The fractured American dream, the housing crisis and the sluggish economy feature prominently in the opening films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, now underway in the US state of Utah.
The ski resort of Park City east of Salt Lake City is playing host to the 10-day event that will showcase more than 100 independent low-budget fiction and documentary films.
Small movies, but some big names from the world of cinema are present – including of course, the festival’s founder Robert Redford.
“It’s no secret that times are dark and grim,” the 75-year-old actor told a news conference. “In addition to that we’re suffering from a government that’s in paralysis. And so that makes it all a pretty grim time. But I think the happy thing that we’re pretty proud of is that here for this week we’re going to see work from artists… that’s reflective of these hard times. There’s not paralysis here.”
Much of the pre-festival attention focused on ‘The Queen of Versailles’, a documentary about the crumbling of the American dream of home ownership amid a reality of job losses and bankruptcies.
Despite the crisis some festival-goers have come from far and wide.
“I’m an avid movie buff and it’s kind of nice to be here first and see things before everybody else gets a chance and it’s just the people, the people are so friendly and from everybody that’s been here who’s experienced it, they want to come here every year, so I figured we should try,” said Mandi Hornickel from Chicago.
For years some have seen Sundance as a victim of its own success. Robert Redford says the festival is still a place for indie film-makers to find their feet.