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Sundance Cancels 2015 Edition of London Spinoff Festival

Sundance Film Festival chief John Cooper and Robert Redford, president of Sundance Institute, at the launch for 2013 Sundance London

LONDON — The Sundance Institute has decided to cancel the 2015 edition of Sundance London, the U.K. spinoff from the Sundance Film Festival. The event, which had a focus on American indie movies and also featured live music gigs, may return in future years, according to its organizers.

Sundance London launched in 2012 at AEG’s O2 arena in East London, and was led by members of the team behind the Sundance Festival in Park City, Utah, such as festival director John Cooper and director of programming Trevor Groth.

Although the selection of films and music acts was good, the event’s Achilles’ heel was its location. The O2 arena is a cavernous modern space, lacking the intimacy a festival for indie film and music needed. Its distance from central London was another major drawback.

Last year’s edition ran April 25-27, and included 21 feature films, many of which had played first in Park City. Among the American indie films that transferred were “Little Accidents,” “They Came Together,” “The Voices,” “Hits,” “Dinosaur 13,” “Drunktown’s Finest” and “The Case Against 8.”

“We looked for films that represent American independent film but also that sense of discovery that Sundance is known for,” Cooper told Variety at the time.

Another strong point for the Sundance London festival was the interaction between music and film. The event opened last year with a screening of “Axiom,” which is inspired by the music of the South London band Archive, who played live at the festival.

The desire to connect filmmakers with musicians was one that was close to Sundance founder Robert Redford’s heart, according to Cooper. “It’s an idea that Redford has been very involved in, the whole notion of mixing artists together for a greater impact, and it has been growing in the minds of American filmmakers,” Cooper told Variety at the time.

A spokesperson for Sundance Institute said Friday: “We loved connecting with the vibrant community of filmmakers and audiences in the U.K., and following a successful three years with The O2, we continue to explore our options for Sundance London. Though we are not confirmed to host public events in London this year, we hope to be able to return very soon.”

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