The Sundance Film Festival is underway in Utah featuring 110 independent films from 29 countries. John Horn, host of KPCC's The Frame, is in Utah to cover the festival and he gave Take Two the inside scoop on what to look for this year.
How the #MeToo movement and the recent sexual assault allegations in Hollywood are impacting Sundance
Harvey Weinstein was historically an influential producer at the festival, Horn explained. Weinstein faced numerous sexual assault allegations from women starting in October, 2017. Some of the alleged incidents actually took place at Sundance in past years, so Horn said that the festival is now trying to distance itself from Weinstein.
Horn said when he picked up his credentials for the festival there was something included that he'd never seen at Sundance before.
"Stuck into every credential, filmmaker, producer, media member was this: We value your safety. Sundance Institute is committed to allowing attendees to experience the Sundance Film Festival free of harassment, discrimination, sexism and threatening or disrespectful behavior."
Horn also said there are documentaries about the lack of representation for women behind the camera.
How Sundance is handling diversity
One of the opening films for the festival was Blindspotting, directed by Carlos López Estrada, who is a Latino director. The film stars and is co-written by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs. Diggs is known for winning a Tony for his performance in the musical, Hamilton. The film tells the story of Oakland and racial violence, Horn said.
"[It] definitely suggested that this is going to be a festival where underrepresented voices are making films, and the stories that people are going to see are about people that they don't encounter in typical Hollywood productions."
When the average movie-goer can see these films
Very few films at Sundance will actually get wide distribution at movie theaters across the country, Horn said, so having a way for lots of people to see them is actually a big issue.
"There are a lot of movies that if you don't see it at Sundance, you might never see it at all. Or it might be on some tiny streaming service that you've never heard of."
However, Horn said one film he'd just seen at Sundance, Private Life, written and directed by Tamara Jenkins, was a Netflix film. So it will be available for all Netflix users to stream soon.