The Sundance Film Festival, which gets underway this week in Park City, Utah, once again will provide a platform for independent filmmakers to showcase their creations and sign contracts for the theatrical distribution and video-on-demand rights to their works.

The fest, which runs from Thursday to Jan. 27, will screen 119 feature-length films - 27 of them in competition - from 32 countries, including the work of 51 first-time directors.

Those films were selected from among 12,146 titles submitted for consideration.

Robert Redford, president and founder of the Sundance Institute, said "every great film starts with an idea, and it is a testament to artists that they continually find new ideas, new stories, new points of view and new ways of sharing them, year after year."

One of the films sure to get people talking at this year's festival will be the biopic "jOBS," which was chosen as the closing-night feature.

The film starring Ashton Kutcher about late American businessman and Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs will premiere in the United States in April after being picked up by U.S. independent film distribution company Open Road Films.

The Shorts Competition at this year's Sundance includes the Peruvian film "The Companion," which tells the story of a young prostitute who tends to his father, a fallen-from-grace artisan; and "A Story for the Modlins," a Spanish film that was nominated for a Goya award.

Box-office hits discovered at past Sundance festivals include "Sex, Lies and Videotape," "Maria Full of Grace," "An Inconvenient Truth," "Little Miss Sunshine," "Napoleon Dynamite," and the recent "Precious," "Winter's Bone," "Animal Kingdom" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild." EFE