Support SLFS here or join the Red Carpet Club here. | Music May starts May 3. Get tix now.  | Troll 2. May 30. Get tix now.

Stanley Kubrick & Akira Kurosawa

Masters of cinema! KUBRICK & KUROSAWA. March 2024. Every Friday and Saturday. See these classics on the big screen. Get tix now -> www.slfstix.org 

MARCH 1: 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
MARCH 2: YOJIMBO
MARCH 8: RAN
MARCH 9: FULL METAL JACKET
MARCH 15: DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB
MARCH 16: SEVEN SAMURAI
MARCH 22: STRAY DOGS
MARCH 23: A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
MARCH 29: THE KILLING
MARCH 30: RASHOMON

Czech That Film

March 26 - March 27

CZECH THAT FILM IS BACK

Czech That Film series is a carefully curated selection of recent Czech cinema. Salt Lake Film Society and the Czech Consulate is excited to be bringing this event back to Broadway this year.  

ADMISSIONS

INDIVIDUAL FILM TICKETS
$12 per film screening
 
PASSES
$40 All Access Pass includes access to all Czech That Film in person films and events.
 
All tickets and film passes are available at SLFStix.org.

VISITING GUEST

Jaroslav Olša Jr. is the author of books and articles on history, culture and literature of Asia and Africa and historical relations of the non-European countries with the Czech Lands. He has also widely published about science fiction and edited over a dozen anthologies of Czech and international science fiction. He has published in a wide-range of publications such as Czech edition of National Geographic, Nový Orient (New Orient), Světová literatura (World Literature), Mezinárodní politika (Foreign Policy), Mezinárodní vztahy (International Relations). He was also a curator of art exhibitions, member of the jury of 2011 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, and initiated numerous cultural exchanges and activities.

FILM SCHEDULE

Tues March 26

6:30 pm

Bod obnovy (Restore Point)

(1 hr 55 min)

9 pm

Bratři (Brothers)

(2 hr 15 min)

Wed March 27

7 pm

Úsvit (We Have Never Been Modern)

(1 h 57 min)

9 pm

Přišla v noci (She Came At Night)

(1 hr 25 min)

 

FILMS

Listed alphabetically by title. All films are in Czech with English subtitles. 

BOD OBNOVY (RESTORE POINT)

TUESDAY, MARCH 26 | 6:30 PM

1 hr 55 min | 2023 | Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia | Not Rated | Czech, Slovak | Feature

Directed by Robert Hloz

Set in central Europe during 2041, a female detective investigates the case of a murdered couple where a restoration team is able to bring one of them back to life.

BRATŘI (BROTHERS)

TUESDAY, MARCH 26 | 9 PM

2 hr 15 min | 2023 | Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia | Not Rated | Czech | Feature

Directed by Tomáš Mašín

In October 1953, five friends decide to leave communist Czechoslovakia and get to West Berlin. They manage to cross the guarded border but are soon detected in East German territory. Unknowingly, they initiate the largest armed manoeuvre since WW2; twenty thousand German Police and Soviet Army members are mobilised, all because of five teenage boys.

PŘIŠLA V NOCI (SHE CAME AT NIGHT)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27 | 9 PM

1 hr 25 min | 2023 | Czech Republic | Not Rated | Czech | Feature

Directed by Tomás Pavlícek, Jan Vejnar

When a couple of thirty-somethings let the mother of one of them cross the threshold into their home, they have no idea that they have just entered a kind of purgatory. Their peaceful life is slowly transformed into a chaotic wreck. Valerie, a well-groomed woman in her sixties, is an energetic diva who little by little conquers not only the space of the apartment, but also the minds of its occupants. As the creeping home invasion gains force, certainties are undermined and the boundaries of privacy are demolished. Are moms and mothers-in-law always right? Do they have good intentions toward us? And isn’t that why they are the scariest monsters of them all?

ÚSVIT (WE HAVE NEVER BEEN MODERN)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27 | 7 PM

1 hr 57 min | 2023 | Czech Republic, Slovakia | Not Rated | Czech | Feature

Directed by Matěj Chlupáček

Helena, is about to give birth and face a rosy future in a modern city, as the pregnant wife of an important factory manager. However, all her illusions soon perish, as the dead body of a newborn intersex baby is found in the middle of their factory.

Presenting Black Cinema

Presenting Black Cinema is a series in February to spotlight the unique and varied experience of black cinema.

During February we will have films opening on Sunday for limited runs throughout the week. These films include such varied genres as documentaries, dramas, romance, and horror.

Check out the schedule below. Showtimes May Vary. Tickets will be on sale soon at www.slfstix.org.

Feb 4: I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
FEB 11: TIME
FEB 18: LOVE AND BASKETBALL
FEB 25: GANJA AND HESS

Filméxico

12TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL EVENT

Filméxico kicks off in November with an exciting lineup that highlights both acclaimed filmmakers and emerging voices from contemporary Mexican cinema. We will be returning to in person screenings at the Broadway starting November 9 – November 16.

Filméxico 2023 lineup will feature prominent works by indigenous filmmakers, as well as seasoned, new and local talent. We will also present a series of panel discussions with Mexican filmmakers, Utah community leaders and cultural binational specialists and allies.

