By Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
The 2019 Sundance Film Festival kicked-off today with its opening day Press Conference.
Founder Robert Redford started the Press Conference thanking the Press who have come out for the past 34 years and revealing that he’d be taking more of a behind-the-scenes role going forward. “Having done this for…God, it’s 34 years now since the Festival started. I think we are at a point where, I can move on to a different place. Because the thing I’ve missed over the years is being able to spend time with the Films, and the Filmmakers, and to see their work, and to enjoy their work, and be apart of their community. But I don’t think the Festival needs a whole lot of an introduction now. I think it kind of run on its own course, and I’m happy for that. So let me just say, I am grateful you are here. I want to give a shoutout to people I don’t think get enough credit, and that’s the volunteers.”. This was met but a loud round of applause from the Press, of which more than ever before are from underrepresented groups. “They are volunteers, they don’t get paid. They stand outside in the cold and they welcome people and usher them this way and that way. And I just think they deserve a lot of credit for that. I honour them, so thanks for that.”. After this, he introduced Executive Director Keri Putnam before exiting the stage.
Putnam was very excited to kick off the Festival tonight stating that the Programmers have picked a lot of great films. She reminded the audience that the Sundance Film Festival is a non-profit event. She stated there is a common misconception that this is a separate part of the Sundance Institute, “and that is not true.”. She continued that the Festival is here to support Filmmakers and be a supportive platform for their work. She said there are a lot of different narratives at this year’s Festival: some that will spark joy and others that with cause discomfort. “Art can’t spark conversation if it’s playing it safe,” she concluded before introducing the panel for the Press Conference.
Festival Director John Cooper, Director of Programming Kim Yutani, and select Programmers were on the Panel to talk about what makes this Festival so special. One of the points John Cooper made was that each Programmer and Director contribute to every Programme. Therefore, there is a diverse range of films in every Programme. Yutani said they brought on even more Programmers this year which helped make for a bigger range of films. The one aspect of the Festival they are most proud of is the International Films they are showcasing this year. They stated they have spent years making connections with international Filmmakers to bring great movies to Sundance. They are also proud of the 45 Documentaries they are showcasing this year. Stating that in the time we live in, watching Documentary is crucial to understanding different views.
Some of the Films playing at the Festival tonight include After The Wedding, starring Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore. It’s the American remake of Susanne Bier’s Academy Award nominated Danish Film of the same name. The Film follows Isabel who travels to find the woman who donated a substantial amount of money to her orphanage to thank her, however, she finds a connection that sends her on a journey to her past. The Opening Night Documentary of the day is The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley about Elizabeth Holmes‘ revolutionary medical invention that scammed a lot of high-profile people.
The 2019 Sundance Film Festival runs January 24 through February 4, 2019. Follow us for our coverage on the most buzzed Films and faces to come out of the Festival as we update daily here and on our Social channels.
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(Photo credit: Sundance)
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