Arts & Entertainment

Actress looks for big break at Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival was organized 30 years ago as a way to showcase the potential of independent films.

The festival, held in January each year, has proved its success and is now the largest independent film festival in the country.

During the last three decades there have been many filmmakers who become legendary after their movies debuted at Sundance -- guys like Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Steven Soderbergh and James Wan.

And though the festival predominately showcases the filmmakers, the actors in the films are hopeful the exposure at Sundance will shine a little light on their careers as well.

At this year's festival, Kristina Klebe is one of those actors hoping to find a break. Klebe, a New York native, has one of the character roles in the film Peter and Vandy, directed by Jay DePietro.

Sundance describes the film as a love story that addresses the age-old question many couples who've been together for a long time ask themselves, "How the hell did we get this way?" after they realize their relationship is not what it used to be.

"I grew up in theater and though I've been in other movies I'm still exploring the potential of film," Klebe told the Herald in a recent telephone interview. "Peter and Vandy has been a nice break from the horror films I've done in the past."

The film stars Jason Ritter, Jesse L. Martin, Jess Weixler and Tracie Thoms.

This will be Klebe's first time appearing in a movie that has made it to the Sundance Festival.

"I'm thrilled about the film making it to Sundance," she said. "Peter and Vandy has a wonderful photographic quality to it besides story line and I hope it does well."

Klebe's film credits include a lead role in Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween. She also has a role in the upcoming film The Accidental Husband, starring Uma Thurman and Colin Firth. She also is the co-creator of an Internet series called Frick, which should be available to viewers online this year.

The Sundance festival features 16 documentaries this year and 16 films, which were selected from almost 2,000 submissions.

Sundance began in Salt Lake City in 1978 as the Utah/US Film Festival. It was founded by Sterling Van Wagenen and John Earle with Robert Redford as its chairman. These days its held in Park City, Utah.

Besides several days of watching films and perhaps doing a bit of snow skiing at the famous celebrity ski resort, Klebe is hopeful her appearance at Sundance will open some doors in Hollywood for other films.

Klebe looks at her career in much the same vein as musician Ray Charles, who once said, "I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great."

"I think Peter and Vandy will do well at the festival," she said. "I've given myself six months to make it in film work."

If the film work doesn't work out then its back to New York and the theater, she said.

"And that's just fine with me, too, because I love the theater."

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;