Sundance Film Festival gets started, shorts available on YouTube

By Daniel S Levine,

Park City, Utah is going to be buzzing over the next week and a half as showbusiness comes to take over the small town for the Sundance Film Festival, which starts today. If you can’t make it through, YouTube is offering users a chance to see several shorts that will be screened.

YouTube’s Screening Room channel has teamed up with organizers to post 12 short films. That’s just a small sampling of what will be shown in Park City, though. USA Today notes that 65 shorts will be shown, picked out of a record 8,102 submissions.

"Short films have always been a very important part of our programming mix," Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, told USA Today. “It's a very exciting opportunity to partner with YouTube to share these films with a much wider audience.”

Sundance really takes over Park City, with every theater being booked for movies, notes the Associated Press. The bars are filled with executives and producers making deals to get their films’ distribution and the creative minds behind the projects talk with audiences and critics.

“It's almost like Burning Man. Once a year, this tiny little town that then transforms itself into kind of a crazy film city for 10 days out of the year,” Touchy Feely director Lynn Shelton told the AP. “It's crammed with people all there for one reason. Whatever relationship they have to the industry, they're all there for the love of films.”

Actor/director Robert Redford, who started Sundance in 1985, says that it has become “overwhelming.”

“I never dreamed when we started — we didn't even know that we would last — and then when it lasted and grew, it became huge. I never anticipated that it would get to this size,” he said.

The festival has become a major launching point for films that have become Oscar contenders. Last year, Beasts of the Southern Wild was the top jury prize winner and now it is nominated for Best Picture.

You can check out the full list of films being shown at Sundance this year here. The festival runs through Jan. 27.

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