Cinema: An Indie Go Girl

Two very different films could turn Sarah Polley into the new queen of Sundance

Ski parka-clad studio execs queuing up to get into a movie theater. Novice directors being slavishly courted by slick Hollywood agents. Must be time for the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Robert Redford's annual conclave--and open market--of independent cinema. Aside from the high-priced bidding wars over low-budget movies, a favorite festival ritual is the emergence of a relatively unknown actress as a genuine starlet, complete with fawning fans, attitude-heavy handlers and enough buzz to short-circuit her StarTAC.

The Sundance "It Girl" phenomenon started back in 1989 with sex, lies, and videotape's Andie MacDowell, a model whose only previous major...

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