ADMISSIONS

INDIVIDUAL FILM TICKETS
$12 per film screening
 
PASSES
$60 All Access Pass includes access to all Filméxico in person and online films and events. Available now here.
$30 Online Pass includes access to all Filméxico online films and panels. 
 
All tickets and film passes are redeemable at SLFStix.org.

Join us for our opening night live conversation with director Luis F. Puente, following a screening of the short film I Have No Tears and I Must Cry (Sin lágrimas para llorar) on Thursday November 9.  The shorts program which features four acclaimed films  begins at 7:00 pm with the live conversation panel afterward.  

We will also have a live panel following Home Is Somewhere Else (Mi Casa Está en Otra Parte) on Thursday November 16. 

GUEST FILMMAKER: Luis F. Puente

Born in Mexico and emigrated to the US during his childhood, Luis Fernando Puente studied Media Arts at Brigham Young University. His recent work includes La Luna y El Colibrí, which participated in numerous film festivals and won multiple awards including the Mesquite Award for Best Texas Short Film at Cine Festival in San Antonio, Texas.

November 10 - November 16

These FREE pre-recorded panels will be available online at SLFSathome.org.  These panels discussions are in English and Spanish with subtitles.  Available starting Nov. 10 – Nov. 16.

Vaychiletik, Nyanga, 3 Days 3 Years: The San Cristóbal de las Casas Documentary Film School team, join this exciting conversation about the immense possibilities of community and collaboration, and three true stories of the Mayan and AfroMexican people driving the resistance and the change.

Participants:

  • Nicolás Défossé, Florencia Gómez, Juan J Pérez and Medhin Tewolde.
  • Moderator: José Manzo
Free Panel Available Here 

Home Is Somewhere Else: A moving conversation about what is life around the undocumented experience, the power of stories that speak to universal needs and emotions, and the amazing crew of over 70 people who crafted this beautifully illustrated and 2023 Ariel winner for Best Animated Film.

Participants:

    • Carlos Haggerman and Jorge Villalobos
    • Moderator: Ciriac Álvarez
FREE Panel Available Here

The Train and The Peninsula: A unique team of experts, gathered exclusively for Filméxico, discuss what does the future look like for the communities this trail project has already cut across, as well as what can be done about a notion of progress that seems imposed on those who will be affected the most by its outcome.

Participants:

  • Juan Carlos Bravo, Abelardo de la Cruz, Genner Llanes-Ortiz
  • Moderator: Daniel Hernández.
FREE Panel Available Here

FILM SCHEDULE

Learn more about each film below. Most films will be available in theater or virtually on slfsathome.org.  

Films in theater start Thursday Nov. 10.  Some films will be available virtually starting Friday Nov. 11.

Thurs Nov 9

7 PM

Nyanga (20 min)

3 Days, 3 Years / 3 Días, 3 Años (30 min)

+

Sweatshop Girl / Chica de Fábrica (16 min)

+

I Have No Tears and I Must Cry / Sin lágrimas para llorar (13 min)

+

Live panel with I Have No Tears and I Must Cry director Luis F. Puente (30 min)

Fri Nov 10

7 PM

Sweatshop Girl / Chica de Fábrica (16 min)

+

The Bone Woman / Huesera (90 min)

Sat Nov 11

7 PM

Tótem (95 min)

Sun Nov 12

7 PM

Nyanga (20 min)

+

Courage / Coraje (90 min)

Mon Nov 13

7 PM

3 Days, 3 Years / 3 Días, 3 Años (30 min)

+

No Son Horas de Olvidar (76 min)

Tues Nov 14

7 PM

I Have No Tears and I Must Cry / Sin lágrimas para llorar
(13 min)

+

Dreams / Vaychiletik (83 min)

9 PM

Vaychiletik Panel discussion (Pre-recorded) (53 min)

Wed Nov 15

7 PM


The Train and The Península / El Tren y La Península
(88 min)

 

9 PM

The Train and The Península / El Tren y La Península  Panel discussion (Pre-recorded) (47 min)

Thurs Nov 16

7 PM

Home Is Somewhere Else / Mi Casa Está en Otra Parte (87 min)

+

Live Panel Discussion (30 min)

FILMS

Listed alphabetically by title. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles. 

THE BONE WOMAN

HUESERA

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10 | 7 PM

WILL SCREEN WITH SWEATSHOP GIRL (CHICA DE FÁBRICA)

93 min | 2022 | Mexico, Peru | Not Rated | Spanish | Feature

Directed by Michelle Garza Cervera

It should be the happiest time in Valeria’s life. She and her husband, Raul, have finally seen one of their longtime dreams come true: Valeria is pregnant. At first, everything seems perfect. Gradually, though, her mood darkens. With motherhood upon her, Valeria can’t shake off heavy self-doubt and a pervasive dread, the latter stemming from visions of spider-like presences and other possibly supernatural threats, all of which may be the work of an entity known as “La Huesera.” Hoping to confront these demons, she reconnects with the old, more carefree life she once gave up for Raul, including rekindling an old flame with her first love, Octavia.

