The Sundance Film Festival launched its 2008 event in style today as Sundance Institute president and founder Robert Redford, festival director Geoff Gilmore and director Martin McDonagh, who helmed In Bruges, the fest’s Opening Night film, gathered for a press conference at Park City, Utah’s famed Egyptian Theatre. “As from the beginning, the Sundance Film Festival is about discovery of new talent and of issues that are resonating with filmmakers and artists alike,” notes Redford of this year’s program. Redford seems particularly excited about the many movies with a message: “This year filmmakers are putting a personal focus on issues relating to the world we live in rather than addressing them on a macro-political level,” he says. “And it’s exciting to me to see a new community of storytellers cross over from different points of origin: The playwright who brings his words to the screen, the poet who shares her story through music, the advocate who invokes social change through documentary and many other artists whose works extend beyond the screen.”

The 125 feature films that will screen during the 11-day event were culled from more than 3,620 submissions from 34 countries; 83 short films were selected from more than 5,100 submissions. Also on the roster are plenty of panels, workshops, music events, multimedia installations and, of course, parties!

For the latest on Sundance news, deals and happenings, check back to