Redford endorses O2 setting for festival

By Giles Broadbent on April 26, 2012 4:10 PM |

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The O2 in North Greenwich received a rousing endorsement from movie star Robert Redford as he flew in to attend the four-day Sundance London festival.

Speaking at a press conference in Screen 7 at the Cineworld cinema, he said: "This theatre - my God! We should be lucky to have a theatre like this. We don't come close to anything like this. Our venues include a converted library."

He was asked why he had decided to take the immensely successful independent film festival on the road.

He said: "Two things came together. One was the fact that we were invited by AEG to come to O2. Secondly it coincided with a desire of ours to go international.

"I was reluctant to do that at first. I didn't want growth just to be about growth there had to be some meaning to it and I was reluctant until it was ready.

"Then it felt like it was and we could take a scaled down version of what we do in the mountains in Utah to another country upon invitation would be a good thing. We would take the alchemy of what we do at Sundance and see how it was received."

Director of the festival John Cooper said he liked the mix of facilities at The O2.

He said: "We wanted the music venues close to the film venues and the quality of projection and the quality of the theatres - that's first and foremost for our film-makers of course that's how you start.

"You start with great facilities and great films and the community part takes on itself. I just love that you don't have to drive between venues and once you get inside you can walk between things."

Robert Redford said that he had no idea how the slimmed-down version of the festival, showcasing music and new American voices, would be received.

Asked about his aspirations for the festival, which runs over the weekend, he said: "We would hope to be received well, we would hope that what we do at Sundance would have some appeal in London - that's a hope and we won't know until it's over. I have no idea how it's going to go.

"I guess the other part of the hope to inspire creativity here in London and, finally, the main objective that we started with was to create new voices to be heard would be to extend that opportunity in other parts of the world. This is the first step if it works."

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