Follow Us on Twitter

Robert Redford launches Sundance London and underlines importance of independent film

Sundance London, Robert Redford

Story by Jack Foley

ROBERT Redford has launched Sundance London and underlined the importance of supporting independent film.

The inaugural event takes place at London’s O2 Arena from Thursday, April 26, to Sunday, April 29, 2012, and places equal emphasis on both film and music.

It features 22 independent American films, including documentaries, feature films and short films, as well as concerts from the likes of Tricky and Redford himself, with long-time collaborator T Bone Burnett. It is designed to represent “the alchemy” of Sundance.

Explaining the intention behind the event’s arrival in the capital, Redford told reporters at the O2: “Sundance started as a path for new artists, new voices that wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to be heard. It has grown to such a degree that we wanted to move internationally.

“We wanted to bring the alchemy of what we do in Sundance and see how it was received – that’s why we’re here.”

The launch also gave journalists the opportunity to quiz the iconic actor and filmmaker on his views on the state of independent cinema versus the blockbuster mainstream, as well as journalism and any perceived decline in standards.

It also included a question asking for Redford’s views on British Prime Minster David Cameron’s recent suggestion that the British film industry should concentrate on [making] mainstream films.

Responding to the latter, he joked “that’s may be why he’s in trouble” before adding: “I don’t want to say it speaks of the man but I think that view is a very narrow one and doesn’t speak to the broad category of film-makers and artists in the business.”

Asked what he thought of recent technological advances in filmmaking, such as IMAX and 3D and whether they had come at the expense of the ‘craft of storytelling’, Redford said: “I’m not a particular fan of 3D at the moment. I think technology has probably got a little too far… too fat.

“But I think the fall-out will occur on its own, organically. I think the audiences will decide… Time will tell whether it really works or not, and I’m not sure it will.”

And commenting on whether he felt journalistic standards had dropped, he observed: “There’s so much personality being put into how the press expresses itself [particularly in America] that it’s gotten to be like a lot of noise and not so much substance as opposed to noise and personality.

“And that’s sad to me to see because I think it blurs the more important part, which is where are we going to find the truth?”

The launch rounded off, however, with the suggestion that the emphasis placed on the financial success of movies coming out of Sundance each year had compromised the soul of the festival and its origins, to which Redford candidly responded:

“The question of losing our soul is always on my mind, particularly with success. Success has a dangerous side to it and it’s something I’ve been aware of my whole life. It’s something you don’t embrace so much as shadow box with. So, the idea of our growing and our becoming more successful I always pay attention to not losing who we are and how we do things…

“…It’s something that we try to watch very, very carefully – that we pay attention to who we are, who we were and who we try to stay being and still at the same time welcome success but use it wisely rather than poorly.”

To find out more about Sundance London, check out the programme of films

Alternatively, read the complete interview with Robert Redford