Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Sundance goes to Abu Dhabi? Maybe, Redford says

January 16, 2009

ABU DHABINow this is a cultural exchange. Sundance kid Robert Redford has said that his Sundance Film Festival is engaged in early talks to lend its name to a sister film festival in Abu Dhabi.

“It makes total sense we would extend our mission into the Middle East,” Redford told reporters at a news conference ahead of the festival’s opening on Thursday night. He said festival organizers have been approached by people — although he did not say whom — in the United Arab Emirates city about holding a festival there. “We are in discussions, but nothing has been signed,” he said.

What makes it most interesting is that Sundance is known as the No. 1 festival for U.S. independent film, and it has long embraced movies about outsiders and people who live on the edge of society. Sundance champions gay and lesbian films and filmmakers. It’s not exactly the type of image many Americans would like portrayed overseas, especially in the Middle East. Or, is it?SUNDANCE/

Another thing that Redford, a long-time activist for liberal causes, did was slam the Bush administration for cutbacks to funding for the arts during his tenure in the White House. Redford said he was optimistic that President-elect Obama will restore a favorable climate for public funding of the arts after he is inaugurated next week.

“I think we are going to see art and culture return to the national agenda and that’s very exciting to me,” Redford told reporters.

But it begs age old questions: What exactly is art? Should taxpayer dollars be used to fund an art project that some might view as inexplicable or even trash? And who makes the judgement call? Or, should there even be a judgement call? All good questions and ones that impact you because, after all, it’s your money the U.S. government is spending.


Not only is it exactly the type of image many Americans would like portrayed overseas, but it’s also about time. People overseas should be seeing other sides of America then just the conventional Hollywood blockbusters with big name actors. I hope this is just the first of many such ventures by Sundance.

Posted by mlp | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see