In the next 10 days, Sundance Film Festival attendees will see movies and Sundance-developed projects from 45 countries, but at Thursday afternoon's opening news conference, much of the conversation focused on Utah.

Festival founder Robert Redford said he selected the location back in 1980 because he wanted its focus to be on independent films, far from the commercial pressures of Hollywood and New York.

That overriding goal is why organizers aren't overly sensitive about annual cries from conservative voices, such as the Sutherland Institute, who on Jan. 12 issued its annual statement asking the state of Utah to stop supporting the festival because some Sundance films are obscene and contrary to state taxpayers' values.

Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford listens to speakers during a news conference to open the festival in Park City, Utah, January 17, 2013.
Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford listens to speakers during a news conference to open the festival in Park City, Utah, January 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

"They should read the[U.S.] Constitution," Redford said in response.

"Sometimes, the narrowest minds barks the loudest. We need to ignore them," he said, adding that the festival contributes some $80 million annually to the local economy. "We bring something to the table."

At the news conference, which was moderated by Tribune movie critic Sean P. Means, festival director John Cooper said he was looking forward to the many films and events on this year's program that revolve around music.