Redford plays down Oscar snub, plays up indie film at Sundance

Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:10pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Robert Redford may have been one of the noteworthy exclusions in Thursday's Oscar nominations, but as the actor-director kicked off the 30th edition of his Sundance Film Festival, he made the point that film is not all about Hollywood anyway.

A leading man in the 1970s and 1980s, Redford created the annual Sundance gathering in Park City, Utah, to give an outlet to independent film making and creativity brewing outside of the big studios.

Speaking at his annual press conference, Redford said he did not want the fact that he had not received an Academy Award nomination for his role in "All is Lost" to detract from the festival. But in explaining why the movie was not recognized by Oscar voters, he put the blame on the studio behind the film, Lionsgate.

"We suffered from little to no distribution, so as a result, our distributors, I don't know why, they didn't want to spend the money, they were afraid or they just weren't capable," said the 77-year-old Redford, who has won two Oscars. Neither was for acting.

"We had no campaign to help us cross over into the mainstream, so I suspect that had something to do with it. Would it have been wonderful to be nominated? Of course. But I'm not disturbed or upset by it," he added.

But Redford was upset by a recent article published in the New York Times that suggested Sundance's growing crop of films that are acquired from the festival and receive theatrical releases are not always beneficial to the movie theater business. Redford criticized the author of the article, saying "that person was wrong," referring to critic Manohla Dargis.

"There was an article recently in a paper that seems to suggest that Sundance isn't what it could be or what it was. And they were implying that was because of box office receipts, and lack of financial reasons. That's not who we are. It's got nothing to do with who we are, we are non-profit," Redford said.

"We're not interested in the money of it, that's somebody else's business."   Continued...

Actor Robert Redford addresses the media at an opening day news conference for the Sundance Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, Utah, January 16, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart