Sundance Film Festival top brass have launched Next, a section dedicated to the work of cash-strapped film-makers who find new ways to tell their stories.

Selectors will highlight six to eight innovate films, which festival director John Cooper said would address the need to support a constituency of “creative impatience” that had been hitherto accommodated in Sundance’s documentary and New Frontier sections.

“We want film-makers to feel encouraged and intrigued by this new section of the festival,” Cooper said. “We hope to excite audiences as well as inform a budding industry already investing in new models of distribution.

“The film-makers who are working in this realm and who I have spoken to about this have a ‘creative impatience’ that I find invigorating. These are not just the films that have been labeled mumblecore… or dogma or even guerilla. They are an emerging counterculture within our counterculture.”

Festival staff refer to the new section with the symbol < = > that literally translates to “less than equals greater than”.

Sundance 2010 is scheduled to run from January 21–31. As of September 1 staff have received more than 4,964 applications and 3,689 films.