The Sundance Film Festival is on, based in the wealthy resort of Park City, Utah, up on a snowy mountain not far from Salt Lake City attracting movie aficionados, show biz wannabes, groupies, and skiers.
Most are there to embrace (or worship) the commanding heights of our culture industry. There were plenty of contradictions on display as well.
The actor Robert Redford who created Sundance seems to have become less infatuated with the annual spectacle. The Hollywood Reporter profiled him, noting, "Redford seems ambivalent about the festival's success, however, hostile to the corporate and marketing forces overwhelmed his counter-cultural creation, while appreciative about everything it has achieved."
Journalists who cover show biz were even less excited, reported Sharon Waxman, editor or the Hollywood website The Wrap:
"If you weren't at Sundance this year, it's just as well. The lack of a breakout, buzzy film that had everyone talking tells us something about the challenged state of independent film. While the festival had glimmers of excitement, the movies were -- in the aggregate -- interesting but not inspiring, thought-provoking but not thrilling.
In short, not essential enough to grab a distracted public's attention."
While most of the consciousness there these days still revolves around commerce and Hollywood type deal-making, some major hard hitting documentaries are shown, films we rarely see on TV.
Ironically, one that I saw, "Concerning Violence" was based on the text of 1960's revolutionary and psychiatrist Franz Fanon who in his bestseller, The Wretched of The Earth wrote that the road to decolonization was inevitably and necessarily a violent one.
A Swedish production, it is competing with less controversial fare like a tribute to the State's native son, Mitt Romney. Sundance showed the Fanon inspired film on the eve of the national holiday celebrating America's most loved apostle of non-violence.