Is Sundance Obscene? Conservative Utah Group Objects To Festival Lineup

Salt Lake City, UT – Is Sundance obscene? One conservative Utah group thinks so, and is asking the state to pull its financial backing from the film festival over its lineup.

Feeling that this year’s lineup conflicts with Utah’s culture of family values, the Sutherland Institute says that the state should not back The Sundance Film Festival, citing two films in particular.

Lovelace, starring Amanda Seyfried, features porn stars while Two Mothers, starring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, centers on two women having affairs with one another’s adult sons, according to MSN. Lovelace is rated R. Two Mothers is not yet rated.

Derek Monson, Sutherland Institute’s director of public policy, said that they don’t want Sundance to leave Utah, but believes that the state should pull its financial backing over the “obscene” lineup.

“There are a lot of people here that find that kind of thing objectionable,” Monson said. “We are a family friendly state and we endeavor to be so because we value the benefits that strong families bring to society.”

HuffPo reports that Utah will spend $300,000 supporting the festival again this year, and that state officials will not pull financial backing. Sundance is usually a pretty big cash cow for the state, with an estimated $80.3 million being brought in last year. Pretty good turn on an investment.

But Sutherland Institute isn’t backing down.

“What would you call a film festival airing movies that explore the lives of porn stars, adulterous relationships between mothers and their friends’ children, and teenagers competing to lose their virginity?” Monson wrote in a blog post. “Many Utahns’ values would lead them to call this `obscenity’ or `pornography,’ but to the state of Utah, evidently it is simply `economic activity.'”

What do you think? Should Sundance tone down its “obscene” lineup, or does artistic expression trump the concerns of the Sutherland Institute?