There are many important milestones in the careers of indie/neophyte filmmakers. It’s a brutal road, but in 1981, Robert Redford decided to create the Sundance Institute, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to support intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences.

In that sincere pursuit, the now legendary Sundance Film Festival was born and continues to nurture and showcase the talent of artists.

Redford, president and founder of the Sundance Institute, shared his thoughts on this subject:

“That the festival has evolved and grown as it has over the past 30 years is a credit to both our audiences and our artists who continue to find ways to take risks, and this year’s films and artists promise to do the same.”

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival will screen 118 feature-length films representing 37 countries and 54 first-time filmmakers, 34 of whom are in competition.

In addition, the festival presents feature-length films in the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, New Frontier, Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections, as well as in there Short Film section and the new Sundance Kids section, which is aimed at younger audiences.

The U.S. Dramatic Competition world premieres include:

“Camp X-Ray”/U.S. (Director and screenwriter: Peter Sattler)—A young woman is stationed as a guard in Guantanamo Bay, where she forms an unlikely friendship with one of the detainees.

“Cold in July”/U.S. (Director: Jim Mickle; screenwriters: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici)—After killing a home intruder, a small-town Texas man’s life unravels into a dark underworld of corruption and violence.

“Dear White People”/U.S. (Director and screenwriter: Justin Simien)—Four Black students attend an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over an “African-American-themed” party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in post-racial America while weaving a story about forging one’s unique path in the world.

“Fishing Without Nets”/U.S., Somalia, Kenya (Director: Cutter Hodierne, Screenwriters: Cutter Hodierne, John Hibey, David Burkman)—A story of pirates in Somalia told from the perspective of a struggling, young Somali fisherman.

“God’s Pocket”/U.S. (Director: John Slattery, Screenwriters: John Slattery, Alex Metcalf)—When Mickey’s stepson Leon is killed in a construction “accident,” Mickey tries to bury the bad news with the body. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro.

“Happy Christmas”/U.S. (Director and screenwriter: Joe Swanberg)—After a breakup with her boyfriend, a young woman moves in with her older brother, his wife and their 2-year-old son. Cast: Lena Dunham (HBO’s “Girls”).

“Hellion”/U.S. (Director and screenwriter: Kat Candler)—When motocross- and heavy metal-obsessed 13-year-old Jacob’s delinquent behavior forces CPS to place his little brother Wes with his aunt, Jacob and his emotionally absent father must finally take responsibility for their actions and each other in order to bring Wes home.