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We’ll miss you Robert Redford

Each year I tune into Sundance’s opening press conference. I love the Q&A with Robert Redford. He tells it like it is.

This year Mr. Redford opened the festival by saying “This press conference has been going on for 34 years. Having done this for 34 years now, I think we are at a point where I can move on to a different place. I don’t think the festival needs a whole lot of introduction anymore, it runs on its own course.”

He then thanked the volunteers and left the stage — likely not to return.

Instead of the interesting question and answer that typically followed Redford’s remarks, where Mr. Redford would expand upon a plethora of topics from the state of the industry, to VR, to the history of Sundance, we were left with six “Sundancers” who expounded on fluff and self-indulgence. When they started comparing themselves to the Avengers you know this thing ain’t what it used to be. It felt like a bad Bravo show airing at midnight. Where’s Andy Cohen when you need him?

Who knows why it’s ending this way. Perhaps the festival has outgrown Mr. Redford and it’s no longer what he envisioned. Perhaps he does want to get back to the art. Perhaps he is turning it over to the next generation. Perhaps he is tired and has given what he can (thank you Mr. Redford).

Regardless of the reason, without Robert Redford’s face and influence, the festival won’t be the same. It was inevitable that the day would come, but it seems too soon.

Redford was Sundance’s soul. It was named after the most famous part he played. How do you replace that? I’m not sure, but Sundance better find a much better way than what they put on stage today.

Sundance has been about authenticity. Some of that is now missing.


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