A Quick Guide to: the Sundance Film Festival

directors

What do Quentin Tarantino,  Kevin Clark and Steven Soderbergh all have in common?

Sundance: ten days, 200,000 attendees

Sundance is a ten-day, internationally-recognised, non-profit film festival that specialises in screenings, talks, workshops and panel discussions about independent films. The festival began in Salt Lake City in Utah, as the Utah/US Film Festival in a bid to attract more film makers to the area. Initially premiering American-made films, the aim was to celebrate the work of film makers that operated outside of big-budget Hollywood and provide a platform for new film makers with small budgets.

han-luke-leia-star-wars-death-star

Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs was an immediate hit at its initial screening at the Sundance Film Festival

Some of the world’s most prolific directors have made their name here, including: Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Django Unchained…); Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy…); Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies and Videotape, Oceans Eleven…); Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Fighter…); and Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Planet Terror…), to name but a few.

sex lies and videotape

Andie MacDowell and James Spader in Steven Soderbergh’s first film – Sex, Lies and Videotape, which won the Audience Award at its screening 

Evolution: Robert Redford, Slamdance & Sundance London

The Sundance Institute (created by Redford in 1981) took over running the Utah film festival in 1985. After several name changes, it became the Sundance Film Festival in 1991. The festival’s popularity has snowballed over the years, evolving from a small venue for the screening of low-budget indie films, to a multi-million pound event attended by A-listers and luxury brands. In a recent bid to curb this growth and retain the ‘indie’ aspect, the organisers introduced the ongoing Focus On Film campaign in 2007.

Attended by 200,000 people each year, the festival has grown to be one of the most prolific film festivals in the world, and has spawned Sundance London; and Slamdance, a second independent film festival.

redford-sundance-640Robert Redford at Sundance 2012

Sundance 2013: Where, When and What?

January 17th – 27th 2013, Park City, Utah.

This year’s programme is a celebration of all things independent, with documentaries  shorts, classics, world cinema and midnight movie screenings. For more information about tickets, the nominations and the panel, click here.

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