Change Is Coming To The Sundance Film Festival

Robert Redford
Robert Redford the founder of The Sundance Film Festival

Robert Redford the founder of The  Sundance Film Festival is pretty sure this is the best Sundance Film Festival they’ve ever had, and he also knows that things have to change.

“It’s not the films. The quality, is better than ever!  It’s the size! I’m starting to hear some negative comments about how crowded it is and how difficult it is to get from venue to venue when there’s traffic and people in the streets and so forth,” Redford said. We’re going to have to look at that.”  Sundance Founder Robert Redford

The Art Of Monteque has had the pleasure of covering the Sundance Film Festival for many years which has offered a true insight into the independent film and arts community. The Sundance Film Festival has as always  been on the forefront of showing the very best and unique voices of independent film. This year was truly one of the best. With such great films like Nate Parker’s the superb “Birth of a Nation”, The film set a new record with Fox Searchlight paying $17.5 million for it. Kenneth Longergan’s thought provoking “Manchester by the Sea” which Amazon bought. Rokhsareh Ghaem Magham’s heart wrenching documentary “Sonita” which is definitely a vehicle of change. Another successful Sundance festival is nearing the end and the founder of The  Sundance Film Festival  Robert Redford  sat down with The  Associated Press earlier this week to discuss the future of The Sundance Film Festival which has grown so large that at times Park City seems to be bursting at the seams.

“When actors came who were well known, then the paparazzi came. Then once the paparazzi came, the fashion houses came. Suddenly this thing was going haywire, but people continue to turn out in droves, looking to be among the first to see a breakout filmmaker’s debut  like Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” or Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash.” Sundance Founder Robert Redford

From the humble beginnings of The Sundance Film Festival it was not always clear if it was going to be successful or not, but in the coming years it  would show its success with such wonderful groundbreaking breakouts films such as Boyhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, Brooklyn, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Life Itself, The Cove, The End of the Tour, Blackfish, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Super Size Me, Dope, Little Miss Sunshine, Sex, Lies, And Videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite. For the past three decades The Sundance Film Festival has showcase a diverse number of unique voices and storytellers. Mr. Redford was  laughing  about how the recession actually helped temper the frivolousness a bit.

“As it grew, so did the crowds, so did the development in Park City. Well, at some point, if both those things continue to grow, they’re going to begin to choke each other! So then I have to think about, oh, do we now risk being who we are in the first place? Do we risk losing the heart and soul of what we were when we started against the odds? Do we have to now rethink things?” Sundance Founder Robert Redford

Now The Sundance Film Festival may have to face some major changes to survive such as  breaking up the festival into sections, instead of cramming narrative, documentaries, shorts and everything else into a tight 11 days in January. The narrative features could play in January, and February would be for documentaries.

“You have a couple of choices. You can go hard and say we’re going to stop it. Say ‘that’s the end.’ Let it go. Let someone else do it,” he said. “Or, you say well, if you want to keep it going, we can’t keep it going the way things are. I don’t know whether that works or not.That’s just an idea that’s worming in my head.” Sundance Founder Robert Redford

Moving The Sundance Film Festival is certainly out of the question being  The Sundance Film Festival has a contract with Park City,  to stay in Park City until 2026. Either way it looks like the future of the Sundance Film Festival is going to change,  hopefully for the better.