It might just be a transformative year for the Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off today in Park City, Utah. This’ll be the first outing under John Cooper, the festival’s first new director in two decades. Cooper’s goal: to make the festival “less commercial, more independent,” he tells the New York Times. The selections this year are on the whole smaller and scrappier, with fewer studio premieres.
This year also will see the debut of “Next,” a section devoted entirely to “low- or no-budget” films. The festival will be especially important this year because the independent film scene is in disarray, with many studios shuttering their indie divisions, and the once-mighty Harvey Weinstein brought low. “We try not to think about the industry much,” says Cooper, “but I do think people are coming here to get recharged.”