|Photo: Mark Maziarz, Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau|
But it all just added to the zany atmosphere on the hilly, snow-dusted streets of Park City.
Redford began this film festival in an attempt to shift the industry's focus away from Hollywood's commercialism.
In 1981, he and volunteers began screening quality films and bestowing awards on outstanding works.
To further support the mission, Redford established the nonprofit
It's hard to dispute Redford's conclusion that Hilton, when she briefly stole the spotlight by merely attending a nighttime party, was a distraction from the festival's good intentions.
Last year, I missed Paris Hilton -- thankfully -- and as I prepare for my third festival, the sole thing I'm dreading is the superficiality that can at times dampen the fun: the high-fashion consciousness, the air-kissing and inane meetings between "important" people and their fawning wannabes.
Celebrity sightings are an inevitable and usually unremarkable part of Sundance -- in fact, actors and directors often answer audience questions after screenings. (From what I've observed, hearing stars speak directly to an audience can forever alter one's impression of them, for better or worse.)But for me, the true joy of Sundance lies in the bounty of exceptional movies. I experience the entire 10-day festival as a celebration of independent documentary and narrative films in a picturesque mountain setting. In both 2005 and 2006, I watched countless short films and at least 30 feature-length movies, and I barely scratched the surface. I also revel in the thought-provoking forums with industry leaders and the great concerts at the