“During the ’60s and ’70s the mainstream included independent films within its own structure…What happened is in 1979, maybe ’80, I could see something happening where cable was coming up, and video on demand was coming up. At the same time Hollywood as an industry was beginning to move away from the more independent films and focusing on where the money, which was young people. Which meant you were going to have things like—not so much on story, but explosions and special effects. What I got concerned about is some of the films I like best were the more diverse storytelling. So I thought, well, what could I do? That lead to the idea of a lab. And I got the NEA to give me a grant to start it all. The only thing I could contribute outside of my own time was the property I had here in Utah in the mountains. And so I thought, well, I can give that. But the marketplace was pretty well locked off by the mainstream industry, so there was no place to go. So I thought how can we follow this out and do something more? Maybe we create a festival. And at least create a festival where the filmmakers could come and see each other’s work. I would say in the first year, 1985, we brought maybe 30 films, maybe 10 documentaries. What I loved about this was it was so independent, because that’s a word that’s always meant a lot to me. I think there’s value in that word. Because out of that word comes diversity. And I felt that the most important thing that the festival should have was demonstrating the diversity of film as possible. The first years there was just a few films, nows there’s 12,000 submissions. You worry you get so big that you lose the heart and soul of what you were about in the first place.”
Oscar-winning director/actor Robert Redford
Yahoo! News interview with Katie Couric
Two things stand out from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival; first that looking at the list of award winners you see a lot of diversity, and that “Netflix and Amazon dominated this year’s Sundance” according to a Vulture article by Kevin Lincoln. So while there may be a limited release of some of those films it appears downloading and steaming video on demand is a growing market for Independent filmmakers.=
Side technical note: When you’re shooting an interview (like the one with Redford) make sure the talent doesn’t hold a plastic water bottle because they have a tendency to squeeze it a little throughout the interview making that crinkly noise sound when plastic crumples.