This Year’s Sundance: More independent, less commercial?

… That’s the word on the street, or at least the buzz that new Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper is trying to create.

He believes the fare at this year’s edition of Sundance to be more indie and innovative, and less overtly commercial.

The 26th annual fest, with 113 features over 10 days, kicks off today, and some observers have pointed to a 2010 fest with markedly darker fare, according to New York Times writer Brooks Barnes.

“Prominent examples include “Blue Valentine,” a bleak portrait of a failing marriage starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, and “Sympathy for Delicious,” about a paralyzed disc jockey who seeks faith healing, starring Orlando Bloom and Mark Ruffalo. “The Company Men,” the first feature from John Wells (“ER”), stars Ben Affleck and Kevin Costner and tackles the dreary topic of corporate downsizing. Ryan Reynolds spends the entirety of “Buried” in a coffin.”

Because of the box-office success and critical reception of last year’s big winner, Precious, some filmmakers are encouraged about the prospects for striking deals with distributors.

” “This potentially could be the beginning of the beginning — the renaissance we’ve all been hoping for,” said Kevin Iwashina, a co-founder of Parlay Media, a film sales and production company.”

for the rest of the Times story, click here.

Kenneth Turan (L.A. Times) on Sundance)

John Cooper, Trevor Groth interviewed by Wall Street Journal