Festival founder Robert Redford said he selected the location back in 1980 because he wanted its focus to be on independent films, far from the commercial pressures of Hollywood and New York.
That overriding goal is why organizers aren't overly sensitive about annual cries from conservative voices, such as the Sutherland Institute, who on Jan. 12 issued its annual statement asking the state of Utah to stop supporting the festival because some Sundance films are obscene and contrary to state taxpayers' values.
"Sometimes, the narrowest minds barks the loudest. We need to ignore them," he said, adding that the festival contributes some $80 million annually to the local economy. "We bring something to the table."
At the news conference, which was moderated by Tribune movie critic Sean P. Means, festival director John Cooper said he was looking forward to the many films and events on this year's program that revolve around music.