Sundance 2014: Big Stars Crowd Out Indie Competition

Sundance 2014: Big Stars Crowd Out Indie Competition

Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival began 30 years ago as a way for unknown actors, writers and directors to make their way in the movie realm.

This January’s festival lineup is chockablock with stars, familiar names whose very presence in the festival tells the changing face of the indie movie scene.

The just-announced lineup includes movies starring Lena Dunham, Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Richard Jenkins, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Aaron Paul and Anna Kendrick.

Independent films demand stars to get noticed in an increasingly crowded marketplace. It’s a simple fact of the modern movie age, when even a branded product like Battleship can bomb and name directors like Spike Lee fail to draw a crowd.

Indie movie studios have been shuttering in recent years, and the advent of home viewing of first-run indies has yet to save the industry.

One thing that hasn’t changed about the festival–its left-leaning product. Among the films to screen next month in Park City, UT:

  • Camp X-Ray follows a young woman who strikes up a friendship with a detainee at Guantanamo Bay.
  • Fishing without Nets tells another tale of Somali pirates, but this time from Somali fishermen’s perspective.
  • The Case Against 8: A documentary examining the battle to overturn California’s Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage.