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Film Festival Kicks Off With Hawaiian Flair

Film Festival Kicks Off With Hawaiian Flair

Posted - Jan. 17, 2003 at 5:13 p.m.



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Arts Specialist Carole Mikita reportingThe glamour... the glitz.. the black wardrobe!

It's Sundance Season.

The 25th Annual Sundance Film Festival had the familiar look for opening night last night. The stars walking the red carpet at Abravanel Hall here in Salt Lake, and literally hundreds of reporters and photographers capturing the moment. It was the place to see and be seen last night.

Today the event moved to Park City, where the festival received a blessing in a traffic-stopping performance.

It was certainly a lively way to start the festival day, and yet another indication of just how successful this event has become.

Everything came to a halt for a minute on Main Street. Hawaiians here to promote their own Maui Film Festival braved the 30 degree temperature, and offered a traditional blessing.

"It just felt like an appropriate way to announce our presence to Sundance and to open this thing in a way that we would open a special event in Hawaii," says Barry Rivers with the Maui Film Festival.

Just up the street, screenings had already started. Diehard film buffs keep coming back, and so do those with a nose for business.

"I think there's just an energy you can't really put into words with Sundance. When I lived here in Park City last year, you could feel it, when all of the people from out of town came in," says Idaho Falls resident Jared Andrus.

"I've been coming since 1994 and it's always a great joy to be here and pick up films. I'm a sales agent, so I pick up films for the European market," says Dutch film buyer Sidney Neder.

The director and stars of last night's premiere talked with reporters, shedding some light on independent moviemaking versus Hollywood. They have all worked on successful studio pictures.

The idea for his film "Levity" came from Ed Solomon's college experience working with prison inmates and remembering one young man, in for murder, who always held his high school yearbook picture.

"A lot of people make little films, so they can go on and make big films. I feel like, if anything, I worked in big films so that I could make, I would say, little films, or films that are meaningful," Solomon says.

Holly Hunter has two films in the festival and is receiving a special award.

"I mean, I'm just really grateful, truly. I've been on both sides of the fence. You know, it's hard for me to get a job, and it always has been from the beginning and it's still hard for me to get a job, so I'm really happy," Hunter says.

Holly Hunter's tribute will be Tuesday evening in Park City. The Maui Film Festival is not until June in Hawaii. There are other smaller festivals, one called Slamdance, that have sprung up because of Sundance.

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