Robert Redford scaling back on Sundance duties

ROBERT REDFORD is taking a step back from his Sundance Film Festival because the annual event no longer needs his input to run smoothly.

The actor/director founded Sundance in 1981 to showcase independent movie projects, and the festival has since become an industry institution, drawing 50,000 visitors to its base in Park City, Utah, every year.

Redford, who is currently in the U.K. to launch the second Sundance London, has now revealed he plans to gradually phase himself out of the events.

He says, "It doesn't need me any more. I'm slowly stepping back... Has Sundance got too big? That's for others to decide. Has it got too big for me? Probably, in the sense that I realized I'd been drowning in it. So now I'm content to just step in periodically to ensure it stays true to its original purpose, and make sure it doesn't spend too much time raising money.

"Sundance is a non-profit organization. It's supposed to be about independent filmmakers, about people who don't have a chance. We have to live those values. We can't let it look like Beverly Hills."

Redford admits he initially struggled to get Sundance off the ground, recalling, "The first year we took it to Park City, there was only one ramshackle theater. I had to stand outside trying to get people to come in, like some guy outside a strip-joint. And then it went completely beyond what I had envisioned. The whole thing mushroomed."

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