Redford touts new generation of Sundance filmmakers

Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:15am EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - The curtain rose on the Sundance Film Festival Thursday night with a spotlight on what founder Robert Redford called a new generation of filmmakers typified by Martin McDonagh and his opening film "In Bruges."

Award-winning playwright McDonagh made his debut as a film director with the drama about two hit men holed up in the small town of Bruges, Belgium. He was one of 58 first-time directors at 2008's Sundance, the top event for U.S. independent film.

Redford, whose Sundance Institute for filmmaking backs the festival founded over 20 years ago, said more first-time directors were screening movies this year than at any time he could remember since the mid-1980s.

He added that many were like McDonagh -- artists in one field who had crossed over into moviemaking. Redford added that many of them represent a new generation, born after the baby boomers, who seemed intent on breaking new ground in cinema.

"This is a new group that is saying, 'we don't want to inherit anything before us,"' Redford told a gathering of reporters on opening day.

Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore said the film from Briton's McDonagh highlighted a move by Sundance in recent years to spotlight more international films.

For his part, McDonagh, 37, told Reuters he was "completely thrilled and horrified" at the prospect of premiering his movie in front of the notoriously fussy audiences at Sundance.

"I am turning a new page (in my career) and terrified about whether I have a good one," he said about "In Bruges."   Continued...

<p>Robert Redford, director, actor and founder of the Sundance Film Festival, introduces the premiere of "In Bruges" at the Eccles theatre on the opening day of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, January 17, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>