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In the Know * A Look at The Week Ahead

Sundance Gets Early Start This Week

January 07, 2002

The picturesque ski resort town of Park City, Utah, is once again bracing for the annual onslaught of Hollywood filmmakers, executives, agents and the attendant media coverage as the Sundance Film Festival, the annual celebration of independent movies that was co-founded by Robert Redford, kicks off Thursday--a little earlier than usual because of the Winter Olympics in February.

Already, locals report, more than 100 inches of snow has fallen on the mountain hamlet, but that isn't such a bad thing, in the mind of festival co-director Geoffrey Gilmore: "I always felt that every time we get a lot of snow, it calms everybody down a little bit and creates a nice atmosphere."

This year, 16 films are finalists in the dramatic competition, ranging from "Personal Velocity," a film starring Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey and Fairuza Balk about three women trying to deal with difficult romantic relationships, to "Narc," a gritty drama starring Ray Liotta, Jason Patric and Busta Rhymes about big-city cops investigating a colleague's murder.

The big question on many people's minds is whether any of this year's films will become next year's Oscar candidates.

It's become common for films that unspool at Sundance to go on to become the hottest independent films of the year. "In the Bedroom" and "Memento" were both discovered at last year's Sundance and now are two of the most talked-about films of the year.

This year, there is already considerable buzz about a new Jennifer Aniston film, "The Good Girl," which is premiering at Sundance but is not part of the competition.

It concerns a young wife who begins an affair with an oddball stock boy who thinks he's Holden Caulfield, protagonist of J.D. Salinger's novel "The Catcher in the Rye."

Compiled by Times staff writers

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