Tales from the snowy wilds of Park City

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21

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As a flurry of snow whipped patrons making their way into town, the 26th annual Sundance film festival got off to a snowy but upbeat start Thursday in Park City.

Journos and filmmakers packed the fest headquarters at the Marriott Hotel for press credentials and coffee in anticipation of the night’s first film, “Howl.”

“We’re really excited,” beamed Mark Duplass in the headquarters’ film office. (See evidence, above.) Duplass, who co-wrote and directed this year’s entry, “Cyrus,” said he planned on seeing the Allen Ginsburg biopic (“Howl”) tonight and was busy picking out all of the films he wanted to check out, including “Lovers of Hate,” which he also exec produced.

Meanwhile, the festival’s new programming director John Cooper was joined by founder Robert Redford at the Egyptian Theater for the opening day press conference.

“We’re going back to our roots,” Redford. “That’s the thrust of this year’s festival.” Redford also addressed the economic recession, saying this year’s Sundance “won’t have the same marketing crush” as neighboring film fests.

Cooper, meanwhile, seemed ready for liftoff. “We have about 1,700 volunteers this year, so we’re fully ready to get the show started.”

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