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30 years later, Sundance mission still the same, Redford says
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Workers busy themselves constructing the Hewlett Packard Live Lounge at Heber and Main in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Workers deliver ice to a restaurant on Main Street in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
FedEx delivery team deliver packages for the Sundance Film Fesival on Main Street in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
People pass by the Hewlett Packard Live Lounge at Heber and Main in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
A restaurant just off Main Street in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
FedEx crew delivers packages to Sundance Film Festival offices on Main in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Deliveries being made on Main Street in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
A worker cuts lumber during the construction of the Hewlett Packard Live Lounge at Heber and Main in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
People walk down Main Street in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Visitor cross the street at Heber and Main in Park City, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
A Sundance worker mops the stage where the opening press conference will take place in about an hour at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, right, speaks as Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam listens during the opening press conference will take place in about an hour at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, right, speaks as Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam listens during the opening press conference will take place in about an hour at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, right, speaks as Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam listens during the opening press conference will take place in about an hour at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, listens to a question during the opening press conference will take place in about an hour at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, right, speaks as Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam, center, and John Cooper, left listen during the opening press conference will take place in about an hour at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam, center, answers a question as Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, right, and Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper, left take part in the discussion during the opening press conference at Sundance at The Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford takes part in the discussion during the opening press conference at Sundance at The Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford answers a question during the opening press conference at Sundance at The Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam answers a question during the opening press conference at Sundance at The Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, center, answers a question as Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam, left, listens, and moderator and Salt Lake Tribune movie critic Sean Means scans the audience looking for the next questioner during the opening press conference at Sundance at The Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam, left, laughs as she answers a question as Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, right, takes part in the discussion during the opening press conference at Sundance at The Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper, left, Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam, Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, and Salt Lake Tribune film critic Sean Means, acting as the moderator for the opening press conference, are introduced to the audience at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam, left, listens as Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, answers a question during the opening press conference at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014. At right is Salt Lake Tribune film critic Sean Means, who was the moderator of the discussion.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper, left, Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam, center, and Founder and President of Sundance Institute Robert Redford, discuss a question during the opening press conference, at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Bundled up visitors to Park City walk along Main Street, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Film posters cover walls along Main Street as the Sundance Film Festival begins Thursday January 16, 2014 in Park City.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

John Murphy (left) takes a photo of musician, Jehovah Hendrickson, in front of the Egyptian Theatre, on Main Street in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Lee Leisenheimer, puts a decal on the window of the Utah Film Commission, in preparation for the Sundance Film Festival, on Main Street in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Main Street in Park City, in preparation for the Sundance Film Festival, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Movie posters are tacked up on Main Street, in preparation for the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
(Rick Egan  | The Salt Lake Tribune)   

Miles Ozo takes a photo of Jay Arcansalian as he peeks through an ice sculpture on Main Street, in Park City, Thursday, January 16, 2014.
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To mark the festival’s three decades, which did not always enjoy today’s financial success, Cooper and the rest of the Sundance staff created this year’s Free Fail program, a series of panels and events that take place Monday, Jan. 20.

It’s an entire day that looks at "how crucial failure is to the creative process," said Cooper. "We tend to cover it up with words like ‘taking a risk.’ "

Cooper even showcased one of his mistakes: passing on the movie "Bottle Rocket," which launched the careers of director Wes Anderson and actor brothers Owen and Luke Wilson.

"It’s a great thing to introduce at our festival," he said about the failure discussion. "We certainly have hit spots along the road where things looked grim and things didn’t work. But do you let it stop you or is it a step along the road for development?"

For Sundance, it clearly was the latter. In the past five years, the festival has generated $375 million in economic activity for Utah.

A "good ending" for the story, Putnam said.

kathys@sltrib.com

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