COURAGE

CORAJE

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 | 7 PM

WILL SCREEN WITH NYANGA

90 min | 2022 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish | Feature

Directed by Rubén Rojo Aura

In old age, an actress faces the return home of her son, while her career is threatened by imminent blindness. A fiction based on the story of the protagonists themselves.

DREAMS

VAYCHILETIK

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14 | 7 PM

WILL SCREEN WITH I HAVE NO TEARS, AND I MUST CRY (Sin lágrimas para llorar

83 min | 2021 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish | Documentary Feature

Directed by Juan Javier Pérez

Through his dreams, José received a gift given by the gods. A gift that brings consequences. Now that he is at a mature age in life, José would like to rest, but he is not allowed. Vaychiletik explores this fierce yet beautiful reality, forged from the dreams of the Mayan people of Mexico.

HOME IS SOMEWHERE ELSE

MI CASA ESTÁ EN OTRA PARTE

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16 | 7 PM

WILL SCREEN WITH LIVE PANEL AFTER THE FILM

87 min | 2022 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish, English | Documentary Feature

Directed by Carlos Hagerman, Jorge Villalobos

Fully animated documentary that narrates three stories which share similar fears, hopes and emotions around living the undocumented experience: Jasmine, an 11 y/o US citizen who lives afraid of her undocumented parents being deported; Sisters Evelyn and Elizabeth -a US citizen and an undocumented immigrant respectively- separated by their different migratory status; and Lalo, who was deported from his home state of Utah to Mexico at 23 y/o and since then has become an advocate to this generation of returnees and deported Mexicans through his spoken word poetry.

I HAVE NO TEARS, AND I MUST CRY

SIN LÁGRIMAS PARA LLORAR

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9 & TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14 | 7 PM

WILL SCREEN ON OPENING NIGHT WITH NYANGA, 3 DAYS, 3 YEARS (3 DÍAS, 3 AÑOS), & SWEATSHOP GIRL (CHICA DE FÁBRICA), ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 9 & DREAMS (VAYCHILETIK) ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 14 

Live Panel following the Shorts program on Friday November 9. 

13 min | 2022 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish | Short

Directed by Luis Fernando Puente

Maria Luisa is ready to plan her life in the US after almost a two year wait for her greencard to be aproved by the Department of Homeland Security, but when she and her husband, Jorge, are confronted about an error in her paperwork by an immigration officer, Maria Luisa is left to decide how to move forward in this seemingly endless limbo.

NO SON HORAS DE OLVIDAR

NO SON HORAS DE OLVIDAR

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13 | 7 PM

WILL SCREEN WITH 3 DAYS, 3 YEARS (3 DÍAS, 3 AÑOS)

76 min | 2020 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish | Documentary Feature

Directed by David Castañon Medina

Jorge is afraid. It seems inevitable that Juana will end up forgetting him because she has lost her identity on two occasions: the first, forced by the dictatorship in Chile; the last one, due to an Alzheimer’s outbreak. Anticipating the imminent disappearance from the world of his companion, Jorge investigates her disrupted memory through music, writings and images; willing to find the remnants of a life, the remnants of his love.

NYANGA

NYANGA

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9 & SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 | 7 PM

WILL SCREEN WITH THE SHORTS PROGRAM ON THURSDAY NOVEMBER 9 & COURAGE (CORAJE) ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 12

20 min | 2023 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish | Documentary Feature

Directed by Medhin Tewolde Serrano

During colonial times, Nyanga was kidnapped off the coast of Africa, brought to Mexico, and enslaved. Based on historical facts and using shadow theatre techniques and hand cinema, ‘Nyanga’ is a tribute to the resistance against colonial chains.

SWEATSHOP GIRL

CHICA DE FÁBRICA

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9 & FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10 | 7 PM

WILL SCREEN WITH THE SHORTS PROGRAM ON THURSDAY NOVEMBER 9 & THE BONE WOMAN (HUESERA) ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 10

16 min | 2022 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish | Short

Directed by Selma Cervantes

Inés works as a seamstress in a sweatshop where pregnancy tests are periodically administered. When she becomes pregnant, she is sure that her condition will get her fired. She does everything she can to keep it a secret.

THE TRAIN AND THE PENINSULA

EL TREN Y LA PENÍNSULA

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15 | 7 PM

88 min | 2023 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish, English, Mayan | Documentary Feature

Directed by Sky Richards, Andreas Kruger Foncerrada

It is a deep dive into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as the 1500 km railroad megaproject called “Tren Maya” is being built. A cinematic journey along the projected route of the train takes us on a thrilling ride across the Peninsula. The incisive and transparent testimonies of the inhabitants of the Peninsula weave together a collective story and reveal a human landscape full of vitality and wisdom that exposes the clash between different ways of imagining progress. An urgent film that unveils the worlds hidden behind the tourist paradise that everyone knows, delving into the ideological and territorial battles unfolding in the ancestral land of the Maya.

