Focusing on diversity and a new found energy on his staff, Redford has given more attention to international films and has given John Cooper an opportunity as the director of the festival, replacing Geoffrey Gilmore, who in February to joined Tribeca Enterprises as its Chief Creative Officer.
“We’re making a return to the place where we first started,” said Redford yesterday at a press conference that officially kicked off Sundance’s 32nd year. “To see it as if it was the first time. That pretty much spells out what our festival is going to be about this year. We’re going back to our roots. Where fresh new ideas were and where new voices came from.”
Believing that the country’s economic woes could possibly keep the glamor away this year, Redford stated that he still felt as if the festival wouldn’t be free of the elements, such as the “self-promotion and swag-driven parties” that he feels should never be associated with the festival. Nonetheless, he hopes that by getting back to the basics and promoting quality work, this year’s slate of films will cast a larger shadow than any distractions that appeared in the past.
“Paris Hilton,” he said. “What was she doing here?”
Afterward, Redford expressed his thoughts on the future of the festival and even shared stories about his career, making no qualms about how important the festival is to him and the entire independent film community.
A community that the former Oscar-winner sees in a constant struggle.
“Our job is to get these films seen by as many people as possible, starting with the festival” Redford said. “To create other opportunities for them to be seen and to help that struggle that’s always been there. It probably always will be, but I think it will survive.”
Photo by Patrick Hickey Jr.