- 15 марта 2011, 21:15
Veteran actor made plea against cutting arts funding as he revealed details of a mini-scale version of event he created
He was here to announce that the Sundance festival is coming to London. But Robert Redford also took the opportunity to make a plea in solidarity with Britain's actors: don't cut the arts.
Redford revealed details of a small-scale London version of the film festival he created and which has been held in the mountains of Utah since the 1980s. It will be staged at the O2 in April next year, and while there may not be the opportunity to ski down the slopes of Mount Timpanogos, Redford said he was confident the venue was the right one.
He also added his voice to the campaign against cuts to arts funding in the UK: "Everbody is experiencing this austerity programme around the world, we're seeing it in America – cutbacks, cutbacks.
"That's something I wouldn't attack on all fronts, other than in the arts, and I join my colleagues here – Helen Mirren, who I've worked with, Jeremy Irons and others who say you can't cut the arts because it enriches the culture.
"There are also many examples where it enriches the economy. Look at the festival. It puts $70m into the local economy. You can't, unless it is an ideological argument, classify the arts as a trivial pursuit."
UK arts groups will be glad of his support as they await the next round of funding decisions by the Arts Council, which had its budget cut by 29.6% last year.
However, Redford's real job was to announce details of Sundance London. The 74-year-old actor said he hoped it would become an annual festival: "I've wanted to come to London for a long time and it was a question of how and when. It could only happen if there was someone here who wanted us."
Although British films such as Submarine, Tyrannosaur, Project Nim and Knuckle did very well at this year's Sundance festival, Redford said that Sundance London will be a showcase for independent American films.
"We want to bring a slice of our culture to this space," he said. "There will also be American music, as well as debates and panel discussions."
Redford said that he set up the original Sundance festival in the mountains of Utah "because I thought it would be more weird, more odd and more interesting. I also like to ski". Clearly, the O2 will be a different prospect. "Time will tell how it works, but we're coming in very small. We're here four days, we're not bringing the full complement of Sundance – we're bringing film and American music."
The Sundance Institute was founded to promote "independent storytelling to inform, inspire and unite diverse populations around the globe."
Among the projects that it has helped to nurture are An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening and Angels in America.
From the work of the institute came the film festival, held in Park City, which has introduced audiences to movies such as Reservoir Dogs, Little Miss Sunshine and American Splendor.
London Sundance will run 26-29 April 2012. Register at www.sundance-london.com
How the Sundances compare
Sundance Park City
Largest independent film festival in US
Original purpose 'Advancing the work of risk-taking storytellers worldwide'
Notable films Reservoir Dogs, The Blair Witch Project
Sundance London at O2 Arena
Largest mast-supported, dome-shaped cable structure in world
Original purpose 'Triumph of boldness over blandness' - Tony Blair
Notable films Disney Channel's High School Musical 2 premiere.
Past attractions The Millennium Dome's Body Zone, home to a giant Perspex testicle inside which visitors could watch a video simulation of the life of a spermatazoan. Now sadly defunct.