Sundance Film Festival Trend: Homegrown Films

LITTLE BIRDS director Elgin James

Here’s one to file under Sundance Film Festival 2011 trends, and frankly, it’s kind of a heart-warmer: A record number of films in the festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition were nurtured in the Sundance Institute’s workshops for emerging filmmakers. As Brooks Barnes notes in Wednesday’s New York Times:

A number of currents run through the 2011 festival, which stretches from Thursday until Jan. 30 in Park City, Utah, but perhaps the most notable one involves the large number of homegrown titles. Six of the 16 movies selected for the United States Dramatic Competition, including the buzzy LITTLE BIRDS from Mr. [Elgin] James, were shaped in the Sundance Institute’s workshops — a record.

Sundance’s labs, now in their 30th year, emphasize creativity over commerciality. So it is unlikely that these six films will generate many headlines about selling for big money to the likes of Fox Searchlight. But the lack of commercial hype is part of why they merit attention, said Robert Redford, who founded the mentoring programs along with the festival.

“The lab films are a reminder, before the noise from the ambush marketers and paparazzi starts to take over, of what we have always focused on here,” Mr. Redford said. “Our purpose is to push and promote new films and emerging filmmakers who have ideas that are different and challenging and fresh — delicate work that could get trampled by the mainstream movie industry.”

The full story can be found here.

Be sure to satisfy all your festival needs with the latest buzz, top stories, and celebrity interviews from Sundance Channel’s coverage of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.