Robert Redford Hints at Less Public Role at Sundance in Awkward Press Conference

By Kay, Jeremy | Screen International, January 25, 2019 | Go to article overview

Robert Redford Hints at Less Public Role at Sundance in Awkward Press Conference


Kay, Jeremy, Screen International


‘I think we’re at a point where I can move to a different place.’

Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford cut an almost outsider figure at the 2019 opening press conference on Thursday (24) as he said he wanted to spend less time introducing the event and more time with filmmakers.

“Having done this for – god, it’s 34 years now – since the festival started, I think we’re at a point where I can move to a different place,” said Redford, who stood alone on stage at The Egyptian and had begun by acknowledging the “vital role” of the press in giving visibility to the festival.

“Because the thing I’ve missed over the years is being able to spend time with the films and with the filmmakers and to see their work and enjoy their work and be part of their community. I’ve been sort of spending a lot of time introducing everything, but I don’t think the festival needs a whole lot of introduction now; it kinds of run on its own course and I’m happy for that.”

Redford then paid fulsome praise to the unpaid volunteers before welcoming Sundance Institute executive director Keri Putnam to the stage, and shuffling off early with a muttered “Goodbye”.

Putnam noted that the festival has become a home to independent artists around the world “as Bob always envisioned”, adding that the record 14,200 submissions showed Sundance was thriving.

“We see Sundance as a public square for independent voices,” said Putnam, adding: “We recognise this public square is in short supply. The consolidation of commercial media, the click optimisation of the digital landscape –that means stories, content and information are being distributed with an eye on views and clicks rather than depth and risk. …

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