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Sundance shines on newcomers

January 25, 2004
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The Sundance Film Festival drew to a close on Saturday with its annual prize-giving. And it was a glorious moment for a few independent film-makers who stole the spotlight from an array of Hollywood heavyweights.

A previously unknown director called Shane Carruth admitted to being "stunned" after winning the best drama award for his $7,000 movie Primer. The best documentary prize meanwhile went to Dig!, which charts the rivalry between two rock singers.

Sundance founder Robert Redford will no doubt be pleased that the festival has reconfirmed its status as the home of independent cinema. The veteran actor has faced criticism in recent years that the event has become too "Hollywood-ised", but this year's prizegiving put paid to those allegations. Even the presence of some of Tinseltown's biggest names over the previous 11 days couldn't stop two low-budget movies taking the top prizes.

Ashton Kutcher was accompanied by girlfriend Demi Moore while promoting his new film The Butterfly Affect.And newly pregnant Courteney Cox and her husband David Arquette were also in town, to help the Friends star publicise her latest release November. Other high profile appearances at Park City included the likes of Matt Dillon, Jane Fonda, Willem Dafoe and Christina Applegate.

But in the end the awards ceremony, which was hosted by Donnie Darko star Jake Gyllenhaal, saved the glory for relative unknowns.

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Photo: ©
As soon as the awards ceremony came to a close, Robert Redford set off for Cuba for the premiere of The Motorcycle Diaries, his new biopic of revolutionary Che GuevaraPhoto: © PA
Photo: ©
The prize-giving was hosted, in characteristically flamboyant fashion, by Good Girl stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Zooey DeschanelPhoto: © PA

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