Sundance looks East

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Sundance Film Festival chairman Robert Redford has said that his event is engaged in early talks to lend its name to a sister film festival in Abu Dhabi.

Sundance Festival chairman Robert Redford has said that his event is engaged in early talks to lend its name to a sister film festival in Abu Dhabi. "It makes total sense we would extend our mission into the Middle East, " Redford told reporters at a news conference ahead of the festival's opening on 15 January 2009. He said festival organisers have been approached by people–although he did not say whom–in the United Arab Emirates city about holding a festival there. "We are in discussions, but nothing has been signed, " he said. The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in the state of Utah, in the US. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the US, attracting 9, 000 submissions from which 200 movies are selected for showcasing. Held every January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, Utah, as well as the Sundance Resort, the festival is the premier showcase for new work from American and international independent filmmakers. The festival comprises competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, both feature–length films and short films, and a group of non–competitive showcase sections, including the New Frontier, Spectrum, and Park City @ Midnight. In addition to discovering filmmaking's newest talent through the Festival's programme of documentary, dramatic, and short film, Festivalgoers experience live music shows, panel discussions with leading filmmakers and industry figures, parties celebrating the Festival community, and more. Sundance began in Salt Lake City in 1978 as the Utah/US Film Festival in an effort to attract more filmmakers to Utah. Founded by Sterling Van Wagenen and John Earle with Robert Redford, the goal of the festival was to showcase what the potential of independent film could be. At the time, the main focus of the event was to present a series of retrospective films and filmmaker panel discussions; however it also included a small programme of films made outside the Hollywood system, i. e. independent films. Management of the Festival was taken over by the Sundance Institute, a non–profit organisation, in 1985. In 1991, the Festival was officially renamed the Sundance Film Festival, after Redford's character The Sundance Kid from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Many famous independent filmmakers, including Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Steven Soderbergh, James Wan and Jim Jarmusch had their big break at Sundance. It is also responsible for bringing wider attention to films such as Saw, The Blair Witch Project, Better Luck Tomorrow, Primer, Reservoir Dogs, Little Miss Sunshine, El Mariachi, Clerks, Thank You for Smoking, Sex, lies, and Videotape and Napoleon Dynamite. Three Seasons was the first in Festival history to ever receive both the Grand Jury Award and Audience Award in 1999, the same as God Grew Tired of Us and Quinceaáera in 2006.

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