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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 January 2008, 13:43 GMT
Sundance welcomes Hollywood stars
Tom Hanks at the Sundance Film Festival
Tom Hanks appears in The Great Buck Howard with his son Colin
Hollywood icons have descended on the Sundance Film Festival, giving the annual independent movie showcase some significant star power.

Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Sir Ben Kingsley were among the actors at the event in Park City, Utah.

They mixed with music stars such as U2 and 50 Cent.

And Paris Hilton's presence proved how the festival's status has changed since Robert Redford launched it as a low-key event for arthouse films in 1978.

The actor and director said Sundance had maintained a sense of community for independent film-makers despite the increasing number of celebrities every year.

Paris Hilton at the Sundance Film Festival
Paris Hilton and so forth doesn't have anything to do with anything
Robert Redford
Sundance founder
"There's nothing pretentious - no red carpets, no limousines allowed," Redford told the Associated Press. "And so people come and mingle together like a real community of artists.

"I love the fact that it's successful and that it's giving the film-makers what they need and what they want."

But he acknowledged an emphasis on celebrity had "gummed it up" at times.

Companies using the festival to host parties promoting products should not affect the nature of the event, Redford added.

"Paris Hilton and so forth doesn't have anything to do with anything."

Robert De Niro was in town for the premiere of What Just Happened?, in which he plays a Hollywood producer trying to get his film made.

Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival
Robert Redford's daughter Amy has a film at the festival
It features a cameo from Bruce Willis, who was also at Sundance promoting high school comedy Assassination of a High School President.

Other actors at Sundance included Jack Black, who stars in comedy Be Kind Rewind, and Colin Farrell, whose hitman comedy In Bruges opened the festival on Thursday.

Tom Hanks came for the premiere of The Great Buck Howard, in which he co-stars with his son Colin.

Another famous child, Redford's own daughter Amy, has made her directorial debut with The Guitar, which received its premiere on Friday.

The festival has gained a reputation for being the place where low-key independent movies are discovered before going on to great things.

Little Miss Sunshine, The Blair Witch Project and Reservoir Dogs are among the films that have used Sundance as a springboard to success.

This year, comedy Sunshine Cleaning and a documentary about Roman Polanski's 1977 under-age sex scandal are among the films creating buzz so far. The festival ends on 27 January.

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