The Sundance Institute has announced its lineup for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
More than 110 feature-length films will be screened at the annual festival in Utah, spread across four cities: Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance.
We are, and always have been, a festival about the filmmakers. So what are they doing? What are they saying? They are making statements about the changing wolrd we are living in, founder and president Robert Redford said in a statement.
Looking at this year's submissions, the result is more fully realized visions and stronger stories . . . the overall quality of the films in the 2012 Competition section will make for an exciting Festival and a remarkable year ahead for independent film audiences everywhere, added festival director John Cooper.
As the largest independent film festival in the U.S., Sundance has selected and screened several Hollywood classics since its very first festival in 1978.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape made director Steven Soderbergh a household name in 1989, while Reservoir Dogs put Quentin Tarantino on every actor's list in 1992.
In January, Sundance screened films like Martha Marcy May Marlene, Like Crazy, Another Happy Day and Another Earth, some of which are now receiving Oscar buzz, as the award season comes into full gear.
Here are five things to know about the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, scheduled to take place from Jan. 19 to 29.
The Numbers Game
Despite an increase in the number of feature films submitted (4,042 for 2012, 3,812 for 2011), there is a decrease in the number of feature films selected.
The 2012 Sundance Film Festival will screen 110 features, compared to 118 from 2011.
Still, there is a lot to be excited about, as 88 of these features will enjoy world premieres at Sundance in January.
The A-List Red Carpet
It's no surprise that as Sundance continues to grow, so will the number of A-List stars who will walk the red carpet. The 2012 Festival will welcome the likes of Michael Cera and Amanda Seyfried for their drama The End of Love, Lou Diamond Phillips for the hip-hop film Filly Brown, and John Krasinski and Olivia Thirlby for their drama Nobody Walks.
Blythe Danner, William H. Macy, Helen Hunt and Megan Mullally also appear in films that will screen at Sundance.
Expect the after parties and musical acts to impress in 2012 as well -- The Roots, Lauryn Hill and Snoop Dogg were just some of the acts that performed at the festival earlier this year.
An Economic Festival
Most of the films selected for the Sundance in 2012 were overwhelmingly linked by one theme: the economy.
In these challenging economic times, filmmakers have had to be more resourceful and truly independent in their approaches to filmmaking, festival director John Cooper said in a statement.
We are proud to see the Festival emerging as a key indicator of the health and creativity of our filmmaking community, he added.
Marriage and family were also lingering themes for the 2012 Sundance films.
I found that a lot -- questioning ideas of the American Dream, Cooper told Reuters.
While several films will feature directorial debuts for some, others will feature the work of those with former careers in the industry, the LA Times points out.
Mark Webber of Scott Pilgrim fame trades in his acting chops for the other side of the camera. Webber is the director and screenwriter of The End of Love, starring himself, Michael Cera, Jason Ritter and Amanda Seyfried.
Film distributor and publicist Ava DuVernay (who brought us The Help) enters the festival as the director and screenwriter for Middle of Nowhere, a drama about an African-American woman who deals with a marriage crisis and her own identity.
NEXT Celebrates its Third Year
Created in 2010, NEXT will continue for a third year in January. The category was introduced to showcase low-budget films.
Selections for this out-of-competition section, along with Spotlight, Park City at Midnight and New Frontier sections, will be announced on Dec. 1.
For a complete list of the films selected for the four main competing categories, visit the official Sundance Film Festival Web site.
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