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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Sundance Film Festival lights up Utah

    By Courtney Tsao

    Staff Writer

      Every year the Sundance Film Festival, an event where independent artists can showcase their new feature films and media, is hosted in Salt Lake City. The event began on Jan. 24 and will continue until Feb. 3.

      The festival acts as an outlet in which the art of filming is celebrated through the gathering of film lovers and filmmakers. By watching featured performances and short documentaries, attendees can participate in panels to discuss and discover new film perspectives.

      For this year’s festival, the Sundance Institute received 14,529 submissions from 152 countries, allowing the event to witness a record-breaking number of submitted media.

      Out of the submissions, only 241 were chosen, but the selected submissions were able to represent 49 countries. 113 films were directed by one or more women and 100 films were created by people of color.

      “Focusing a bright light on these independent stories is urgent and crucial, especially in the noise of today’s globalized media landscape,” stated Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute.

      By featuring a diverse program, the event will expose attendees to the range of ideas, messages, and experiences that many filmmakers have to offer. Selected films that are classified into certain categories, such as “U.S. Documentary Competition” and “World Cinema Dramatic Competition,” allows the Institute to give a clear view as to what category films fall under.

      “These films and artists tell the truth: [these] documentaries […] spotlight diverse, human experiences, [and] this year’s slate is layered, intense and authentic,” says John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival.

      Most films are based off of experiences that not only highlight entertainment, but also shed light to challenges and questions through the form of media.

      “Tigerland,” a film directed by Ross Kauffman featured in the Sundance Film Festival, will bring awareness on the efforts to save the world’s last Siberian Tigers. Also, “Sea of Shadows,” directed by Richard Ladkani, will show how the world’s smallest whale, the vaquita, is at risk for extinction.

      With many film categories and featured content, the festival will also include kid-friendly movies for families to enjoy. The upcoming festival will be showcasing “Abe,” “The Witch Hunters,” and “The Elephant Queen” under the children’s section.

      The festival also recently added “Leaving Neverland” to their program, a four hour documentary, directed by Dan Reed, that delves into the sexual abuse allegations against Michael Jackson.

      Despite receiving critical responses from Jackson’s fans, the Sundance Institute released a statement stating, “[We support] artists in […] telling bold, independent stories […] on topics which can be provocative or challenging,” demonstrating the institute’s resolve in giving attendees unfiltered and genuine views for films that will be screened at the festival.


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    Sundance Film Festival lights up Utah