The 2013 Sundance Film Festival has been opened with a little discussion about recent debate over movie violence. Attending day one of the big event, veteran thesp Robert Redford, who is also the founder of the festival, shared his thoughts on the issue, which was recently discussed by White House Task Force on Gun Violence (led by Vice President Joe Biden) and the Hollywood executives.
"I think it's absolutely not only appropriate, but overdue, to have a dialogue" about movie violence, Redford said during a Sundance news conference on Thursday, January 17. The actor added, "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?' I don't know," he went. "But it seems like a question worth asking my own industry. It seems fair. I notice how often guns are used in ads as though there's something that translates in a positive way."
Also weighing in on the issue was Keri Putnam, executive director of the nonprofit Sundance Institute. "It's good that the dialogue about gun control is happening on a national level right now," Putnam stated carefully. "I don't think I have anything to add to that really."
Putnam added that the organizers didn't reconsider to change the slate for this year's Sundance following the shooting tragedies in Aurora and Newtown last year. She reasoned, "We did not go back and look at the program with an eye toward violence... [We didn't] say, 'Is there anything that will play differently because of that shooting?' "
This year's Sundance Film Festival will run from January 17 to 27. It will include 113 feature-length films from 32 countries and 51 first-time filmmakers, including 27 in competition. As for Redford himself, he will be seen in his own directed film "The Company You Keep". He said of his new project, "I've got skin in the game. Basically, I am now living in the same stream as the filmmakers we support."