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The news of artist, environmental activist, documentary film producer and philanthropist Susan Swartz.

Sundance Film Festival...Susan Swartz and a Greater Impact

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Susan and her husband, Jim, are co-founders of Impact Partners, a philanthropic venture organization that supports independent films that address pressing social issues. Over the years, films they have supported have gone onto screen at major festivals all over the planet and to win significant accolades, including Academy Awards.

Now, Impact Partners is thrilled to announce that three of its newest films will premiere this month at the Sundance Film Festival in Susan’s hometown of Park City, Utah. One of the films, called The Queen of Versailles, is being further honored as the opening night film that sets the tone for the entire festival. Directed by Lauren Greenfield, the documentary follows a couple building the biggest house in America—a 90,000 sf. palace inspired by Versailles — when their timeshare empire falters due to the economic crisis. Their rags-to-riches-to-rags story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream.

Also showing for the first time at Sundance is David France’s documentary, How to Survive a Plague. This is the untold story of the intensive efforts that turned AIDS into a manageable condition, and the improbable group of (mostly HIV-positive) young men and women whose resilience broke through a time of rampant death and political indifference.

Veteran Sundancers, co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady return this year with Detropia (formerly titled Detroit Hustles Harder). Their latest documentary explores the idea that the woes of Detroit are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base. This is the dramatic story of a city and its people who refuse to leave the building, even as the flames are rising.

Now in its 34th year, the Sundance Film Festival has evolved to become what is arguably the most meaningful celebration of independent cinema on the planet. “I feel incredibly blessed to have this wellspring of insight, creativity and important conversation in my own backyard,” says Susan. “Jim and I are honored to have supported these three tremendous films and look forward to the world’s response to them.”

A Warm Homecoming for Susan Swartz

With the conclusion of her Seasons of the Soul exhibition and the accompanying film series Linking Environment, Healing and Creativity in Washington, DC, Susan is glad to be home in the mountains of Utah. And she’s not the only one. Susan’s longtime patron and friend, Scott Anderson, is hosting a reception to welcome her home and to celebrate her recent successes.

On Saturday, October 15, along with co-hosts Geralyn Dreyfous and Byron Russell, Anderson — who is the president and CEO of Zions Bank — will open the prestigious Founders Room of the Salt Lake City’s Zions Bank Building to fete Susan and her supporters. “Scott, Geralyn and Byron have stood by me during tough times and have always encouraged me to really go for it. I feel so incredibly grateful to count them as friends,” professes Susan.

Environmental Film Series Supports Susan Swartz NMWA Exhibition

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Monthly throughout the exhibition of Susan’s Seasons of the Soul at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the museum is presenting a documentary film series titled Linking Environment, Healing and Creativity. Already this summer, two important films have screened: The Science of Healing with Dr. Esther Sternberg and A Healthy Baby Girl.

And, still to come are two excellent recent documentaries. Screening on September 12 is The Last Mountain. Hailed as a clarion call to protect the environment and our own health, the film is directed by Bill Haney and focuses on a group of West Virginia citizens and their ongoing battle with Big Coal corporations.

Closing the film series on October 2 is No Impact Man, a film by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein that follows a Manhattan-resident during his yearlong effort to eliminate his impact on the environment. For 12 months he ate vegetarian; bought locally; stopped using elevators, television, cars, buses, and electricity; and brought his wife and two-year-old daughter along for the ride.

Visit NMWA.org to learn more about the film series.