Robert Redford, Tabitha Jackson Deliver Opening Remarks in 2021 Sundance Film Festival Kickoff

Jan 29, 2021

Sundance Film Festival Director Tabitha Jackson delivers opening remarks for the 2021 festival virtually on Thursday, Jan. 27.
Credit Sundance Institute

On Thursday night, film-lovers were welcomed to an online Sundance Film Festival for 2021.


During the virtual ceremony, which included a message from Sundance founder Robert Redford, organizers said they are using a new format, but haven’t given up on their core purpose.


Redford delivered a recorded message that took a cosmic perspective on independent film, Sundance and the past year.


In her remarks, new Festival Director Tabitha Jackson said the Festival responded to the events of a turbulent 2020.


“This Festival was conceived as a grand experiment, a response actually to loss—the grief of a pandemic, the uncertainty of an economic crisis, and the pain, which elicited a global uprising in the face of racism and police brutality,” she said. “But this loss brought new clarity—clarity around our belief in the necessity of the independent voice, our belief in community, and our conviction that freedom of creative expression is a powerful and necessary response to repression and autocracy.”


Jackson said that in planning a festival during a pandemic, they focused on the words ‘What if.” They decided that rather than have audiences come to a festival, the festival can come to an audience.


“Park City has always been our festival home. And this year, so is your living room, your bedroom, the palm of your hand,” she said. “So thanks for allowing us in. But whether we’re looking into screens or through telescopes, the power of looking lies not just in what we are looking at but where we are looking from, and the meaning that we can make from it.”