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The staff of The Salt Lake Tribune covers the Sundance Film Festival, on the streets of Utah and beyond.

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The Kennedy-Utah Connection

More than 20 members of the Kennedy clan in attendance aside, the biggest attraction at Friday afternoon’s premiere screening of "Ethel" was the surprise appearance of Taylor Swift.

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To understand the connection, it helps to have a subscription to Vogue. The fashion magazine’s latest edition, featuring you-know-who on the cover, explains that Swift took a shine to Bobby Kennedy’s widow because in archival photographs the famous couple, "always look like they are having the most fun out of everybody."

More interesting to locals, though, was Rory Kennedy’s brief mention near the end of her film that she and sister Mary Kerry Kennedy volunteered time on a Utah farm one summer as part of their family’s honored tradition of public service.

When asked about the connection directly during the after-film Q&A, Kennedy asked that her older sister, present in Friday’s audience, elaborate on the exact location.

"A little place called Charleston, just outside of Heber," the elder Kennedy elaborated. The city’s website is a little more specific, calling the burg just southwest of its neighbor "A beautiful corner of Heber Valley!"

Mary Kerry, who’s since worked for human rights causes all over the world, laughed when asked if the screening of her little sister’s documentary on their mother marked her second visit to Utah since. "No," she said. "I’ve been back many times."

—Ben Fulton

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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