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Political Issues, Climate Change Dominate At Sundance 2017

Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford speaks at a Sundance Film Festival press conference, Jan. 19, 2017.

Thousands of people have descended on Park City for the Sundance Film Festival, which opened Thursday, and political undertones abound in the films showcased this year.   

The film festival begins just as the nation transitions to a new president. Festival director John Cooper says independent film is important as ever to bring diverse voices to a conversation.

“It’s where you go to get the stories of other people, the other places, the issues from a different angle,” Cooper says.

Actor and Sundance founder Robert Redford says while the Sundance Institute is non-political, it supports independent filmmakers and the stories they want to tell.

“And if politics comes up in the stories that the filmmakers are telling, so be it,” Redford says. “But we don’t play advocacy. We just are here to support the stories being told.”

This year, those stories include plenty of political topics, including race relations, the war in Syria, an even a documentary about Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Environmentally-oriented films are generally a Sundance staple, but festival officials saw an influx of films focusing on climate change this year, including a sequel to Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

And though not affiliated with the festival, a women’s march will take place Saturday in Park City, led by comedian Chelsea Handler, in order to protest Trump’s policies.

The Sundance Film Festival began on Thursday and runs through Sunday, Jan. 29.

Get Tickets to Sundance Film Festival screenings here.

Watch the entire “Day One Press Conference” here.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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