The Sundance Film Festival has opened in Utah promising a return to rebellious risky film-making. In recent years Sundance has moved closer to the mainstream, as big studios moved to capitalise on the success of indie films like Slumdog Millionaire and Little Miss Sunshine.
But Robert Redford has long championed independent documentaries. He says “We like to provide but we don’t do the deciding. That’s up to the audience. But the providing is where it’s at. I always felt you shouldn’t even be in the business if we weren’t going to be maintaining a freshness and keeping on the cutting edge of things. To do that you need fresh new blood. You need to reconstitute yourself from time to time.”
But will this make the festival too serious?
Says Festival Director John Cooper: The movies are serious. We show a lot of serious movies so the festival itself can be fun and I think the fun part of it is actually that discovery, no just the discovery of the films themselves but also of the wonderful talent that comes here.”
The festival opened with biopic Howl. The film looks at Allen Ginberg’s early life and the indecency trial which followed the publication of his poem Howl. James Franco plays Allan Ginsberg. He says: “It’s the young Ginsberg. I agree that I wasn’t the first person on people’s minds when it comes to Ginsberg. Out of all those guys, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Cassidy, out of those guys you would expect me to play Kerouac over Ginsberg.”
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