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Sundance to ’engage and provoke’ with focus on climate

Update: January, 17/2017 - 14:00
Hollywood actor Robert Redford founded the Sundance Film Festival in 1985 to turn the lens on independent movies. — AFP/VNA Photo
Viet Nam News

UTAH, United States — The Sundance Film Festival opens in Utah on Thursday, promising to set the agenda for independent cinema and starting the 2018 Oscars buzz a month before this year’s statuettes are awarded.

The annual gathering, founded in 1985 by iconic screen outlaw Robert Redford, turns the lens on 118 independent features, as Hollywood descends on the ski resort of Park City for the 33rd edition.

"From the passion and chaos of creativity, independent filmmakers make decisions to harness that energy, break new ground and tell their stories," Redford, 80, said in a statement.

"This year’s festival reflects every step of that journey and shows how art can engage, provoke and connect people all over the world."

Kicking off in 1985 as a counterweight to the dominance of major Hollywood studios, Sundance nurtures new talent and provides a showcase for filmmakers working outside the studio system.

In 2016, it drew 46,600 attendees, generating US$143.3 million for Utah and supporting 1,400 local jobs, according to organisers.

Highlights this year include the usual spread of drama, thriller, horror and comedy movies and one truly undefinable work called Manifesto, in which Cate Blanchett plays 13 different characters reciting famous art manifestos.

David Lowery’s A Ghost Story, starring recent Golden Globe winner Casey Affleck and double Oscar nominee Rooney Mara, should turn heads while John Turturro and Edie Falco are also sure to be draws in comedy Landline.

Sundance also features documentaries and, for the first time, is shining a light on a specific theme -- climate change -- with 14 films and virtual reality projects in its The New Climate slate.

Among the films attracting the most pre-festival attention is An Inconvenient Sequel, a follow-up to vice-president Al Gore’s watershed environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth (2006).

Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, the movie follows Gore as he continues his campaign to build a more sustainable future for the planet.

"The films in this year’s festival show the human sides of issues, people and places we don’t often see," said festival director John Cooper.

"Independent filmmakers, with their fearless, bold perspectives, are challenging us to witness our world’s whole story. These artists, armed with their films, will lead us into the future." — AFP

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