January 21st, 2010
06:38 PM ET
Today marks the first official day of the Sundance Film Festival. In keeping with tradition, festival founder Robert Redford hosted a press conference at the Egyptian Theater on Main St. in order to kick things off. This year, Redford was joined by the festival's new director, John Cooper.
For Redford, this year's festival was all about rebirth and returning to the event's original vision. By far, the most-used buzz words by both Redford and Cooper were "fresh" and "new." The two men underscored strongly that this year's festival is returning to its roots and is completely focused on fresh, new ideas.
Two countries are fresh and new to this year's festival: Estonia and Greenland. Likewise, the festival has two fresh new programs. The first is called "Next" and focuses on extremely low budget or no budget films. The other is called "Sundance Film Festival USA" and provides a platform in which movies showing at the festival will also be seen in art house cinemas in eight American cities.
Not so fresh and new was Redford's take on what he calls the "ambush marketing" campaigns which he feels plague Sundance. For those that do not know, each year Park City, Utah is flooded with gift lounges, parties and a number of other non-film ventures which capitalize on the popularity (and star power) of the festival. If Redford had his druthers, the festival would be entirely about showcasing the art of independent filmmaking and providing opportunities to emerging artists.
Redford calls The Sundance Film Festival an opportunity: the opportunity for discovery, for unprecedented storytelling, for social activism and for communication. While the festival has also become an opportunity to spot Paris Hilton at a celebrity gift lounge, the acclaimed actor and filmmaker did not include that one on his list.
About this blog
Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.