Sundance kicked off this afternoon with the Opening Press Conference, featuring Sundance Film Festival Director Geoffrey Gilmore, the President and Founder of the Sundance Institute, Robert Redford, and In Bruges director Martin McDonagh (not pictured). Redford's opening remarks spoke to the Festival as an agent of -- and subject to -- change. Redford cited the Festival and the Institute's efforts to "create product that is different," while Gilmore noted that in 2008, Sundance has "... more new film makers this year than any since our first."

Gilmore also spoke to the New Frontier and Midnight programmes of the Festival, noting how they, in many ways, represent "the most innovative aspect, the most risk-taking aspect of the Festival." The trio took questions from the audience, including Eugene Hernandez from IndieWire's point-blank question about whether the WGA strike will be putting an added focus on this year's Festival as a possible source of new films for distributors. Redford demurred to Gilmore, who noted how "the film people come to Sundance talking about isn't the film people leave Sundance talking about" and suggesting that over the next ten days, anything could happen. Redford was asked about the politics of the Festival, and if 2008's role as an election year would shine a new light on the films here. Redford pointed out the Festival's long-standing commitment to documentary films as an alternate form of political discourse, and when asked if he was endorsing any specific candidate in 2008, Redford simply answered with a drawn-out and slightly exhausted "Nooooo ..." And with that, Sundance began -- so keep it here at Cinematical during the next ten days for all the coverage you need from Park City.