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The Northern Star

The Northern Star

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The Sundance Film Festival opens 2024 with future award winning films

Independent filmmakers gather in Park City, Utah, at The Sundance Film Festival once a year. The Sundance Film Festival acts as a showcase for new cinematic work from American and international filmmakers. It is a competition for different areas of film. Short films, feature films, and documentaries are celebrated at the festival annually.

This year, the festival began on January 18, 2024, and will conclude on January 28, 2024. These ten days are full of screenings of different genres and types of cinematic projects. The festival consists of established filmmakers and newcomers alike. This event helps people become one with the film industry. Sundance celebrates the film industry and allows people to experience different opportunities.

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Sundance allows for every type of actor to perform on a professional level. Many notable actors are starring in films this year. Actress, Lucy Liu, is starring in the film, “Presence”, alongside Julia Fox. Jesse Eisenberg is both directing and acting in his film, “A Real Pain”, with actor Kieran Culkin. Big names can pull average people into supporting Sundance and other independent filmmakers.

Including the festival, Sundance provides a program where filmmakers can come together and create projects. The program invites several fellows to screenwriting labs and intensives, so they can hone their craft with professional equipment. After the program is complete, the film that was created is premiered at the festival for critics and fans. The Deputy Director of the Feature Film Program, Ilyse McKimmie, is an individual in charge of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab.

“The Screenwriters Intensive will provide critical creative support and vital momentum to these artists as they traverse the path toward bringing their debut features to life,” McKimmie said in an interview with for their blog.

The Intensive allows filmmakers to learn ways to create unique films. The institute has an in-person festival while also being accessible for people who can not make it to the festival. While there is a physical festival, an online option lets people view select films from home. Some people are not able to make it to the festival, so an online viewing option is helpful. Many online film tickets are available for people to purchase, while some are restricted to only in-person viewing.

This festival churns out successful movies that go on to win awards. The film, “Napoleon Dynamite”, was a featured film during the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, which has become a staple of many people’s watch lists. “The Blair Witch Project” was also a film that the festival presented in 1999, which went on to make $250 million, while starting as a $60,000 budget film.

The Sundance organization also recognizes accomplished film industry members, ranging from actors to filmmakers. This year there is an Opening Night Gala: Celebrating 40 Years, where the Sundance Institute recognizes the hard work and dedication of accomplished filmmakers and actors. Robert Downey Jr. is presenting an award to Christopher Nolan for his experience in the field. 

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Joana Vicente, the CEO of the Sundance Institute, was interviewed by Sundance about the topic of awarding accomplished filmmakers and performers at the festival.

“As we step into the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival, it is a distinct honor to recognize 

Christopher Nolan, a prodigious artist whose singular talent and remarkable body of work have made him one of the most respected filmmakers of our time,” Vicente said during an interview for a blog on for this year’s awards.

The Sundance Institute believes in giving people an artistic and creative voice. Storytellers join together during the festival and are allowed to present their hard work to people with the same passions as them.

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About the Contributor
Penelope Alevrontas, Associate Arts Editor
Hi, my name is Penelope Alevrontas! I am a senior and the Associate Arts Editor for the Northern Star. I enjoy watching movies, acting, and filmmaking. I am excited and glad to be back working on the newspaper with this Journalism class.
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