With a declaration of “much love to you,” the festival founder praised outgoing festival director John Cooper onstage Thursday at a packed Eccles Theatre in Park City. In tribute to the departing director after more than a decade at the helm, Redford laid out possibly the greatest praise he could that “at some point the festival became his,” in reference to Cooper.
The remarks from Redford, who last year stepped back as the public face of Sundance, earned rich applause from the opening-night attendees. It was his first public appearance of this year’s festival, the first in many years not to have an opening press conference. Instead, organizers sent out prerecorded videos from Cooper, Sundance Institute boss Keri Putnam and festival programmer Kim Yutani,