Redford Delivers Mea Culpa To Open Latest Sundance Fest
In an apparent reference to criticism that the Sundance Film Festival had become a marketplace for slick independent films, some with multi-million-dollar budgets from familiar filmmakers, festival founder Robert Redford told reporters on the festival's opening day Thursday, "We're going back to our roots with fresh new voices." Redford did not spell out precisely what that meant, but he did appear to indicate that the festival would begin focusing on first-time talent making films with tiny budgets -- or, as he put it, "to create new opportunities for work to be seen ... and I thought the best thing we could do to be new and fresh was to get more closely back to our roots, the way we were when we first started." In what was generally described by reporters as a "mea culpa" Redford acknowledged that in recent years the festival was "sliding. We were beginning to flat line." Discussing his decision to replace Geoff Gilmore with John Cooper as festival director, Redford said, "Geoff did an amazing job. ... but it was simply a time for fresh new blood. You have to rejuvenate." Only moments before Redford spoke, Paramount Vantage announced that it had acquired Davis Guggenheim's documentary Waiting for Superman , which exposes failings in the U.S. educational system. Meanwhile, the alternative (and nearly concurrent) Slamdance festival, which was originally organized to counter the trends Redford appeared to be referring to, said Thursday that several of the films it will be showcasing this year will also be available for rent online via Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console and Zune portable music and video player for $7-10.