The 2018 Sundance Film Festival kicked off yesterday in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Mountain Resort. Every year the festival plays host to an impressive array of independent films, both foreign and domestic, and has featured such successful films as Blood Simple, Hoosiers, Reservoir Dogs, Clerks, Memento, 28 Days Later, SuperSize Me, Boyhood, and more recent notables like Dope, Mudbound, and Wind River (just to name a few!). Sundance not only presents feature-length films but also shorts and documentaries, and presents awards in such categories as acting, cinematography, screenwriting, directing, and short-filmmaking. The 2018 celebration will showcase 110 feature-length films from 29 countries; 47 of those films come from first-time filmmakers, out of a pool of 13,468 total submissions, including features, shorts, and documentaries. Some of this years more anticipated entries include Juliet Naked, Wildlife, Heart Beats Loud, The Catcher Was a Spy, and documentaries like Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, and Our New President. The 2018 celebration, however, comes at the helm of the whirlwind that was 2017.
Trump has had his fair share of run-ins with Hollywood since his election in November 2016. That’s without mentioning his highly controversial election campaign that found him dismissing his own comments on sexual harassment as, “locker room talk,” and calling US-Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. Even more recent, however, is the ongoing #MeToo movement that took Hollywood by storm, set off by the now famous New York Times article accusing film mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting and raping up to 12 different women.
Since the article was published in October, a total of 84 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of criminal and sexually inappropriate behavior, as well as an overwhelming number of celebrity personalities including Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Al Franken, and Louis CK, all of whom have effectively been ousted from their respective industries. In the wake of such controversy, and just a week after the Black Dress display at the Golden Globes, Sundance is layering on even more support for the movement. Panels of women working in film will be held throughout the 10-day festival, and a Respect Rally is scheduled for this Saturday on Main Street in Park City, with activists like Jane Fonda and Common set to address the crowds.