2013 Sundance Film Festival Combines Tradition and Innovation

Photo Credit: Five Star Institute
December 28th, 2012

2013 Sundance Film Festival Combines Tradition and Innovation

-- The Sundance Film Festival has offered indie films the chance at critical acclaim and a wider viewership for over twenty-five years. Attendees get the chance to view films in categories such as World Cinema, Documentary, Short Film, and U.S. Drama. The festival also offers awards for filmmakers and over the years has launched cult classics that include "Clerks" and "Memento." The 2013 Sundance Film Festival program will combine traditional art-house vibes with innovative new concepts in entertainment.

The festival will take place from January 17 through January 27 in Park City, Utah. Attendees will have a wide range of films, panels, and other entertainment from which to choose. Those who like to mix politics with the big screen might want to take in "30% (Women and Politics in Sierra Leone)" or "99% -The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film." Edgy documentaries like "After Tiller" take on serious issues, while "Ass Backwards" provides a raucous comedy with a tenderhearted story line.

U.S. Drama entries in the festival also include "Ain't Them Bodies Saints," a Texas crime story starring Casey Affleck; "Afternoon Delight," the story of a Los Angeles housewife's attempt to help a stripper; and "Kill Your Darlings," a story set at the beginning of the Beat movement, with characters that include Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Offerings in the U.S. Documentary category will include "Cutie and the Boxer," a look at the life of Ushio Shinohara; "Gideon's Army," which follows three public defenders; and "Inequality for All," a timely look at the impact of socioeconomic gaps on U.S. culture.

International films will include "Crystal Fairy," the story of two strangers on a road trip in Chile, and "Lasting," a movie about two Polish students who fall in love in Spain but are plunged into a nightmare scenario. Another drama entry, "Shopping," is the story of a New Zealand teenager and his choice between his family and the shoplifting gang that has captured his attention. Another entry into the international drama category, "There Will Come a Day," features an Italian woman who must face all of her life assumptions from a boat in the Amazon.

In addition to U.S. and international dramas and documentaries, the Sundance Film Festival also honors movies in a category known as Next. These films are bold and innovative, displaying forward-thinking approaches to the culture and artistry of storytelling. According to the festival website, the films chosen for this category use new digital technologies to hint at the next wave in great movies. Entries into the category include "Computer Chess," a comedy about the people who came up with the idea and programmed computers to play chess. Other entries include "Blue Caprice," "I Used to Be Darker," "Milkshake," and "Newlyweds."

Those who attend the festival can take part in more than movie viewing. There are many networking activities, educational opportunities, and special events. Panels are offerings that cater to both the public and those within the film industry. Attendees can learn about film technology from Adobe, review a spotlight on cinematography from Canon, or hear experts talk about how film creates social change. Other panels include information regarding legal issues impacting filmmakers, a discussion of the digital age of film, the rise of tablet storytelling formats, and the need for research.

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival will also feature a number of live music performances, panels incorporating songwriters and singers, and an event titled A Celebration of Music in Film. Participants will also be able to take part in experimental creative spaces that provide multimedia presentations and experiences inspired by a range of subjects, from the science of coral to the cities of the future.

Many people think of small films when they think of the Sundance Film Festival. However, big names in moviemaking have been involved with the festival in the past, and the 2013 event will continue this tradition. Projects involving names including Scarlett Johansson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ashton Kutcher are to appear on the film rosters. In fact, one film that is highly anticipated by many fans is "jOBS," in which Ashton Kutcher will depict Apple's Steve Jobs. These films are all part of a noncompetitive section of the festival, as they are headlined by a major star. Generally, this section of the festival provides a launch point for such films while allowing the festival a strong marketing base.

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival lineup will continue a tradition of strong storytelling, deep themes, and courageous filmmaking decisions. In keeping with the times, the festival is also pushing innovation and technology to the forefront in its film choices and panels.