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Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is held in Park City each January. The Festival Highlights New Work from Independent American and International Filmmakers.  The competition includes Dramatic Feature-Length & Short Films, Documentaries, Foreign Films, Film Music, & Theater.  Screening Venues include Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogdon, & the Sundance Resort.

The Sundance Film festival is one of the highlights of the Winter Season in Park City, with approximately 50,000 people attending with over 200 premiers of films from various categories.  Some of the films are sold to major studios and end up in the Academy Awards & it is great fun to be here during this period of time.

The Festival also offers a selection of short films for free on YouTube. Sundance Selects offered five films to household audiences across America the day after their Festival premiers.

The Sundance Institute

“The Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated year-round and worldwide to discovering and developing original stories for the screen and stage.  The Institute’s artist support programs provide independent artists with the opportunity to explore their stories free from commercial and political pressures.  Through the Sundance Film Festival and other public programming, the Institute takes those stories to global audiences.  From strategic and creative resources for artists to opportunities for audiences to experience the best new work in film and theatre, the Institute continually seeks out ways to advance the impact of independent storytelling throughout the world.”  – 2011 Sundance Film Catalog

History of the Sundance Film Festival

Sundance, originally known as the Utah/US Film Festival, started in Salt Lake City in August of 1978.  The founders were Sterling Van Wagenen (who headed Robert Redford’s company Wildwood), John Earle, and Cirina Hampton Catania (both of whom were serving on the Utah Film Commission).  The festival had three goals:  Showcase American made films, Highlight the potential of independent film, and Increase the visibility of filmmaking in Utah.  The first festival featured more than 60 films including Deliverance, Midnight Cowboy, Mean Streets, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Sweet Smell of Success.  In addition to the competition, the festival included a variety of retrospective films and filmmaker panel discussions.  It was also a celebration of the Frank Capra Award (first awarded to Jimmy Stewart) and an opportunity to highlight non-Hollywood regional filmmakers.

The next year Sterling Van Wagenen left the Utah/US Film Festival to guide a pilot program which later became known as The Sundance Institute.  In 1981 the festival moved to Park City and changed the date from September to January.  In 1984-85, the Sundance Institute took over the management of the Utah/US Film Festival and renamed it Sundance.  In 1991, it was officially renamed the Sundance Film Festival.

For more information on the 2012 Sundance Film Festival check out the official site  http://www.sundance.org/festival/info/