The second Sundance London film and music festival has started, showcasing for the next four days a diverse range of live music and American independent cinema in the capital.
A trans-Atlantic spin-off the original Sundance held in the mountains of Utah, the festival will also provide the chance for audiences to pose questions to the filmmakers and view panel discussions on the major issues affecting the industry.
Robert Redford, the Oscar-winning actor and director who founded the festival, told a press conference the success of last year's inaugural event at the 02 venue led to the festival returning to the UK once more.
"Last year was the first time the festival had ventured outside of its home in Utah in the United States. It was kind of like a toe-in-the-water experiment," he said.
"We did not know how it was going to go and we did not know how we might be received. It went well for us, we've been asked back a second year, and we're happy to be back."
The festival's programme comprises 18 feature films and nine shorts handpicked from the US version in January. Highlights include Upstream Color, the new science fiction movie from US filmmaker Shane Carruth, and Mud, a fugitive on-the-run tale set in America's south and starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. Opening the festival is The Look of Love, the new period drama from Michael Winterbottom in which Steve Coogan plays Soho porn baron Paul Raymond.
Whilst the majority of films British audiences see are from the big Hollywood studios, festival director John Cooper told IB Times UK that the warm reception to last year's line-up proved that there is an audience for independent cinema.
"There was this notion that American independent film didn't travel well, and I didn't believe that because I sit in theatres and they work on an emotional level. I wanted to prove that they can travel and they can find audiences anywhere," he said.
"What really drove us back here were the audiences. The Q&A's were some of the best I've done with audiences. I don't know if it's something about London, there's something in the water, but it was really nice experience."
The selection of films is complimented by panel discussions and live music events. Californian band The Eagles will take part in a Q&A session as part of the international premiere of Alison Ellwood's History of The Eagles Part One. Other highlights include a live performance from electronic artist Peaches after the screening of her first feature, rock opera stage show Peaches Does Herself.
"The whole notion of putting film and music together came from Robert Redford, that was his idea," said Cooper.
"He looks at the interaction not just between film and music, but he likes the interaction between artists in general and it seemed a natural thing. We're seeing many more films about music, about the creative process. The whole notion [is] of creativity being the same among artists and that's what we believe in."
Sundance London takes place from 25-28 April at the 02, London.