Posted by Larry Gleeson
Ladies and gentlemen the show will begin momentarily…..
The 2019 Sundance Film Festival with its Risk & Independence theme is underway. With a full house for the Day One Press Conference at the Park City, Utah, Egyptian Theatre this afternoon the President and Founder of Sundance Institute, Robert Redford, strolled out onto the stage and announced he’s moving on. He wholeheartedly thanked the volunteers who stand out in the cold year after year welcoming festival goers. Redford softened the blow of his departure by informing the attendees he feels the festival is in a good place and he intends on spending his time with the films from here on with full confidence in the leadership hierarchy in place. Redford exited the platform upstage giving way to the Sundance Institute’s Executive Director, Keri Putnam.
Putnam assured the press Mr. Redford’s vision is thriving while gently reminding journalists the festival is a non-profit and a powerful supporter of artists amplifying their work and helping to launch their respective careers. Putnam compared the festival to a public square where artists can share a creatively connected community unencumbered from state messaging – something sorely missing in today’s surging nationalist movements. Without further adieu Putnam introduced the programming panel.
Each programmer shared their individual mission within the Sundance Institute of traveling around the world making connections while seeking diversity in the global community of artists and filmmakers. And, according to the panel, it’s not just about the art, it’s also about the deeper implications behind the underrepresented voices. It’s about the intersection of art, culture and community and the overt attempts to devalue media representations that are not aligned with mainstream, conglomerate-controlled (and state-controlled) media. The result is shallow and sensationalist pieces that debase human kind and its diversity. Intermittently, questions previously submitted by journalists were thoroughly discussed.
The 2019 Sundance Film Festival had a record number of submissions, 14,259 to be exact, and began tracking the demographic information of its filmmakers. Dr. Stacy Smith of the University of Southern California, Annenberg Media Center, will present the findings and their implications at the Filmmaker Lodge tomorrow, January 25, 2019. Stay tuned!
Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!
*Featured photo from left to right: John Cooper, Director, Sundance Film Festival; Kim Yutani, Director of Programming; John Nein, Senior Programmer; Shari Frilot, Chief Curator, New Frontier and Senior Programmer; David Courier, Senior Programmer; and, Caroline Libresco, Senior Programmer, and Director, Catalyst and Women at Sundance. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)