The 11-day Sundance Film festival opened in Park City, Utah, on Thursday night. It will run until January 27. Robert Redford, who founded the festival, opened the event with festival director John Cooper and Sundance Institute director Keri Putnam, with a news conference at the Egyptian Theatre. Half of the films that will featured at the festival were directed by women, a first for the festival. Projectors began rolling at the MARC Theater with premiere of Director Marc Silver’s documentary, Who Is Dayani Cristal which was featured in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.
Also premiering on Thursday night was Citizen Koch, the documentary exposing Charles and David Koch the business powerhouses who funded efforts convince the Supreme Court to give First Amendment rights to corporations. This paved the way for them to spend unlimited campaign money on behalf of pro-business candidates. They also fronted for the Tea(bag) Party movement. Also premiering on Thursday night was Inequality for All, about the gospels of former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, and Dirty Wars, a documentary exposé of the American war effort in the Middle East accusing President Obama of continuing the worst practices of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
The festival added four feature films to its lineup on Friday, including the thriller Magic Magic from Chilean director Sebastian Silva that featured Juno Temple, Michael Cera and Emily Browning. Also added were the music documentary Muscle Shoals, the comedy Wrong Cops and a special screening of El Mariachi from Director Robert Rodriguez, the 1993 movie that was preserved by the Sundance Collection at UCLA program. The festival will be showing 119 feature-length films.
Greg Camalier directed Muscle Shoals, which tells the story of Fame Studios in Alabama, where the Muscle Shoals sound and Booker T and the MGs was born. The documentary features interviews with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Gregg Allman, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Alicia Keys and Bono.
Saying "diversity is the point" of the independent film showcase, Robert Redford said in an interview that "What Sundance stands for is giving new voices and new filmmakers an opportunity to be seen and heard. We show what's there, and what comes up will usually give you an indication of changing times. The festival, being as diverse as it is, shows all kinds of content, and that gives the audience a chance to choose. That's not quite so available in the main marketplace."