I reported on the opening press conference of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival:
The 2018 Sundance Film Festival comes this year amid a broad cultural conversation about sexual assault, harassment and misconduct in Hollywood and beyond, which has shed light on decades of abuse, generating both career-ending consequences for abusers and widespread advocacy for change.
The topic came up quickly Thursday and featured prominently in the panel discussion at the Day One Press Conference, which opened the festival, indicating that the #MeToo movement is still front and center in the film community.
Festival director John Cooper called this year’s festival “a bit of a ground zero” in its ability to further the #MeToo conversation, pointing to panels that have been planned for the coming days, as well as an updated Code of Conduct at the festival and a 24-hour hotline for reporting any violations of the code that may occur throughout the event.
“For me, personally, the movement and the conversation that ‘Me Too’ and ‘Times Up’ have generated has been incredibly moving,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute. “I do think it’s about more than a few individual men, I think it’s about the underlying systems of power, and especially in the media industry, what this has meant for us, I think, is looking at ‘What are those structures? What are those assumptions that we make, in terms of what we value, who gets financing, who gets distribution, who gets to tell the stories and what stories we tell?”
Putnam hopes that the discussions will lead to complex changes in the film industry.
“This isn’t a new conversation for us,” she said. “But it’s a new moment, and we’re not going to go backwards from here. ... I do want to recognize, though, I don’t think making change in a complex system like ours is easy, and I think it’s going to require a lot of effort and a lot of pressure and a lot of conversations.”