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Paris attacks 'wake up event' for artists: Redford at Sundance

23 january 2015, 11:11

 The Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris were a "wake-up event" for freedom of expression, movie legend Robert Redford said Thursday as he launched the Sundance Film Festival, a showcase for independent cinema, AFP reports.

He vowed that the 11-day festival, which features edgy and sometimes provocative films as opposed to more mainstream Hollywood movies, would be a "safe place" for independent filmmakers.

"There is an attack on freedom of expression in many different places, it's not exclusive to Paris," he told reporters, but added: "That was a sad event, it was a shocking event.

"I also have a hunch it was a bit of a wakeup event," he said when asked about the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly which left 12 people dead.

"We believe in diversity, and freedom of expression is very much fundamental to us. ... You see a lot of films here that are going to upset other people, but that is OK -- it's diversity," he added.

Redford continued: "Freedom of expression seems to be in danger in a lot of areas, but as far as we're concerned, we will do everything in our power to keep it alive here."

Some 200 films will be screened at the festival -- held annually in the Utah ski resort of Park City, and now in its 31st year -- between Thursday and February 1.

"The idea ... to try to create a safe place for filmmakers ... is what I think Sundance represents," said the 78-year-old, who named the festival after his character in 1969 classic "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

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