The festival's closing film is "Alpha Dog," a crime story about a young, notorious drug dealer who became one of the youngest offenders ever to appear on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Once again, the screen credits read like a Who's Who of Hollywood. Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone are among the all-star cast.
Other films in the running this year feature the acting talents of John Malkovich, Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Eva Saint Marie, Ed Norton, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Forest Whitaker, Ben Kingsley, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu and Tim Robbins. Mind you the films may be written, directed and produced outside the Hollywood system, but it must be nearly impossible for some independent filmmakers to land that sort of talent.
Still, there are dozens of films this year that do not boast big names or big budgets. The subject matters are diverse and decidedly non-Hollywood. Cancer, crosswords, local elections, disease and drugs, and the war in Iraq are among the themes.
And for fledgling filmmakers who may be discouraged by all the star power, there is this to remember. Of all the films entered in last year's Sundance, including such critically acclaimed movies as "Hustle and Flow," "Murderball," and "New York Doll," it was a little nature documentary that slammed them all.
"March of the Penguins" was the big box-office champ. Sometimes, you get lucky. Sometimes you don't need all those stars -- just a good, well-executed idea. Redford ("Bob" to the locals) must have been proud.