The 2015 Sundance Film Festival has officially kicked off with an informative press conference moderated by Salt Lake Tribune Movie Critic Sean Means along with the Sundance Film Festival Founder: Robert Redford, Sundance Film Festival Executive Director: John Cooper and Sundance Institute Director Executive Director: Keri Putnam.
With diversity being on the forefront of so many conversations in the last few weeks, Redford said "Change is inevitable...the festival is meant to use change to underline the word diversity."
Everyone knows that most filmmakers attend Sundance with hopes of walking away with distribution for their projects. Redford agreed stating "Distribution is the end part". Putnam piggybacked with talking about how digital means have been provided for filmmakers with Quiver Digital, which allows every filmmaker to see how their film is doing over the course of the 10 day festival.
Putnam and Redford both stressed how diversity comes into play with documentary film. "Documentaries at Sundance has always been my passion...it's important because documentaries carry with them a feeling of you being in the moment as it's happening...one day documentaries will be on equal footing with feature films".
Responding to a question concerning Amazon and distribution, Redford replied, "I'm only interested in the fact that stories get told". "I am a big fan of television...It's part of the fabric of storytelling, as is film...it's becoming harder and harder for artists to find their footing in film...television provides them more opportunities" In his opinion, "Television is advancing faster than filmmaking".
The big buzz on performances tonight are on John Legend, who is scheduled to perform after a screening of the Nine Simone documentary piece.
Sundance Institute Executive Director, Keri Putnam is really excited about the Power Stories panels, Serious Ladies with Mindy Kalin and a panel later in the week with Redford and George Lucas.
Putnam also stated, "As money comes into the equation...diversity steps out. Continuing the theme regarding the ongoing subject of diversity, Festival Executive Director John Cooper reiterated, "...Ava DuVernay did in fact win Best Director at Sundance (for Middle of Nowhere)" further proving the Sundance Film Festival's commitment to diversity.
When asked if Sundance has moved away from it's original intention, Redford responded that he feels Sundance fills in the gap from big budget films, youth driven Hollywood and all the cable/VOD players as a means to keep alive the idea of diversity in more independent type filmmaking..
The Sundance Film Festival runs from now through February 1. Keep tuned here for the latest on the festival as yours truly will be reporting from there LIVE for www.UBNRadio.com/tonysweet.