Sundance Film Festival's opening press conference was held at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 16. Photo by Carla Boecklin.

Typically, The Egyptian Theatre fills with press passing time before the Sundance Film Festival's opening press conference each year by checking Twitter, trading war stories or taking naps.

But this year, many of them had a talking point for the hour and a half wait on Thursday afternoon—J.C. Chandor's All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford, isn't an Oscar nominee. (When a room full of critics and entertainment reporters thinks you were snubbed, you probably were.) 

So, it's no surprise when Redford, Sundance Film Festival founder; Keri Putnam, Sundance Institute executive director; and John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival director took their seats on stage, the first question was for Bob.

To see the entire press conference, click here. Below are some of the highlights.


Robert Redford, photo by Carla Boecklin.

Redford on All Is Lost not being nominated

"Well, look, first of all, I don't want that to get in the way of why we're here," Redford said, steering the conversation toward indie film and the fest, which has generated $375 million in economic value for Utah over the past five years. But he did give his thoughts on why the film's not nominated: "This film suffered from little to no distribution," he said. "Would it have been wonderful to be nominated? Of course, but I'm not disturbed by it."

In the end, he likes that he was in a true indie film.

After 30 years of Sundance, has the mission changed?

Redford said he's happy to see so many award winners these days who got their start at the festival, and the goal of supporting independent film is still strong. Putnam doesn't think the mission has changed at all, but mentioned how Sundance has expanded to include many different kinds of films, along with film labs. And Cooper weighed in, saying he's seen changes in the films themselves—more original ideas and a stronger focus on the aesthetic in the films.

New to Sundance this year is Sundance Kids—the festival's collaboration with the Utah Film Center on family-friendly films for the fest. Films include Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang and Ernest and Celestine.

The program was created with an agenda: "The notion of creating a young audience for independent film," Cooper said. If Sundance gets kids hooked on independent film now, they'll hopefully stay hooked. Cooper also mentioned Ernest & Celestine's Oscar nomination was a pleasant surprise.

How indie films compete in a blockbuster business. 

"We want the best for filmmakers who come through, but there's a doorway where we stop," Redford said. At that point, he said they don't have much control over a film's fate."Independent film, unfortunately, is at the mercy of distribution."

Putnam brought up the point that Sundance Institute filmmakers leave with tools to navigate distribution and other platforms. When Redford mentioned many of the films raise their own awareness through Kickstarter, Putnam added Sundance has also helped raise $7 million for indie films through Kickstarter.


John Cooper, Keri Putnam and Robert Redford chat with The Salt Lake Tribune's Sean P. Means. Photo by Carla Boecklin.

Failing

Cooper talked about this year's celebration of failure.

On Monday, Jan. 20, the film festival is holding panels, workshops and events focused on failure—a vital part of the creative process. Workshops include things you're set up to fail, like kicking with The Rockettes. The fest will also show a film Sundance failed to screen when they first had the chance, Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket. Click here for more info.

And finally, someone asked how Tribeca can be more like Sundance.

"I would say don't event try," Redford said.

As for that Oscar snub, there's always a chance for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Bob. Well . . . maybe, maybe not.