Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford did not shy away from addressing the elephants in the room – Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo – Thursday at the Sundance Film Festival, saying that the fallen executive is not “going to stop the show.”
Both the lingering shadow of Weinstein, who long lorded over the indie film festival, and the Me Too movement dominated conversation at the historically tame opening day press conference in Park City, Utah.
“Harvey Weinstein was a moment in time and we’re going to move past that,” Redford said. “I don’t think he’s going to stop the show.”
In recent months, Weinstein has been accused of two instances of assault at Sundance, including actress Rose McGowan’s rape allegation from 1997. Representatives for Weinstein have denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
“We were sickened to hear along with everyone else about Harvey’s behavior and even more so to learn that at least a couple of those instances happened at the Sundance Film Festival,” added Keri Putnam, the executive director for the Sundance Institute. “They are nothing we were aware of at the time.”
Putnam said that recent revelations and conversations around sexual misconduct are creating a new awareness.
“This isn’t a new conversation for us, but it’s a new moment and we’re not going to go backward from here,” she said.
In response to assault allegations during the festival and heightened sensitivity to sexual misconduct, the festival has taken strides to ensure the safety of its guests, including instilling a public code of conduct and a 24-hour safety hotline in partnership with Utah Attorney General’s office.
“It’s a bit of a ground zero,” said festival director John Cooper.
Redford also addressed the Me Too and Time’s Up movements saying that he’s, “Pretty encouraged right now.”
“It’s bringing forth more opportunity for women and more opportunity for women in film for their voices to be heard and have their own projects,” Redford said. “The role for men right now is to listen and to let women’s voices be heard and think about it.”
The Sundance Film Festival runs through Jan. 28.