In the 35 years that have passed since the Sundance Film Festival first started as the Utah/US Film Festival, it has gone from a quaint shindig in the mountains to one of the most important movie events on the calendar. Every year, press, actors, directors, paparazzi, PR companies, brand ambassadors and more descend upon the Beehive State, where the talk becomes equally split between the films trying to get some attention, and who’s being seen around town. And through it all has been Robert Redford, who has been integral in giving the festival standing not just in the United States, but around the world, as Sundance is now growing into global offshoots, such as Sundance London. However, for all that success, Redford would prefer the focus to be on the movies, not on the stars.
Chatting with Men’s Journal (not yet online, via Page Six), Redford lamented the supersize hysteria that now surrounds the festival, and points the finger at Harvey Weinstein for turning it into a schmoozefest. “Harvey wanted to be a Hollywood mogul,” Redford said. “He’s got a real merchant mentality; he would start to pick stuff. . .then Hollywood came. When the actors started to come, the paparazzi came, and once the paparazzi came, then fashion came, and suddenly you had [Paris Hilton]. I felt at a certain point that we were being engulfed.”
The solution? Well, there is none really. All these elements feed off each other, and while they do promote the worst sort of tabloid culture, they also ultimately shine a light on the movies Redford wants to champion. It’s a bit of a catch-22, and the sort of thing you have to grudgingly accept, particularly if you’re a cinema purist. But we’ll just do what everyone else does—cut through the noise to find the gems we’re looking for year after year. As for the Redford/Weinstein beef… we await Harvey’s response…