LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Sundance Film festival, the top US gathering for independent cinema, on Wednesday unveiled its competitive line-up for 2012, some of which will become the most talked-about movies of the upcoming year. The 58 movies, both narrative features and documentaries, cover a range of topics, but festival organisers said at least one theme emerged among the 16 US features in competition: characters are searching for deeper meaning to their lives in an often confusing and troubling world. (Filmmakers) seem to be questioning the idea of marriage and family, the whole notion of what family is. I found that a lot questioning ideas of the American Dream, festival director John Cooper told Reuters. Overall, 4,042 features films from around the world were submitted for the festival that is backed by Robert Redfords Sundance Institute for filmmaking and is the premiere US event for movies made outside Hollywoods major studios. Each year, many movies that screen at Sundance will become the darlings of critics in art houses, and some will compete for honours in Hollywoods awards season. Big successes from previous Sundance festivals include comedy Little Miss Sunshine and documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Cooper said weak economies around the world have challenged filmmakers to search wider and dig deeper for funding to make movies, and that fact has led to more creative thinking and greater focus in the stories heading to silver screens. In times of economic crisis, art tends to thrive. Im not sure why that is, but it seems it just happens, he said. A creative bar is set by each year as filmmakers see the films that are successful commercially and with critics, and filmmakers are aware they have to be a little bit better. The upcoming 2012 Sundance kicks off on January 19 with a series of Day One screenings comprised of one feature and one documentary from each of the US films and world cinema sections movies made outside the United States. The US first day feature is director Todd Louisos Hello I Must Be Going, which tells of a 35-year-old woman who moves back into the home of her parents. The Day One US documentary is The Queen of Versailles, which tells of a wealthy couple building the biggest house in America 90,000 square feet until it is foreclosed upon.