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Sundance Opens and Rides the Waves at Park City

Robert Redford’s opening night speech gave tribute the roots of independent filmmaking and how Sundance first started. For a documentary film has now been highlighted as the opening night choice for this prestigious film festival. Redford admitted that in the 60’s he started surfing and now he rides waves much different than when he was younger. It was a joy and a pleasure to have RIDING GIANTS be a historical part of the Sundance Festival this 2004.

Sundance Film Festival now it's 23rd year opened this year with a Documentary for the first time. RIDING GIANTS Directed by Stacy Peralta shares the story of an adrenaline-pumping group of surfers who dare the odds and surfs waves on an average of 30 to 40 feet. The surfers utilize wave runners to assist them to tow in to position to take off on these mountains of water. The visual defies nature just thinking of it, but when seeing the amazing footage on the big screen you couldn't but help but feel that Sundance's Opening night was riding the excitement to a new height of cinema.

This is the second time for Peralta to be a guest at Sundance. Two years ago he garnered success with the skateboard documentary DOGTOWN AND ZBOYS, this went to with the audience favorite award in 2002. Along with Agi Orsi, Producer, and Paul Crowder, Editor, Stacy has assembled new additions to his action sports team of filmmakers. Writer Sam George has the years of experience telling the story of surfing, while he is the editor at one of the premiere publications on surfing "Surfer Magazine”. Also on board is Laird Hamilton who along with Dave Kalama are most well know for being the Evil Kinivel of water. Taking the most nods for braver on waves is Greg Noll, to many is the original Big Wave Riding Man.

The popularity of surfing has had it's peaks and valleys in the past, but with the mass media blitz lately of movies coming out heralding surfing this is one hip rider for only the coastal regions but for the whole world. Just this year STEP INOT LIQUID directed by Dana Brown son of legendary surf filmmaker Bruce Brown (ENDLESS SUMMER) have record-breaking box office with his feature film. Large Australian surfer wear company Billabong came along in the fall with BILLABONG ODDIESIY again to wide release and appreciative crowds.

Sundance is set to make its mark for having a documentary open up this year and delivery a hip phenomenon to a winter resort. The film devotees may have come for narrative features but came away with a respect for these wave-riding giants of men who dare to take of on a 40-foot wall of hard pressure water.

Not the entire cast was present because as at this moment many of the big wave riders are in Hawaii as a large winter storm has produced the giant's waves of the season. It was a hard decision at the airport as some surfers couldn't decides to get on a plane to go inland or fulfill their passion and desire to scream down a face of liquid. Laird Hamilton was the most notable for being absent from Opening Night.

Sundance Film Festival has in store for these next eleven days over 250 films from across the world, bring the very best of the cinema, with many World Premieres and North American Premieres. Sundance Film Festival will continue till January 25th while attracting over 50,000 people to this lovely ski resort.

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is dedicated to the development of artists of independent vision and the exhibition of their new work. Since its inception, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for filmmakers and other artists. Sundance Institute conducts national and international labs for filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, writers, and theatre artists. The annual Sundance Film Festival, a major program of Sundance Institute, is held each January and is considered the premier showcase for American and international independent film. The Institute supports nonfiction filmmakers through the Documentary Film Program by providing year-round support through the Sundance Documentary Fund and a series of programs that nurture their growth, encourage the exploration of innovative nonfiction storytelling, and promote the exhibition of documentary films to a broader audience. Through the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the Institute is committed to invigorating the national theatre movement with original and creative work and to nurturing the diversity of artistic expression among theatre artists. The Institute also maintains The Sundance Collection at UCLA, a unique archive of independent film.


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