Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Sundance Film Festival Opens for First Time Since 2020, Without Founder Robert Redford

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The Sundance Film Festival re-opened on Thursday, for the first time 2020. Sundance is located in Park City, Utah, and was the brainchild of Oscar winning actor-director-producer Robert Redford. He created it in the early 80s literally from nothing.

But this year, for the first time, there was no sign of Redford on opening night. He was there in January 2020, but he hasn’t been seen much in the last couple of years. Redford experienced a crushing blow in October when his son, Jamie, tragically died of cancer. He was 58.

Redford is 86 years old, which seems unbelievable to us and probably to him. His screen presence was always the epitome of youth. One of the thrills over the years at Sundance was seeing Redford at the opening of each festival. He would appear at the Eccles Theater at the 6pm screening and give a talk, often about politics or the environment, always very liberal and right minded. They were always brilliant and set the tone for the rest of the festival.

That ship may have sailed now. In all the reports from opening night I see no mention of him. Also, on social media many people seem surprised to discover that he created Sundance at all. There should really be mandatory reading of the history of the Festival so everyone knows his massive accomplishment.

Here’s hoping Redford is at home, comfortable and warm, staying away from crowds, and reveling in the knowledge Sundance continues as a tribute to him.

I am doing the festival virtually this year, seeing films online. My first reviews will appear beginning tomorrow.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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