Sundance 2010 launches

Can it really be that time of year again?

It seems just yesterday that we were getting our first glimpses of Precious and (500) Days of Summer at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

Well, it’s back again. And the annual event is promising to stay true to its roots in independent filmmaking with a slew of micro-budget flicks that need and deserve your love and attention.

This year, the Utah-set festival is operating under a new director, John Cooper, who is apparently keen to continue to push those filmic boundaries with even more varied and interesting works.

Bob Berney, the big boss of independent film distributor Apparition, said:

“The past couple of years have been pretty challenging on the independent film side, in general. However, the audience is still there. It [2010] will be really good for independent films and ... quality films will find their way out there.”

Cooper has enforced changes to the festival that start with tonight’s grand opening. Instead of just one big premiere, the opening night will now consist of three events, each individually showcasing feature-length dramas, documentaries and short films.

But what films can we expect to hear about?

Well there’s Ben Affleck drama The Company Men , an almost unrecognisable Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Hesher (above), and Allen Ginsberg biopic HOWL for a start. Check out a full list of the competitors here .

The festival will come to a close on 31 January, the day after the awards are handed out.

Stay tuned for more from the fest as we get it.

Attending the festival this year? Tell us what you’re looking forward to...