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Sundance Film Festival kicks off

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Posted at 7:35 PM, Jan 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-18 00:42:02-05

PARK CITY, Utah - The Sundance Film Festival kicked off Thursday in Park City with founder Robert Redford speaking to the press about the annual event and its growing role in the film industry.

Redford spoke on Thursday about the changes in the 10-day festival he's seen over the years. 

"One of the things I was told when I had the idea for the festival was, 'Well that will never work. And you want to do it up in Utah, in the mountains? And you want to do it in the winter?' And I said, 'Yeah, make it weird,'" he said.

He says the idea was to create a small community for filmmakers to showcase their work, but it's turned into a huge Hollywood event that for some, is a pilgrimage.

"I've been coming out here six years. Great time. The movies are spectacular. And what is really cool is you meet all these cool people. I mean the energy here, you just feel it," said Norris Streetman, festival volunteer.

That excitement is what has made Sundance one of the most prestigious in the country.

This year, 32 of the Sundance films will come from other countries and more than 50 are from first-time filmmakers, dealing with everything from intimate relationships to political topics.

"What we found from the documentaries in particular is very immediate and very topical. A lot of time documentarians work in more of a historical perspective to solving problems," said John Cooper, director of the Sundance Film Festival.

The first film aired on Thursday with films showing through the 27th.