Sundance 2018 opens

Park City, Utah -- The 34th edition of the Sundance Film Festival got off to its usual low-key start this afternoon with its usual press conference at the Egyptian Theatre on Main Street in Park City, Utah, featuring the expected honey-soft words of liberal do-goodism from founder Robert Redford.

The famous actor/director is now 81, and he looked somewhat frail as he walked onstage with festival director John Cooper and Sundance Institute executive director Keri Putnam. But once seated with his colleagues, Redford seemed stronger, delivering his annual paean to the power of storytelling with his usual gusto.

This year's slogan, "the story is in you," succinctly sums up what Redford intended to accomplish when he founded his nonprofit institute for independent filmmaking in the mountains of Utah. The institute's vision then (as now) is as follows: "We believe that a story driven by an individual, authentic voice can awaken new ideas that have the power to delight and entertain, push creative boundaries, spark new levels of empathy and understanding, and even lead to social change."

As the curtains rise at screening venues across Park City -- as well as in Salt Lake City and at the Institute in Sundance, Utah, we'll see how well the films succeed in meeting these lofty goals.

M.L. Bream photo

Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford, left, with Keri Putnam and John Cooper on the stage of the

Egyptian Theatre in Park City, Utah, on January 18, 2018.

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© 2016 M.L. Bream