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Robert Redford has found at least one silver lining in this downturned global economy. His Sundance Film Festival can get back to its grassroots origins.

The 74-year-old actor and director noted in his opening remarks of the 2013 event that his annual assembly of some of film’s best, brightest, and burgeoning stars lost its focus when pop, glitz, and glamour and their accompanying fashion houses and gifting suites descended upon the winter hot spot of Park City, Utah to walk red carpets, take pictures, and be seen.

“The recession hit and those people went away,” Redford said. “And now we can focus again.”

That focus is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the small subset of Sundance’s Short Film selections available online exclusively on YouTube. An astounding 8,100 shorts were submitted for consideration to the festival, while only 64 received the honor of becoming an Official Selection. Of that group, 12 were hand-picked by Sundance Institute to be available to the online masses at The Screening Room on YouTube (and apparently give up their Oscar eligibility in the process). The dozen represent the incredible and varied talent of filmmakers today through stories of catnip and apocalypse, black metal and greek tragedy.

If you’re not at Sundance to watch all of the selecteds, you can easily find solace in a warm blanket, an internet connected viewing device, and these 12 shorts. Click over to YouTube.com/ytscreeningroom and join Redford in an opportunity to avoid the glitz and glamour and focus on film.

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