Robert Redford avoids Oscars controversy at Sundance

PARK CITY, United States – American actor Robert Redford refused to be drawn into the Oscars race controversy Thursday as the Sundance Film Festival he founded got underway in the mountains of Utah.

See Full Article

"I am not into Oscars, I am not into that," Redford told reporters as he kicked off the annual gathering -- a showcase for independent films -- in the ski resort of Park City.

"For me it's about the work," he said. "Whatever comes from it, whatever rewards come from it, that's great but I don't think about it."

The festival opened amid a storm of controversy in Hollywood over the lack of black actors nominated for the Oscars for the second year in a row.

Filmmaker Spike Lee and actor Will Smith, as well as his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, have said they would not attend the Academy Awards on February 28 over this year's all-white Oscar nominations.

Asked by reporters about his opinion on the matter, Redford -- a two-time Oscar winner -- clearly did not want to address the topic.

"Diversity comes out of the word independence," he said. "It's a word I've operated from principally for most of my life.

"That's something we're pretty proud of, how we show diversity in the festival."

He added that he was by no means against mainstream cinema -- "I have been very happily part of that" -- and his goal in creating the Sundance festival in 1985 was more to give a voice to independent filmmakers rather "than insurgents coming down from a mountain to attack the mainstream."

'Symptom of deeper problem'

Speaking with a group of reporters following the opening ceremony, festival executive director Keri Putnam said change in Hollywood could only come from the system as a whole rather than members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"What is happening at the Oscars is the symptom of the deeper problem which is not unique to the film and media business," she said. "It's something we see in technology and other areas.

"When there is a system that has grown up a certain way with a lot of people who look the same that are making decisions, that are gaining power, it's very difficult for people of different backgrounds to get the chance to get started and move up the ladder."

She said she hoped Sundance -- which over the years has offered a platform for independent filmmakers and launched several Oscar-nominated films including this year's "Brooklyn" -- could positively influence the debate on diversity.

"The problem is, is the talent ready?" Putnam said. "But is the system ready to receive that talent? Are they ready to say 'yes' to those sorts of projects?"

The festival, which runs through January 31, will shine the spotlight on some 120 independent features, many by independent newcomers trying to make their mark.

This year's lineup offers an array of films and documentaries that deal with timely issues such as gun violence in the United States, abortion and homosexuality.

There are also a number of quirkier films on offer, including one about a tickling competition and another about a Depression-era doctor in Kansas who made a fortune peddling goat-testicles as a cure for impotence.

Redford said he was proud of this year's lineup and the timely topics addressed.

"We don't bring them up," he said. "We just put the spotlight on the artists who bring them up."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Oscars look to 'La La Land,' Jimmy Kimmel for ratings boost

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- If the Oscars had doubled down on nominating films with actors named Ryan, the ceremony's chances for a ratings bounce might be as likely as host Jimmy Kimmel's Trump jokes. Saluting a blockbuster like Ryan Reynolds' "Deadpool" is the surest way to lure viewers. Source
  • Hearing in Roman Polanski's long-running case delayed

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A hearing to unseal testimony in Roman Polanski's long-running underage sex case has been delayed. The Los Angeles Superior Court sent out a notice Wednesday stating that a hearing scheduled for Friday has been delayed a new date has not yet formally been set. Source
  • Johnny Depp blames years of tax problems on ex-managers

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Johnny Depp has accused his former managers of costing him more than $6 million in tax penalties and fines as part of their ongoing legal battle. The Pirates of the Caribbean star sued bosses at The Management Group (TMG) for fraud last month , alleging they mishandled his finances by collecting $28 million in fees he never agreed to, repeatedly failing to file his taxes in a timely manner, and loaning roughly $10 million of his money without being authorised to do so. Source
  • In Oscar winners about Hollywood, undercurrents of anxiety

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Hollywood is ready for its close-up. Again. If Damien Chazelle's "La La Land" is to win best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards -- and just about everyone thinks it's going to -- it will surely go down as another in a run of movies about Hollywood to be celebrated by Hollywood. Source
  • David Bowie, George Michael honoured at Brit Awards [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LONDON — The Brit Awards recognized big international stars including Drake and Beyonce and a cross-section of home-grown talent Wednesday — but the ceremony was overshadowed by the much-missed David Bowie and George Michael. Bowie, who died in January 2016 at age 69, was crowned British male artist of the year and won British album of the year for “Blackstar,” released days before his death. Source
  • Martin Scorsese's 'The Irishman' heading to Netflix

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s long-awaited mob movie The Irishman is heading to the small screen thanks to a distribution deal with streaming service Netflix. The longtime collaborators, whose previous hits together include Raging Bull and Goodfellas, were first linked to the biopic about real-life union official-turned-mafia hitman Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran in 2008, but production plans with Paramount Pictures executives in 2011 stalled due to scheduling issues. Source
  • Oscars 2017: Andrew Garfield reflects on trading Spider-Man for 'Hacksaw Ridge'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES – In Hollywood – if you’re lucky – when one door closes, another opens up. Just ask Oscar-nominee Andrew Garfield. The rising American-born, British star cut his teeth with dark dramas like David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) and Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go (2010) before landing the coveted lead in the 2012 reboot of Spider-Man. Source
  • Director Kenneth Lonergan reacts to ‘Manchester by the Sea’ success

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Oscar-nominee Kenneth Lonergan reacts to the heartbreaking success of Manchester by the Sea Manchester by the Sea started life as a conversation between Matt Damon and John Krasinski. Damon took the project to award-winning playwright and filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan, who wrote a screenplay and eventually directed the movie himself. Source
  • Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams spotted singing karaoke in Calgary

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Maisie Williams, a.k.a. Arya Stark, has been spotted in Calgary and Banff over the last couple of days, apparently taking a break from shooting scenes with Alberta wolves for the seventh season of Game of Thrones. The 19-year-old actress reportedly sang karaoke at Ducky’s in Calgary and has visited various areas in Banff. Source
  • David Bowie, Emeli Sande among winners at 2017 Brit Awards

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Brit Award for album of the year has been awarded to David Bowie for Blackstar. It is the latest posthumous honor for Bowie, and the second Brit Award he won Wednesday. His son, film director Duncan Jones, accepted the award on his behalf, noting that his father died the same year Jones became a father. Source