Resurgent Indie-Film Biz on Show at Sundance Festival

Manila Bulletin, January 16, 2014 | Go to article overview

Resurgent Indie-Film Biz on Show at Sundance Festival


LOS ANGELES (AFP) - From horror movies to comedies, intimate dramas to powerful documentaries, the 30th Sundance Film Festival opens on Thursday with a diverse field showcasing the resurgence of independent film.

The festival in the mountain town of Park City, Utah, which runs until January 26, was founded 30 years ago by Hollywood icon Robert Redford with the aim of providing a platform for independent movies in an American market where the major studios reign supreme.

From modest beginnings, the event has grown into one of the world's biggest independent film festivals, a meeting place for film-makers that has helped launch the careers of directors such as Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell, Paul Thomas Anderson, Steven Soderbergh and Darren Aronofsky.

This year's festival will see 121 feature films screened, including 100 premieres, from 37 countries.

The haul of films includes 54 movies from first-time directors, 35 of which will be in competition.

The films on show at Sundance were chosen from a staggering 12,218 submitted to the selection committee for consideration, a figure that reflects the renewed confidence in a sector which had been hit hard by the global financial crisis in 2008.

Festival officials say the resurgence also reflects independent film-makers willingness to embrace genres such as horror, suspense, action and thrillers.

"We are finding independent filmmakers are incorporating genre elements in their films because digital technology has made it possible," Sundance Festival director John Cooper told AFP.

"Genres help audiences engage with offbeat ideas in a comfortable way."

Reflecting that trend at Sundance this year are films such as romantic zombie movie "Life After Beth," and "Jamie Marks is Dead", a ghost story about a bullied teenager.

While many Sundance offerings will be the work of unknown directors, several films on show will feature established acting stars.

Kristen Stewart, star of the "Twilight" saga, will play a female guard deployed to the controversial post-9/11 Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba in "Camp X-Ray," while Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway features in the drama "Song One. …

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Resurgent Indie-Film Biz on Show at Sundance Festival
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