short film production, fostering six animators, made it to post-production and will hit the festival circuit in the winter of 2021.

SLFS Double the love matching campaign highlights

GOAL: 200K in four months to be matched by AHE/CI Trust; this goal was exceeded by $64,000 and extra donations were also matched

Total Raised = $528,000 Donors included: 1000+ individuals; six sponsoring businesses or organizations; 10 granting organizations.

SLFS@Home current films available announcement March 26, 2020:

“We have felt your love and concern since we closed in observance of the pandemic on March 13. We look forward to seeing you in person again just as soon as it’s prudent. Until then, we’ve found a way to try and solve two challenges:  Keeping an open income stream for our non-profit, and providing you with great SLFS-curated film you can enjoy from home. We’re still figuring this new plan out and it might be a bit bumpy. Just reach out and ask if you need something. We miss you terribly. Please take care and be safe.”  

SLFS Studio Backlot Motor Cinema

Launched Fall 2020

To bring people together despite restrictions, SLFS created the Studio Backlot Motor Cinema presented with Redman Movies and Stories on SLC’s westside (700 W 1075 S). Offering a 40-foot screen and DCP projection, this much-loved event truly is a BIG screen experience.

Continuing Spring & Fall 2021

Studio Backlot Motor Cinema Testimonial

“Our main interest in sponsoring is really just to give back… Last year the Motor Cinema was very impactful for us, and we want to say thanks. Molly spent the pandemic going through cancer treatment and all summer doing chemo, so we were on full lockdown. The Motor Cinema was literally the only activity that we felt comfortable doing outside our house and it really helped us make it through.” – Molly & Mark Law, Sponsors

Most of us don’t ordinarily think about going to the movies as a life affirming or life changing event. We consider moviegoing to be entertainment or an arts activity that gets us out of the house. Movies come and movies go, and we assume that there will always be another title coming soon and available when we feel like partaking. But this is not the way we think about movies at SLFS. We actually select each film with the awareness that it holds within it the possibility of changing, enriching, or positively altering someone’s life in ways we may never know about and could not possibly imagine. In addition to making sure that the best and most relevant film content finds its way to the people who need it, SLFS is absolutely dedicated to the magic of the communal, big screen experience.

SLFS knows that the full power of cinema can only truly occur when people are present with other people in the same physical space watching the same film and sharing common physical, mental and emotional experiences. Creating and nurturing the circumstances that allow this profound connection to happen between friends, neighbors, and strangers – even in an empty film studio lot on a late summer’s eve – is our passion, our mission and our impact. When our days are busy with logistics and budgets, it’s not always easy to remember that our goal is creating arts events that provide moments which are both transcendent yet vitally essential to our well-being. Knowing that for Mark and Molly and for thousands of others that SLFS enriches lives reminds us how SLFS has critical impact and why what we contribute matters.

Cultural tours on a digital screen

Our Cultural Tours remained in motion as we continued to collaborate with leaders from Consulates and service organizations in various communities to present an unprecedented number of Film Tours in record time while being ‘closed.’ Filméxico, L’Chaim Jewish Film Tour, Māsima Pacific Islands Film Tour, and Inspire.Empower.Action Climate Change Film Tour collectively included 14 in-house-productions of artist discussions on topics such as afro-Mexican identity, immigration, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the environmental challenges of our planet. We added Cultural Tour elements never thought of in pre-pandemic times: Zoom cocktail parties, panel discussions, and trivia games! We produced pre-screening virtual panels as part of the Sundance Film Festival that included conversations with female film directors in Mexico and the future of film exhibition for independent directors.


As a 2021 Sundance Satellite, SLFS produced and presented a free, international panel, Women and Mexican Cinema including the filmmakers of Filméxico opening night film Identifying Features – producer Astrid Rondero and director Fernanda Valadez – along with other Filméxico directors.

Identifying Features Filméxico opening night film Testimonial

 “Oh my goodness. That has to be the most powerful film I’ve ever seen.  Beautiful cinematography, even more brutal because of the soft focus, the muffled dialogue, the soundtrack, the emotion, the stoicism, the blank faces of the young men. I could go on. So much to digest. Thank you so much. I am truly moved.” -Paul Vincent Bernard, SLFS- U of U, Osher Lifelong Learning Movie Club member.

SLFS Re-Opening Plans for Fall 2021

Always keeping a close eye on the health and sustainability of our organization, along with the wishes and needs of our lovely patrons, we have set Fall 2021 as our reopening goalpost. This will give us the summer to work on our plans while also giving the staff breathing room for their health and wellness. July and August have historically been our lowest-attended months, so perhaps by fall, once you’ve attended all the outdoor events, festivals, and celebrations our wonderful city has to offer, we can entice you back to experience the big screen as it was intended, full of images from cinematic artists who build empathy, understanding, and a window into other worlds and ideas that improve our community, our wellness, and our planet.

SLFS 2020 Financial Summary


Program Services$327,996
Individual contributions$253,715
Grants and public funding (15 grants/foundations)$999,298
In Kind $50,140



Program Services $1,277,812
Fund Raising $393,130
Management and general $430,294


Thank you!

We thank you for your continued investment in the future of SLFS. The community spirit we’ve seen from patrons, donors, sponsors, board members, volunteers, and staff has been the guiding force in keeping SLFS so strong and our programs so meaningful. Your interest in what’s next, your immense support, and your concern for our organizational good health are felt on a daily basis by each of us. Thank you. Please stay tuned to our social media for updates on enhancements to our facilities and keep watching movies.