Sundance 2010 charts new course for indie film

Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:03pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It seems fitting that starting a new decade, the Sundance Film Festival will try to chart a new course for the next generation of independent film when it raises its curtain on Thursday.

The gathering, backed by Robert Redford's Sundance Institute for film, is the premiere U.S. event for movies made outside Hollywood's major studios. Each year thousands of industry executives and cinema lovers trek to the mountain town of Park City, Utah, east of Salt Lake City, for the festival.

This year Sundance has a new director, John Cooper, who promises a renewed focus on films that push boundaries.

The rise of indie film over more than two decades closely tracks interest in Sundance as it put directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith and Michael Moore in its spotlight.

Current Oscar hopefuls "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire'" and "(500) Days of Summer" were hits at Sundance 2009 and festival-goers will be looking for 2010 success stories from more than 120 films screening there over 10 days.

Executives are optimistic business is picking up and filmmakers see renewed attention on dramas dealing with human frailty and heart.

"The past couple of years have been pretty challenging on the independent film side, in general. However, the audience is still there," Bob Berney, chief of independent film distributor Apparition, said about the overall climate for indie movies.

"It (2010) will be really good for independent films and ... quality films will find their way out there."   Continued...