3 DAYS 3 YEARS

3 DÍAS, 3 AÑOS

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9 & MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13 | 7 PM

WILL SCREEN WITH THE SHORTS PROGRAM ON THURSDAY NOVEMBER 9 & NO SON HORAS DE OLVIDAR ON MONDAY NOVEMBER 13

84 min | 2022 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish | Documentary Feature

Directed by Florencia Gómez Sántiz

Elena, a Mayan Tzotzil woman from San Andrés Larráinzar, Chiapas, is challenged by the uses and customs of her people when an almost entirely male community assembly appoints her as a municipal trustee. As an authority, she introduces us to the complexity of the system of socio-political organization in San Andrés. During her term of office, the traditional practice of masculinity begins to be questioned.

TÓTEM

TÓTEM

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11 | 7 PM

95 min | 2023 | Mexico | Not Rated | Spanish | Feature

Directed by Lila Avilés

TÓTEM is a choral film about life. Seven-year-old Sol spends the day at her grandfather’s home, helping her aunts Nuri and Alejandra with the preparations for a surprise party they are throwing for Sol’s father, Tonatiuh. As daylight fades, a strange and chaotic atmosphere takes over, shattering the bonds that hold a family together. Sol will come to understand that her world is about to change dramatically, embracing the essence of letting go and cherishing the breath of life.

Tower Of Terror at Broadway

Tower Of Terror is back! Every weekend starting Sept. 8, we will be featuring horror films that will have you looking over your shoulder. While the Tower is under renovation, this year we will be screening these seasonal classics at Broadway Centre Cinemas.

Don't Forget... Invincible Czars 9/6 & 9/7

Grab tickets while you can for our kick off of the spooky season with the Invincible Czars! Celebrating their 20th anniversary, we are excited to have these amazing artists play their original scores to two of the silent era’s most influential masterpieces.

See these silent film classics with a live accompaniment score at the Broadway starting at 7:00 pm:
THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920) – Sept 6
NOSFERATU (1922) – Sept 7

Get tickets now – > www.slfstix.org 

Tower Theatre Update

TOWER THEATRE THE NEXT 100 YEARS

The Tower Theatre won't be open in 2023 but read below for our planning update.

Our deep gratitude goes out to all who have inquired about and have continued to love the Tower. We know how important the Tower is to cinematic preservation and consequently to the 9th and 9th community. Throughout 2022, and into this year, your continued support in attending SLFS films and events at our Broadway location, and your donations in support of our mission to exhibit, create, and preserve the art of cinema, has been a key success factor in building a future for the Tower. We know that many of you feared the Tower might close permanently. We’re happy to say that SLFS is 100% committed to the preservation of this unique and wonderful gem of a venue. 

PURCHASE OF THE TOWER

Tori signing resized smaller
Tori Baker, CEO/President, signs for ownership of The Tower Theatre in December 2022.

SLFS has been operating the Tower Theatre since we formed our nonprofit 23 years ago. As a donor-supported cinema, we continued with relatively short leases which renewed repeatedly. There were restrictions on what we could do with the building since we did not own it. We are happy to announce that in December of 2022, and thanks to a generous grant from Alternative Visions Fund, SLFS has purchased the Tower Theatre location. 

 

This is monumental to the preservation mission goals of SLFS. We intend to ensure cinematic adventures continue at the Tower for generations to come. The Tower has always been part of our founding story, and our mission. By securing the building ownership, SLFS and our allies can now look towards neighborhood collaboration to build a vision that preserves the unique character of the Tower, supports the 9th & 9th economic viability, and harnesses the archive video/DVD collection for film preservation and education. 

 

This purchase allows for the Tower to have a fresh start. Therefore, we are happily turning away from previously-reported cosmetic improvement plans to begin serious long-term visioning for the Tower. We’ve named our new initiative “Tower Theatre: The Next 100 years.”

REMODELS, RENOVATIONS, and VISIONING for the TOWER THEATRE

Our inspiration is to repair and renovate the 1928 Tower Theatre as an environmentally responsible hub for cultural, nostalgic, modern, and uncensored cinematic experiences. As an economic and cultural anchor in 9th and 9th , the Tower will remain a safe haven for underrepresented voices and individuals who love to explore new ideas and tastes through the cinematic lens. 

  

This treasured movie theater, the oldest single-screen in Utah dedicated solely to film, represents a cultural cinematic landmark that demands to be preserved for future generations. SLFS intends to trailblaze environmental responsibility in theatrical exhibition and serve community through historic, contemporary, unique technological film screenings, plus offer and grow our world-class and highly rare archive. Additionally, we plan to provide museum-like exhibits that access nostalgia for our past and celebrate the future of the medium of film. 

 

Embarking on this adventure will take time, stakeholder support, and fundraising.  We do not anticipate the Tower opening in 2023 for this reason.  However, you may see us making some essential repairs throughout the process. We will keep the public posted. Through this visioning process we are committed to protecting the Tower’s legacy and remaining true to the spirit of the Tower.  SLFS has always had the Tower at the heart of our cinematic mission and will continue to honor its texture, personality, and purpose throughout the visioning process. After all, the first cinema in Utah to have air-conditioning, and talkies, deserves to see the light of the projector lamp never go dark.  

WHAT CAN BE RENOVATED?

