PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Robert Redford is happy to see the end-credits rolling on the George W. Bush administration.
President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday falls in the middle of Redford's Sundance Film Festival, which the actor has occasionally used as a platform to criticize Bush in past years.
"I'm personally excited just because I'm glad to see the gang that couldn't shoot straight get out of there. I'm glad to see them gone," Redford said Thursday at a news conference hours before the opening of the 11-day festival. You've got a lame-duck guy going out, but he sure has done a lot of quacking in the last while. So therefore, the sooner they're gone, the better, and therefore, I'm very excited by the change that's coming."
Redford said he hopes federal funds for the arts might eventually rise under the Obama administration, adding that the National Endowment for the Arts has been hobbled by politics.
"They were fighting the political machine of the extreme right that saw art as some kind of threat," Redford said. "So I think that's going to change. What I would like to see is, a country like ours should certainly be subsidizing, a little bit more than it is, art in general. Other countries do. So I would certainly like to see more coming out of the NEA. They've cut it down to the bone. There's practically nothing left."
The festival is presenting 118 feature-length films, starting with Thursday night's opening premiere "Mary and Max," director Adam Elliot's clay-animation tale whose voice cast is led by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette.
The lineup of independent films includes Michael and Mark Polish's "Manure," with Billy Bob Thornton and Tea Leoni in the comic tale of a fertilizer company in crisis; Armando Iannucci's political satire "In the Loop," with James Gandolfini; Greg Mottola's 1980s flashback "Adventureland," with Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart; and Marc Webb's "500 Days of Summer," with Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Redford, whose Sundance Institute for independent cinema has overseen the festival for 25 years, shared some advice for anyone aiming to break into filmmaking.
"If you want to come into this business, you need to want it more than anything else in your life, because it's going to be a hard road," Redford said. "It's going to take things like luck and hard work and diligence and tenacity and bravery and courage. And to be able to go through that, you have to want it more than anything."