Entertainment & Arts

Sundance ends first London visit

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Media captionRobert Redford and Prince Charles attend a screening at the Sundance festival in London

The inaugural Sundance London festival has drawn to a close, with pundits declaring it "a qualified success".

That was the view of The Independent 's Kaleem Aftab, who said the film and music event had "proved a hit" despite having a "mixed bag" of musical acts.

"It looks as if Sundance-on-Thames has been a success," wrote The Times' Kate Muir.

Prince Charles was among the attendees during the four-day festival at the O2 Arena in Greenwich.

The prince appeared on Saturday to introduce Harmony, a documentary outlining his views on the environment.

"All we wanted to do with this film is to show people that there is, perhaps, another way of looking at things now," he told the audience.

The film was one of 27 featured, most being US dramas and documentaries that were shown at this year's main Sundance festival in Utah.

Among the live events was a performance by Bristol rapper Tricky, which was described as "a self-indulgent shambles".

Image caption Paul Simon and Minnie Driver were among the celebrity attendees

According to The Independent's David Sinclair, the much-vaunted live recreation of Tricky's debut album Maxinquaye represented "time-wasting dished out on an industrial scale".

The Times' Kate Muir also expressed reservations over an "amateurish" event on Thursday that saw Redford discuss the role of music in film with novelist Nick Hornby and composer T Bone Burnett.

The evening was beset by technical glitches that impacted on the contributions of Irish singer Glen Hansard and indie band Guillemots.

Yet other performances by rock band Placebo and the siblings Rufus and Martha Wainwright were warmly received, while several screenings were reported sell-outs.

The Telegraph 's David Gritten also saluted the event's decision to recognise emerging voices with a short film award.

"Whatever the final verdict on the Sundance London film festival, at least it's been a vehicle for unearthing new British film-making talent," he wrote.

Image caption Rufus and Martha Wainwright closed the festival with a joint performance on Sunday

It is not yet known whether Sundance London will become an annual event. It remains a possibility in the eyes of Alex Hill of O2 owners AEG Europe.

"The feedback to our hosting Sundance London has been terrific," he said on Monday.

"If the audiences' positive reaction is anything to go by, there's obviously a real appetite for this kind of festival in the UK."

Other film highlights included The Queen of Versailles, a documentary about a wealthy US family whose attempts to build an ostentatious new home are stymied by the financial crisis.

There was also praise for Under African Skies, a film about Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland, whose premiere saw an appearance by the musician himself.

The line-up did not include Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Surrogate and The Invisible War, which all received prizes during January's event in Utah.

Speaking last Thursday, Sundance co-founder Robert Redford said the films that did screen were a "collective" intended to demonstrate "the alchemy of what we do".

He also stressed the importance of music - one of the reasons why the O2, which hosts musical venues as well as an 11-screen multiplex, was chosen as a venue.

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