SLFS has formed an advisory committee of stakeholders and local business leaders to help envision the future of the Tower and what is possible regarding environmental and neighborhood sustainability.  SLFS plans to make the Tower renovations a community project that includes engaging local business at 9th and 9th, checking in with neighbors (you may be hearing from us soon), stakeholders, and patrons, and igniting the passion of cinema-lovers from far and wide.  We will update the public with current news periodically on this web page and through our social media channels.

 

Taking on the Tower project in a  post-pandemic arts recovery climate is ambitious. Still, SLFS firmly commits to visioning for the Tower’s next 100 years. Our goal is for the Tower to be Salt Lake Film Society’s premiere film venue for director/actor Q&A’s, cultural and environmental films, panel discussions, archival film access, and various SLFS film programs that support the appreciation for the motion picture arts. We are home to the largest video/DVD archive collection in Utah. The Tower is made by community for community, and will remain accessible to all, a movie house and visiting center where people can learn about and talk about their love of cinema.  

REPAIRS UNDERWAY

  1. Tower Marquee: 

The Tower Marquee was retrofitted to repair the rain leaks, protect new electrical installations, and to improve the rain/weathering.  This repair can only be seen from the top of the marquee, but was essential. 

  1. Rain Gutters: 

New rain gutters were installed, allowing for more efficient drainage from the rooftop, assisting with water collection and leaking issues.  

  1. Roofing repairs

Along with rain gutter repairs, roofing repairs have taken place that have sealed the exterior. 

  1. Interior sealing: 

Interior sealing of brick, concrete and water entry points has been completed 

  1. Lobby: 

Demolition of the lobby has been completed, allowing access to plumbing and electrical that will be needed for a new lobby layout as well as planning steps towards an ADA accessible bathroom. 

THANK YOU, & HOW TO SUPPORT

At this time, we are reaching out to foundational donors. If you, your business or estate would like to be involved in the Tower Theatre: Next 100 Years project, please contact Marcie Collett at marciecollett@saltlakefilmsociety.org. 

We can arrange a tour, answer your questions and introduce you to the community team working on the project.

Our sincere gratitude to all who have donated, who have engaged with us, and who continue to love the mission work at SLFS to exhibit, create, and preserve the cinematic experience. 

With love, 

SLFS staff, board, advisory committees, and volunteers at SLFS

Support Film

with a Donation

Sundance and SLFS Local Lens Screening 7/28

Festival Favorites. For Utahns. For Free. Sundance Film Festival: Local Lens program is a series of FREE screenings happening July 26–29.

Get information on all screenings -> https://www.sundance.org/local-lens/
Get tickets while supplies last.

RSVP for FREE tickets to these films screening at SLFS on 7/28:
Kokomo City at 7:00 pm -> RSVP
Birth/Rebirth at 11:30 pm -> RSVP

Kokomo City
Birth/Rebirth

Guest Blog: José talks SLFS and Queer Cinema

José (he/they/them) identifies as a queer, Mexican, immigrant, educator, and film-buff. They currently serve as the Assistant Director for Community Engagement at the Thayne Center, Salt Lake Community College, where they help connect students to the many opportunities for service and engagement through community partners, and also oversee basic needs programs like the Bruin Pantry. In their free time, José can be found ingesting copious amounts of television, throwing a dinner party for their family and friends, traveling, camping, and of course catching the latest indie flick at the Broadway. 


“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”

“Growing up as an undocumented, queer, brown kid in Utah has not always been rainbows and butterflies. Media representations, especially in movies, of my life experiences have been hard to come by especially when I was coming out of the closet as an undergrad at the University of Utah. I would fill the evenings in my dorm room watching queer movies I had inconspicuously rented from the Tower Theater—ok, now I’m dating myself!

This is why Salt Lake Film Society has always had such a special place in my heart; it unlocked stories of what it meant to be queer, plus it gave me a community where I could feel safe to be myself and talk about the films I love. But it would be hard to list all the impactful queer films I’ve seen with SLFS, so I’ll just choose “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”.

a still from the queer cinema film played at SLFS, Brokeback Mountain
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in the queer cinema classic, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

In terms of something old, in January 2006 after having wrapped up my first semester of college, I started hearing about a “controversial” film that some theaters in Salt Lake City were refusing to show. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005, dir. Ang Lee) was a pre-marriage equality film with two Hollywood stars (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) really going at it rough and raw—all puns intended. This immediately piqued my interest, not to mention that SLFS was proudly showing the film in their theaters.

Although I was horrified by the brutal ending which depicted a violent hate crime ultimately leading to the protagonist’s death, this was one of the first times I had seen same-sex love and sex on a big screen.  From then on, I wanted more stories that depicted something closer to my lived experiences.

A new film I look forward to experiencing again on the big screen is ROTTING IN THE SUN (2023, dir. Sebastian Silva). During its Sundance premiere which I saw at the Broadway, this film’s penis and gay sex filled scenes were all the buzz. Well, it did not disappoint! Be ready to see every kind of penis under the sun in the first 30 minutes, before making a sharp left and being delivered into a thrilling story about the cover up of an accidental murder.

Playing a frenzied domestic worker, Catalina Saavedra thrusts this film forward— I could not help but to think of my mom who has worked various housekeeping jobs in the city— and provides the perfect foil to the nihilistic, suicidal protagonist. Queer or hetero, young and old, everyone who has seen the film has been captured by its whacky charm (and hopefully SLFS is able to pick it up when it comes out in September!).

