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Independent Films Look for a Place in the Sun at Sundance Festival


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Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We tell about the state-of-the-art sports center that will hold this year's Super Bowl …

Answer a listener's question about the band Aerosmith …

And report on the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah …

Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival takes place each January in and around Park City, Utah.  It is America's top event for filmmakers working without the support of major film studios.  Faith Lapidus has more about the film festival, which ended last weekend.

The Sundance Film Festival is a big event for independent filmmakers, film companies and people who love movies. Tens of thousands of people attend the film festival each year.  They gather in the cold, snowy mountain town of Park City, along with famous movie stars and many reporters. More than one hundred twenty new films were chosen to be shown during the ten-day event. Many filmmakers show their movies for the first time, hoping that film companies will buy them.

"Up the Yangtze" by Chinese director Yung Chang was one of the movies purchased at Sundance.  It examines the effect of China's Three Gorges Dam on the place where the director's grandfather grew up.

Thirty-two American films competed for prizes at Sundance. A five-member group of actors and directors chose the winners.  Two films about people dealing with personal tragedy won the top prizes.  The film "Frozen River" won the Grand Jury Prize for best American film drama. Courtney Hunt wrote and directed the film. It is about two poor women trying to bring Chinese immigrants illegally into the United States from Canada.

"Trouble the Water" was named the best American documentary, or true story. A woman and her husband show how they survived Hurricane Katrina and the deadly floodwaters in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Tia Lessin and Carl Deal directed the movie. People who attend Sundance can vote for their favorite films.  The winners receive the Audience Awards.

Sundance is also an important event for international filmmakers.  Thirty-two films from twenty-five countries competed at the festival.  The World Cinema Audience Award for drama went to "Captain Abu Raed," a film from Jordan directed by Amin Matalqa. A man whose real job is to clean the airport tells children magical stories about his make-believe life as a pilot.

Another foreign film shown at Sundance was "Dinner With the President: A Nation's Journey," directed by Sabiha Sumar. Her film explores the chances for democracy in Pakistan.

Aerosmith

Our question this week comes from a Chinese listener. Zheyan Jin wants to know about the rock band Aerosmith. This group is one of the best selling hard rock bands of all time. The five musicians have been performing and making records for over thirty-five years. Their intense and energetic music helped define rock and roll.

The members of Aerosmith are singer Steven Tyler, guitar players Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, bass player Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer on drums. The group formed in nineteen seventy in Boston, Massachusetts. In the notes of their first album "Aerosmith", the group described themselves as "third-generation rockers with a desire to create something new." Here is their hit song "Dream On" from that album.

During the nineteen seventies, the band made many popular albums, including "Your Wings" and "Toys in the Attic." But their success came at a price. Some members of the band became dependent on illegal drugs. Two members of the band left and were replaced by other musicians.

The original members of Aerosmith came together again in the nineteen eighties. Here is the song "Janie's Got a Gun" from the album "Pump."

More recently, Aerosmith released "Honkin' on Bobo" and "Devil's Got a New Disguise." They began recording a new album in November. Here is the song "Angel's Eye". Aerosmith recorded the song for the movie "Charlie's Angels."

2008 Super Bowl

The New England Patriots and the New York Giants face each other Sunday in the forty-second yearly American football championship called the Super Bowl.  The Patriots are expected to win. If they do, they will set a new record.  They will have won more games during the season than any other team in history.  The Patriots will not be the first undefeated team, but they will have won the most games. The Super Bowl will be an exciting game. And the stadium where it will be played has the most modern technology in the world.  Barbara Klein has more.

The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona is home to the Arizona Cardinals football team.  It also holds a yearly college level championship game.  But, this will be the first Super Bowl held there.

Workers began building the stadium in two thousand three.  It was completed about three years and four hundred fifty-five million dollars later.  Unlike most stadiums, it has a roof that fully opens.  It is made of two parts that slide in and out.

This is important because Glendale is near the city of Phoenix, Arizona. This area is called the Valley of the Sun.  It sometimes is a very hot place. The average high temperature in the summer is above thirty-seven degrees Celsius. So the roof of the stadium can be closed to permit air conditioning machines to be used.  But the roof can be opened during the cooler months for sporting and other events, like big rock concerts and trade shows.

The stadium has an unusual feature that no other stadium has.  The natural grass playing field rolls in and out of the structure as needed.  The grass grows on an object like a giant tray.  Most of the time the grass is moved outside to get sunshine and rain.  Workers roll it back inside for football games. Officials say this makes the center more usable for non-sporting events.

Architect Peter Eisenman designed the huge stadium.  Its shape represents the barrel cactus, a common plant in the area.  The huge metal pieces that form its walls shine brightly in the desert sun.

On Sunday, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will play at the Super Bowl half-time event.  We leave you with that band performing "American Girl."

I'm Doug Johnson.  I hope you enjoyed our program today. Our writers were Shelley Gollust, Dana Demange and Caty Weaver who was also our producer. Transcripts and MP3 files of our programs are at voaspecialenglish.com.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.


"American Mosaic" in VOA Special English
www.manythings.org/voa/america

Source: Independent Films Look for a Place in the Sun at Sundance Festival
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