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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Are you getting this on tape?

Stacy Peralta’s bodacious surfing biopic, “Riding Giants,” cuts the red ribbon today at the opening of the Sundance Institute’s free Documentary Film Series.

Peralta, who also directed “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” steers “Riding Giants” into hitherto unexplored territory, following the evolution of surfing from ancient Polynesia to 1960’s Southern California, eventually landing on present-day beaches.

“Giants” spotlights five peerless wave-masters who believe that, as Jeff Spicolli proclaims in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “surfing is more than just a sport-it’s a way of life.”

Chasing 70-foot waves and pushing the boundaries of possibility, these surfing pioneers cleared a path for the next generation of riders. “Riding Giants” chronicles their quest for the “ultimate wave” and the “unridden realm.” In the end, it ultimately redefines our conception of possibility.

“Riding Giants” is, simply put, the best documentary released in the last year. Throughout endless piles of political propaganda, “Giants” managed to shine through all of them, showcasing the spirit of…well…having a passion and spirit for something as great and uncontrollable as nature itself. As part of the Documentary Film Series program, notable surfer, journalist and co-writer of “Riding Giants,” Sam George, will introduce the film and engage in a question-and-answer session following the screening.

The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Series offers seven such documentary films, showcasing five (including “Riding Giants”) from the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

After each screening, a special guest (critics, filmmakers and subjects, to name a few) will hold an open-forum discussion.

It’s hard enough to find a sharp documentary at a video store, let alone a theatre. Sundance has collected the best and they’re screening them for free.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your sex-wax and your board and head down to the warm sands of… Park City.

The Sundance Institute Film Screenings are held at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month in the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave.

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Sundance Institute Documentary Film Series Schedule

Dec. 2 – “Control Room”-International perception of the Iraq war conveyed through the controversial lens of Al-Jazeera television.

Jan. 6 – “World Documentary Sneak Peak”-An exclusive preview and look at what’s to come from 2005’s Sundance Film Festival.

Mar. 3 – “American Hollow”-Director Rory Kennedy’s candid exploration of a modern Appalachian family.

Apr. 7. – “Word Wars”-This wry chronicle of the Scrabble Championships follows the top four scrabble players as they fight for the prize.

May 5 – “Imelda”-Director Rose Diaz’s portrait of Philippine Dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ notorious wife, Imelda.

June 2 – “DIG!”-Documents the tumultuous relationship of Dandy Warhols’ Courtney Taylor and The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s frontman, Anton Newcombe. “Dig!” took home the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

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