For something borrowed (again from Sundance) and something blue, I want to celebrate how far the diversity of lived experiences has come in queer cinema. TANGERINE (2015, dir. Sean Baker) and MOONLIGHT (2016, dir. Barry Jenkins) each touched my heart in different ways. TANGERINE tells a story of true friendship through the eyes of two transgendered Black and Brown sex workers in the streets of L.A. Not only was this movie completely filmed on the streets with iPhones, but Sean Baker has gone on to make extraordinary, award-nominated, indie films about people living on the edge, including THE FLORIDA PROJECT and RED ROCKET.

a still from the queer cinema movie Moonlight
Trevante Rhodes and André Holland in the Oscar-winning MOONLIGHT

With melodic, blue delivery, MOONLIGHT takes us through different stages of the protagonist’s life as he is met with violence for being his authentic self. The liberation he experiences through vulnerability against a hyper-masculine, homophobic society is a lesson that I continue to enact in different ways in my own life.

Queer cinema has come a very long way from the cliché coming of age stories with cisgender, white, male protagonists having oh so many will-they-won’t-they moments. Salt Lake Film Society creates a space and community for folx like me to feel seen and heard. The exploration of gender, sexuality, and identity through film is one with growing voices and perspectives, and I’m excited to keep coming back to the big screen as we continue to celebrate queer, trans, BiPoC independent stories for queers to come!”


Supporting and Showcasing Queer Cinema – SLFS

At Salt Lake Film Society, we are proud to exhibit a wide variety of queer cinema and stories to our Salt Lake City community, both during Pride month, and during all the other months too.

If you value these kinds of stories, and your community’s access to them, please consider supporting us! All donations received before July 15th will be matched through a generous offer from a local family foundation. Donate or join the Red Carpet Club during this matching period and see your support of SLFS and queer cinema doubled during this matching period!

To see a list of our upcoming films and events, click here.
To join our Red Carpet Club, or to learn more about RCC levels, discounts, and benefits, click here.


SLFS: Putting Classic Movies Back In Theaters

Like any engaging form of art, film is a medium that is often defined and disseminated through its most classic works. Whether defining the genre of the time and influencing works of the future, or achieving renown only in hindsight after being popularized by the next generation, “classic” movies have always existed as vital storytelling pieces for everything from entire countries, to entire generations.

At Salt Lake Film Society, repertory films and classic movies are a crucial part of our programming repertoire. While there are incredible independent films being released all the time (many of which we are lucky enough to show at the Broadway), for many people, classic movies are the driving force behind their love of film and the impactful connection they have with it. And what better way to re-experience the magic of these classics than how they were intended: on the big screen?

Keep reading to learn why seeing a classic movie on the big screen matters (or click here to view our Summer Showdown schedule of classic movies at the Broadway this summer!). And don’t forget; until July 15th, all donations will be matched through a generous offer from a local family foundation. So if you value access to independent film and things like seeing classic movies on the big screen, this is the perfect time to show us your support! Click here to see our progress so far, and make your own contribution!

What Exactly is a Classic Movie?

While there is no official definition, it’s not exactly easy to qualify what is considered a classic. It could be an Oscar-laden adventure trilogy integral to pop-culture, or a dated love story full of big-name stars during their younger years, or even a low-budget horror flick that achieves “cult” status in the modern Internet age. 

a picture of Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi, and John Goodman in the classic movie The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi, and John Goodman in the The Big Lebowski, part of the 2023 Summer Showdown lineup

The definition of a “classic” movie is often defined less by its content or fame and more by its staying power through the years, both in our minds and our culture. It’s the iconic stories, whose themes and outcomes still feel relevant even upwards of 70 years after a film’s release. It’s the iconic performances from Hollywood legends or unknown actors announcing their skill to the world. It’s the extremes, both the extremely good and the extremely bad, that still get parodied on sketch shows and quoted between colleagues.

There is no reliable formula for making a classic movie, especially when it comes to cult classics, as they seem to become popular despite themselves, which makes their nostalgic success even more unpredictable. Even the very nature of a classic means that people won’t definitively know if it qualifies as a classic until years later, and like with any art form, ambiguity and personal taste play a big part. Similarly to how the Supreme Court defined pornography in 1964, it’s hard to describe and specifically define, but many people know it when they see it.

Capturing the Magic of Classic Movies, In Theaters

However, like any classic in any other artistic medium, watching a classic movie nowand trying to “recapture” the authentic magic and the power it brought to both initial and later audiences isn’t so easy. For example, while many of us know works of art from the Renaissance era, most of us have only seen a photo of the Mona Lisa painting or the Michaelangelo statue of David, and only in a digital era long past the widespread fame of painting and sculptures. 

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey doing the iconic lift in the classic movie Dirty Dancing
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey doing the iconic lift in Dirty Dancing, another classic entry in our 2023 Summer Showdown lineup

While the era of film fame is alive and well today, the power of the big screen and a packed audience in a dark theater is unfortunately much easier to miss out on. And trying to experience the authenticity of a classic film when it’s streamed to your TV in your living room is akin to appreciating the Mona Lisa through a small image on your phone.

