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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Live@Sundance Opening Presser… from a café in Chicago

The first Sundance I’ve attended where I couldn’t make it to opening day, and I’m missing the tradition of the opening presser, where Robert Redford offers his opening invocation of the ideals of Sundance. (All’s missing is thin air and the murmuring of cynical scribes seated nearby.) The work of the Sundance Institute gets described in general terms before the specific results light up the screens for ten days to come. But for 2011, the opening remarks by Robert Redford and new Executive Director of the Institute, Keri Putnam [profile], as well as John Cooper. “It’s great to be in a second year, and not a first year, let me tell you,” Cooper says. “I’m almost relaxed!” “We are live-streaming this, so hello out there!”

Cooper repeats his prediction that it may be one of the most packed festivals in years, but warns that’s anecdotal. “We’re already sold out, but the word on the street, I think, it’s going to be a very big year and maybe very crowded on the streets. I fear that this kind of constant, ongoing situtation of ambush marketers may be back—I like to call them riff-raff. At an event of this size, that is to be expected. I wish they could find a way to contribute to independent film in generral, but I have to keep looking at the sponsors who support this festival and the year-round stuff that we do.” The magic happens in the theaters, he added, “because that’s what we do.” Cooper also adds that for 2011, the festival received over 10,000 submissions.

“Mr Redford, you’re in your 70s, any plans of retiring?” a woman asks and Cooper bolts from the stage. “Who are you?” he laughs. Redford says, “I think you’ve just given me a great idea! I have not thought about retiring. I’m going to die,” he says, laughing, “but I haven’t thought about retiring.”

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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield