An independent comedy slash mockumentary film by director Hannah Rosner, Park City (2015) tells the story of four indie filmmakers whose film Hearts and Cash has made it to Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The group, made up of director Joey (Joseph Mireles), producer Hannah (Hannah Rosner), actress Jill (Jill Evyn) and production assistant Dave (David Hoffman), make it to the festival only to be confronted with a crazy party scene that they are more than happy to partake in. Unfortunately, after a particularly wild night, their film is lost on the morning of its premiere. Stuck in a crisis and wanting their film to be seen, with the clock ticking, the four must find their beloved film before its screening.
The first thing that you’ll notice about Park City is that it feels very low budget. The visual quality is not that great, and some of it looks like it’s been shot on an iPhone. But don’t be discouraged – this isn’t a bad thing, in fact, I think it’s a good thing in that it sets the tone for the entire adventure. After all, this is a independent, low budget film about people who have made an independent, low budget film. In addition to this, some scenes are documented by production assistant Dave via his phone, the footage of which appears to be weaved throughout. In the beginning the visual quality was slightly distracting, but by the end it all made sense.
Kind of like the story itself – it takes a little while to become invested in our four main characters, but by the end you’re really rooting for them and hoping that they succeed. The characters, particularly producer Hannah and director Joey, share with the audience their sincere passion for this lost film; a passion even non-filmmakers can relate to, which makes them really endearing and redeemable despite the silliness of losing their film. Overall, I think this film’s best quality is its ability to win over and charm its audience over time.
The film is constructed through segments of story and talking-head interviews with our protagonists, giving the film a mockumentary-esque feel, but with an emphasis on the storytelling of the crisis and each characters’ perception of events. As above, in the beginning I questioned the need for these interview moments. However as the story developed, I grew to love the insights given by the characters. Some of the film’s funniest moments come from the delivery of individual perceptions during the interviews, particularly that of producer Hannah, who reflects on the ridiculosity of their predicament in a really deadpan and sarcastic way. Occasionally there’s also a cut-up narrative where you have to pay a bit of attention to the timestamps at the bottom of the screen, giving the film another layering of the story. All in all, this method of storytelling suited the overall tone of the film – peeling layers of story to get to the resolution of the central conflict, to find out where Hearts and Cash has got itself to.
Park City is not the most ambitious of films, but it is genuinely enjoyable. Although some of the performances are not as strong as others, as an ensemble cast, all characters work well together. Some have compared this film to The Hangover (2009), and I would have to agree with that assessment; like The Hangover, it’s a film about making an inebriated mistake, trying to fix it, and the adventures along the way. Park City is a funny and engaging film, one which I would definitely suggest seeking out.
Watch the trailer here.
Alternatively, you can watch the film on iTunes!