Sundance rooted in truth

By By Liz Carlston

By Liz Carlston

Every year, Utah plays host to one of the world’s most respected film festivals. It’s a global phenomenon found in the mountains of Utah that is easily accessible to locals across the Wasatch Front.

The Sundance Film Festival starts today in Park City and runs until Jan. 25. Viewers can go and enjoy cutting-edge cinematography, compelling stories and hours of entertainment, both on the screen and on Main Street.

Last year, more than 45,000 people visited the festival, spending an estimated $63.3 million. Jill Miller, the institute’s general manager, said Sundance ticket sales are “on par with last year.”

The Sundance Film Festival was founded in 1981 and has enjoyed tremendous success and growth ever since.

Festival founder Robert Redford created the festival with a unique vision.

“I want Sundance to be a forum for cultural exchange and for political dialogue,” Redford said in an interview with The Daily Insider, the festival’s news service. “We’re not hearing the truth about a lot of issues and I’m worried that people are giving up and getting numb and not even bothering to look for the truth.”

Some Sundance films such as “Super Size Me” accurately portray truth, at least from the consumer’s perspective. In this instance, one will never look at a Big Mac the same way after seeing Morgan Spurlock slam down dozens of burgers and watching how dilapidated he became. Today, McDonald’s has abandoned marketing its signature sandwiches and is advertising unprocessed foods.

Sundance viewers can judge for themselves as to whether or not they find truth at this year’s festival. Not only are so many competing ideologies presented to viewers, with a common goal for filmmakers to sell their material to willing buyers and gain financial success, but the culture wars are also fully engaged with Hollywood types striving to swat the viewpoint of the average filmgoer. One has to wonder whether the viewer will actually find truth, a peddler hawking his wares or an agitator’s vision of cultural correctness.

The truth is interpreted to mean a lot of different things by different people. Like all things Hollywood, it comes down to the money, the politics and the celebrity sightings. It’d be great if Sundance could return to its roots and put the focus back on inspiring and revealing documentaries and compelling nonfiction stories.

As to finding truth, people should go and see for themselves whether Redford’s stated vision is materialized at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

[email protected]

Liz Carlston