Tonight we open the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and launch into ten days of films, new friends, old comrades and a vibrant community of cinema lovers. For me, it's a moment that's filled with both excitement and anxiety. If the anxiety starts to overtake me, I remember all the filmmakers I've met over the last few months. I remember that my own anxiety and excitement pales in comparison to that of the artists who are premiering their new work for us. And that puts it all into perspective.
I can tell you one thing for certain: the class of 2011 is vibrant, passionate, and eager to share their stories. Some of these filmmakers I've known for years (many of whom first came to Sundance with a short) and it's especially rewarding to have them back, and it's equally awesome to welcome a talented crop of new faces. I'm always inspired by the diversity of these individuals, and by the creative journeys that bring them to Sundance.
I urge you to look out for the filmmakers with the ubiquitous "Film" badge, and to talk with them. Because tonight is the moment when the Festival no longer belongs to those of us who put it on. Tonight the Festival belongs to all of you. And if past history is any indication, you will make it another great year to be at Sundance.
I wish you a great Festival whether you will be attending or tuning in from home for one of the many live streams. Or maybe you are lucky enough to be in one of the Sundance Film Festival U.S.A. cities - Boston, Brooklyn, Nashville, Madison, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco or L.A. on January 27. If you are Utah I invite you to step outside your comfort zone for at least one film you wouldn't normally see. You might be surprised. And if you still want more there is plenty to choose from at the Festival Co-op, our new venue for sponsors, and in our many official venues that buzz round the clock with panels, art, and dialogue. Be there… is here.