January 19, 2009

Redford: argument against Gay Rights Boycott of Sundance ’09.

It would seem self-defeating, like shooting yourself in the foot after your heart was hacked in two, to boycott one of the few bright spots in Utah—Sundance Film Festival—but that’s just what many gays and gay advocates have resolved to do following the Mormon Church’s activi$m in helping pass Prop 8, which takes away basic human rights from the gay community in California. While the anger is understandable, and one we all should share, hurting Sundance (already overwhelmed by Obama’s Inauguration, this year) is akin to boycotting the only fair-labor factory in a Chinese child-labor town.

Fight injustice wherever we find it—even if in liberal California—that seems obvious. But, too, we must support justice wherever you find it…even, and especially, if it’s in Mormon Utah.




At the Sundance Film Festival’s opening news conference this afternoon, Robert Redford addressed calls by gay rights groups to boycott Utah and, by extension, the festival.

“I think to try to target Sundance is self-defeating. Diversity is what we do. We’ve been there giving full freedom of voice to all kinds for years,” Redford said

The boycott is a response to the Mormon Church’s support of California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.

Despite the boycott call and the weak economy — leading to speculation that attendance this year, the 25th festival, was going to be low — both Redford and festival director Geoffrey Gilmore seemed upbeat.   

“The festival’s ticket sales are ahead of last year’s by substantial numbers,” Gilmore said.

Journalists packed into the Egyptian Theatre on Main Street in Park City to hear Redford and Gilmore’s remarks. Director Spike Lee, whose documentary “Passing Strange” is playing at Sundance this year, was in the audience too. He seemed to particularly enjoy Redford’s remarks on Barack Obama’s inauguration, which falls in the middle of this year’s festival.

“This may sound weird, but if attendance thins out [beacuse of the inauguration], that won’t bother me,” Redford said. “We can focus on the art here, and I’m just glad to see that the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight is out.”

Redford was asked if he would accept a role as a much-rumored Cabinet-level secretary of arts and culture, if Obama offered it. Redford was quick to respond…read the rest, here.


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