Sundance: Robert Redford 'Not Upset' About Oscar Snub, Blames Roadside Attractions
PARK CITY -- The 30th annual Sundance Film Festival kicked off Thursday with a press conference featuring founder Robert Redford, Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper and Sundance Institute executive director Keri Putnam.
Before speaking about this year’s festival, Redford spoke on the elephant in the room – his lack of an Oscar nomination for his role in All Is Lost.
“I don’t want that to get in the way of why we’re here,” he said. “Let me just speak frankly about how I feel about it."
Redford went on to explain that he did the film because it helped him to get back to his roots as an actor, but he did point the finger at the film's domestic distributor -- Roadside Attractions -- for not getting the drama the awards attention it deserved. Lionsgate, which owns a stake in Roadside Attractions, partnered with Roadside in acquiring rights to the film. Roadside distributed and marketed the drama.
“Hollywood is what it is, it’s a business and so when these films go to be voted on, usually they’re heavily dependent on campaigns,” he said. “In our case I think we suffered from little to no distribution. And so as a result, our distributors – I don’t know why -- they didn’t want to spend the money, they were afraid, they were just incapable, I don’t know.”
“I’m not disturbed by it, I’m not upset by it because, like I said, it’s a business,” he said.
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The conversation then turned to the Sundance Film Festival, and its progress over the past 30 years.
Redford looked back to its start, saying he made the choice to have it in Utah to do something different from festivals in New York or Los Angeles.
“Let’s go to Utah in the middle of the winter. Let’s make it weird,” he said getting a laugh from the press.
Putman spoke on the growth of the festival, saying that the fest’s mission has always been to provide opportunities for emerging filmmakers.
“I don’t think the mission of Sundance has really changed at all in the last 30 years,” she said. “But we have seen a really remarkable evolution in the programs.”
Redford, who mentioned that the fest has adapted to the technological changes that have arisen over time (such as Kickstarter), was asked by press about the success of the independent films that come out of the festival in such a complicated, changing landscape.
"Independent film, unfortunately, is really at the mercy of distribution. And that’s a hard nut," he said. "Our job is to provide the opportunity for it to be seen."
The Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 16 - 26 in Park City, Utah.