- Title: USA: Despite hype, the Sundance Film Festival remains true to its vision.
- Date: 25th January 2007
- Summary: MAIN STREET IN PARK CITY DECORATED WITH FILM FESTIVAL BANNERS
- Embargoed: 9th February 2007 12:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Reuters ID: LVA85OZLR64SLTLR6OPTG9VLKMF5
- Story Text: Park City, Utah readies itself for the kick-off to the annual Sundance film festival, with a slate of 123 films to be shown. When the curtain goes up at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday (January 18, 2007), the organizers of the top U.S. event for movies made outside the mainstream Hollywood studio system are promising a wide range of films.
As the U.S. indie film movement and Sundance have grown together in the past 25 years, writers and directors have begun focusing on a wider range of subjects than the more introspective stories for which they were known, and they are looking beyond U.S. borders.
The festival, backed by actor Robert Redford's Sundance Institute for filmmaking, has in recent years expanded to include foreign films in competition. Of the 123 movies at the 2007 festival, 25 are from outside the U.S.
It's all part of an evolution that's taking place at the festival, explained Sundance program director, John Cooper.
"I think it's changing. It used to be just very American films. We were always showing international works, of course, we added the world competition two years ago, so this is our third year and we think it clicks over and really gets its legs. Of course, the attention to independent films has always been the key to all of this," said Cooper.
Each year, some of the movies debuting at Sundance become the most buzzed about films in art houses. "Little Miss Sunshine" was a hit at Sundance 2006, and it has gone on to earn $86 million at world-wide box offices and is in the hunt for Oscars.
Stars ranging from Lindsay Lohan to Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins are expected to attend, and 50,000 to 60,000 moviegoers will invade Park City, Utah, just east of Salt Lake City, helping put the sleepy ski town on the map.
"When I travel, where I live, where I do business, I can say,' you know the Sundance Film Festival,' they'll know that, even if they know nothing else about the ski industry, they'll know Park City," explained art gallery owner Mitch Pretner.
For the tourist who make the trip, the festival has its advantages, including it's a-list celebrities.
"But, you know what, you don't want to make them feel more awkward," explained Kathy Wiechnik of New Jersey. "So we don't want to be like groupies, so we take a little peak and that is about it."
But, beyond all the hype, product promotion and parties, the heart of the festival is about discovering new films and filmmakers with fresh voices waiting to be heard.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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