Getting to watch (or more likely, re-watch) these cinematic milestones on the big screen, sharing in a nostalgia trip with total strangers, and for many, re-living the magic of watching a classic when it first came out (and when it wasn’t even a classic yet) can be a powerful, and even emotional experience for many people. Classic movies have always been something that we have shared with both those close to us, and with those we don’t even know. Their staying power in our society and our communicative culture has always had the capacity to bring us closer together. And SLFS is proud to offer these classic movies in theaters to our Salt Lake City community.

See Classic Movies at SLFS Summer Showdown!

If classic movies are as important to you as they are to us, come down to the Broadway on a Friday or Saturday this summer, and see a film on the big screen that will take you on a little trip down memory lane. Or if you haven’t seen some of these classics before, there is truly no better way to experience them than on the big screen! Vote for your favorite film of our summer selections with your ticket purchase to the film, or any film-specific donations you want to provide by finding the poster in the Broadway lobby, scan the QR code of your favorite film, and donate if you want to see that film win! 

And don’t forget; until July 15th, all donations will be matched through a generous offer from a local family foundation. So if you value access to independent film and things like seeing classic movies on the big screen, this is the perfect time to show us your support! Click here to see our progress so far, and make your own contribution!

To see a list of our upcoming films and events, click here.
To join our Red Carpet Club, or to learn more about RCC levels, discounts, and benefits, click here.


SLFS Guest Post: Māsima 2023 and Lauren To’omalatai

Lauren To’omalatai is a Sāmoan screenwriter, director, and film programmer from West Valley City, Utah. She served as Director of the Utah Pacific Island Film Series for four years where she organized free community screenings showcasing films by and about Pacific Islanders throughout Salt Lake County. In 2021 she co-established the Māsima Film Tour with the Salt Lake Film Society to amplify this work and bring it to a wider audience. She is a proud alumni of imagineNATIVE’s Screenwriting: Features Intensive (2021) and Visual Communications “Armed With a Camera” Fellowship (2022-2023) under which she wrote and directed her debut short film “Snack”. You can find her on Instagram, and her website.


“Growing up in West Valley City, I was always surrounded by other Sāmoans and Pacific Islanders in my community. My parents spoke Sāmoan in the home, we ate Sāmoan food, attended a Sāmoan church, and danced in Polynesian groups. I was never the only Pacific Islander in any given place. I could always identify other Pacific Islanders by the way they looked, spoke, or my favorite, that signature boisterous laughter that seemed to follow us around, especially when we gathered together. I consider myself lucky there’s been a constant tether between myself and my heritage. 

During my junior year of high school, I became obsessed with film after watching Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. It was the spark that led me to watch other films, explore film history, and try my hand at screenwriting. This budding interest was supported by a theater in downtown Salt Lake City that showed independent and foreign cinema: the Broadway. I’d always loved to write but there was something specific about screenwriting that spoke to me.

This curiosity led me to pursue a Film Production degree after graduation. I didn’t complete the program, leaving school to get a full-time job to help support my household. I was disappointed I couldn’t finish my studies because during this time I’d become increasingly aware that although I didn’t feel like an outsider in my own community, the world of film and television had yet to catch up to the wealth of stories that Pacific Islanders had— a realization that fueled my desire to continue writing scripts, even if I wasn’t in a position to return to school. 

a photo of a screening from the Utah Pacific Island Film Series

A Utah Pacific Island Film Series community screening of the short documentary Standing Above the Clouds (2020).

A few weeks later, in March 2016, an opportunity presented itself in the form of a free film screening of a Sāmoan film. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to learn the ins and outs of filmmaking in a classroom but I could still attend this screening and hopefully find other Pacific Islanders who were as passionate about film as I was. The Utah Pacific Island Film Series, a program of Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources (PIK2AR), had an afternoon showing of My Fa’a Sāmoa directed by Ursula Ann Siataga.

This short depicted a Sāmoan family living in the Bay Area. It was the first time a piece of media directly reflected my own experiences as a first-generation Sāmoan living in the diaspora. Although set in an entirely different state, it was a powerful moment to see the same ways Sāmoan culture was made malleable and molded around the way other young Sāmoans and their families in the U.S. were living. 

At the screening I met my mentor and friend Susi Feltch-Malohifo’ou, Executive Director of PIK2AR and for the next few years volunteered at screenings and attended Pasifika inclusive Sundance events. In 2019 I became Director until February 2020 when Covid-19 halted all in-person programming. For the next year we tried our best to facilitate online screenings and discussions, but of course, the energy was different and it was this new challenge to rally folks to watch films online at a time when the whole country was growing weary of watching films at home.

