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Robert Redford highlights economic importance of film industry

Robert Redford Sundance Film Festival LondonPresident and founder of Sundance, Robert Redford, yesterday highlighted the economic benefits of the film industry at a press conference in London, where he attended the launch of his festival’s second venture outside the US.

Speaking to reporters in the UK's capital, the actor and director said: "Someone needs to step forward and talk about the economic benefits that films bring."

"The film industry delivers billions to the table and that should be made clear." Redford drew attention to the way in which film created employment opportunities, brought in revenue and provided business for studios and cinemas.

The actor - who reached fame through films such as All the President's Men and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - told reporters he thought the film industry should get more credit for the contribution it makes to the wider economy. 

His comments were a response to a statement made earlier that day by the UK's Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who told arts executives they needed to focus more on the economic benefits of culture, not the artistic ones, in order to sustain their current levels of public funding.

She said: "When times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture's economic impact."

A report published by the BFI last year showed that the UK film industry contributed over £4.6bn to the British economy. The film institute also calculated that the film industry in the country generates more than 115,000 employment opportunities.

The second Sundance London Film Festival runs from 25 to 28 April. Its purpose is to bring a selection of documentaries and feature films with a US angle, previously screened at the festival in Utah, Ohio, to a European audience. Redford called this a "cultural exchange". 

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