Oscar-winning actor and festival founder Robert Redford has released a statement confirming that Sundance London will be returning to the capital for the next two years. This is following the success of the first ever British version of the festival, which was staged at the O2 in Greenwich in April 2012.
In a statement, Redford explained:
“Sundance was warmly welcomed to London by engaged and adventurous audiences eager to take a chance on independent film, and this makes a second year all the more exciting for us…The vibrant arts community in London has informed this decision as much as anything. Seeing what comes of nurturing a broader global community for new voices and varied perspectives in American independent film and music seems a worthy 21st-century endeavour.”
The Sundance Film Festival takes place every January in Park City, Utah, and showcases the best of American independent film and music. It was first launched in 1978 and has only grown in popularity and esteem; it was only a matter of time until Sundance began to edge its way further onto the international film scene.
While the US version of the festival usually takes place amidst Utah’s January snows, the timing of the inaugural Sundance London pitted it against England’s April showers. A much scaled down version of the US festival, Sundance London 2012 featured a special selection of fourteen feature films screened in Utah (some of them European premieres), as well as eight short films and performances from seventeen different musical acts, including Rufus and Martha Wainwright.
UK viewers were not treated to a screening of the US festival’s top prize winner Beasts of the Southern Wild, but this was more than made up for by the carefully selected line-up of future indie hits such as For Ellen starring Paul Dano, and time-travelling dramedy Safety Not Guaranteed. The selection was also very documentary heavy; screened alongside narrative films was hard-hitting environmental film Chasing Ice, as well as Eugene Jarecki’s unflinching investigation into the US ‘war on drugs’, The House I Live In.
Director of the Sundance Film Festival John Cooper has spoken about his hopes for the continuation of the UK festival:
“In addition to exposing European audiences to American film and music, we will continue connecting with the UK and European film-making community through workshops, panels and conversations designed to create a forum for identifying commonalities of independent film-making, as well an exchange of best practices and new ideas.”
The exact line-up and dates of Sundance London 2013 are still to be confirmed.