PARK CITY, Utah -- Violence in entertainment isn’t just a topic for Washington this week -- it’s also on the mind of Sundance Film Festival organizers.
Days after a White House Task Force on Gun Violence led by Vice President Joe Biden met with a group of Hollywood executives, Robert Redford, who helped found the Sundance Film Festival, admitted he himself questions the industry’s emphasis on violence.
“I think it’s absolutely not only appropriate, but overdue, to have a dialogue” about violence on screen, the filmmaker said Thursday at a news conference kicking off the 10-day long annual event. “When I was driving along the street the other day in L.A., I saw two billboards where guns were featured prominently ... with a pleasant, happy-looking young couple.... My thought was: ‘Does my industry think guns will help sell tickets?’”
However, Keri Putnam, the festival’s executive director, said last year’s shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., did not prompt organizers to rethink this year’s Sundance slate.
“We did not go back and look at the program with an eye toward violence,” she acknowledged during a roundtable after the news conference. "...[We didn’t] say, ‘Is there anything that will play differently because of that shooting?’ ”
Redford, meanwhile, said he was approaching this year’s festival with a different viewpoint after recently having filmed a starring role in the independent film “All Is Lost,” by Sundance veteran J.C. Chandor, about a man stuck on a boat. (Last year, Chandor described the film to The Times as “ ‘Castaway’ without the volleyball.”
Redford also will be seen in the upcoming film “The Company You Keep,” which he directed.
“I’ve got skin in the game,” Redford said. “Basically, I am now living in the same stream as the filmmakers we support.”