During this period, I reconnected with screenwriting and started submitting to screenwriting fellowships, something I’d never done before. To date, I’ve been privileged to participate in back-to-back fellowships that have strengthened my skills as a screenwriter and filmmaker and given me the gift of connecting with other indigenous and Pasifika filmmakers. 

a photo of many people at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival

“Armed With a Camera” Fellowship cohort at the 2022
L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival: (L-to-R) M. Kaleipumehana Cabral, Veialu Aila-Unsworth, Peter Filimaua, Alexis Si’i, Misa Tupou, and Lauren To’omalatai

This past year has been an incredible experience for me under Visual Communications “Armed With a Camera” Fellowship where I was given financial support and mentorship to direct my first short film “Snack”. This cohort was the first in AWC’s 20 year history to be entirely Pacific Islander which serves as a reminder that often in AAPI spaces or initiatives, the PI part of that acronym is minimized or forgotten completely.

Through this fellowship, some intercommunity healing has taken place and I’m hopeful we will continue to make strides in ensuring that when AAPI is used, it actually and actively includes Pacific Islanders in a meaningful way. Snack makes its world premiere at this year’s Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and comes full circle to screen at this year’s Māsima on closing night. 

In 2021 I was a participant in the imagineNATIVE Screenwriting Intensive where I spent the following months writing my first feature film. This would also be the inaugural year of Māsima that saw the incredible staff from the Salt Lake Film Society help us orchestrate a virtual tour complete with panel discussions and partnering with local Pacific Islander owned businesses.

I chose the name Māsima, which means “salt” in a few Pasifika dialects, referencing Salt Lake City where it was created and the salt of the ocean that connects our Pacific Islands and stories. In 2022 Māsima’s program was a larger hybrid experience of both in-person and online screenings and thanks to the generosity of Bill Imada and his team at IW Group we took an abbreviated version of Māsima to Los Angeles. 

A photo of important people from opening night of Māsima 2022 at SLFS

Opening Night of the 2022 Māsima Pacific Islands Film Tour

Filmmaking is a collaborative effort. This goes for not only what happens on-set and on the production side of things, but also what happens when your film leaves you and is shared with others. There is a lot of trust and respect when a film is shared with an audience that we would all do well to remember and I’m extremely appreciative of each and every filmmaker who has allowed us to showcase their work in all iterations of Māsima. Salt Lake County has a large population of Pacific Islanders and it’s a dream fulfilled to share Pasifika stories with the local community for a third year at Broadway. 

There is an expression in Sāmoan, Teu le Vā, which means “nurture the space” and that space is essentially the relationships that we all have in our lives. This relationship could be one that you have with another person, multiple people, or the environment around you. This is a personal favorite saying of mine that I strive to live by because the relationships that we have with our family, friends, coworkers, ourselves, and the world around us, are crucial to the ways we see, experience, create, and share art. To be an artist is to be in community and we must prioritize these relationships so trust and creativity can take root and flourish. 

A still from a film showing two Pacific Islander women

Still image from Snack, starring Luseane Pasa and Vida
Tuitamaalelagi Hafoka

The relationship that I’ve had the honor of cultivating with the incredible team at the Salt Lake Film Society is one that I value greatly and I’m grateful to be working closely with an organization that doesn’t just purport to care about diverse stories but, has made an active effort to bring those stories and storytellers to the forefront. I hope Pasifika and non-Pasifika audiences alike will attend one of our screenings down at the Broadway to see the variety of humanity and creativity that the Pacific Islander community has. 

If you can’t make it to the Broadway in May during Māsima’s run or any of the available screenings online, here’s a curated list of Pasifika films that I believe have made waves of positive change and self-expression in the ever-expanding ocean that is Pasifika cinema.”

Here is a curated list from Lauren of Pacific Island films, available on SLFS Letterboxd and below.

Loimata: The Sweetest Tears (2022) directed by Anna Marbrook 

Waru (2017) directed by Ainsley Gardiner, Casey Kaa, Renae Maihi, Awanui Simich-Pene

For My Father’s Kingdom (2021) directed by Vea Mafileʻo 

Tanna (2015) directed by Martin Butler and Bentley Dean

Whale Rider (2002) directed by Niki Caro

The Dark Horse (2014) directed by James Napier Robertson

The Dead Lands (2014) directed by Toa Fraser

Cousins (2021) directed by Briar Grace-Smith and Ainsley Gardiner

Three Wise Cousins (2016) directed by Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa

Boy (2010) directed by Taika Waititi

Out of State (2017) directed by Ciara Lacy

Patu! (1983) directed by Merata Mita

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) directed by Taika Waititi

The Orator (2011) directed by Tusi Tamasese

One Thousand Ropes (2016) directed by Tusi Tamasese

Once Were Warriors (1994) directed by Lee Tamahori

Next Goal Wins (2014) directed by Mike Brett, Steve Jamison

Waikiki (2020) directed by Christopher Kahunahana

James & Isey (2021) directed by Florian Habicht

Leitis in Waiting (2018) directed by Joe Wilson, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer

Every Day in Kaimuki (2022) directed by Alika Tengan

The Land Has Eyes (2004) directed by Vilsoni Hereniko

No. 2 (2007) directed by Toa Fraser

The Legend of Baron To’a (2020) directed by Kiel McNaughton

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen (2018) directed by Hepi Mita

Kumu Hina (2014) directed by Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer 

Island Soldier (2017) directed by Nathan FItch

Ever the Land (2015) directed by Sarah Grohnert

Mele Murals (2015) directed by Tadashi Nakamura and Keoni Lee