Actor Robert Redford talks business with Philadelphia audience

    The actor, famous for launching the Sundance Film Festival, told Philadelphia business executives about the importance of art and creativity in the board room.

    Robert Redford was in town yesterday to talk business. The actor, famous for launching the Sundance Film Festival, told Philadelphia business executives about the importance of art and creativity in the board room.
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    Although he founded the Sundance Institute almost 30 years ago, which has spun off into a very successful film festival and cable channel, Robert Redford says the business suit still doesn’t fit well.

    “To this day I have a struggle when someone says, ‘You’re a businessman,’” says Redford. “It doesn’t hit my ear right.”

    Redford was speaking to an audience at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philadelphia, hosted by the Arts and Business Council.

    As he transitioned from being an actor to founding Sundance, Redford said he had a hard time understanding and being understood by bankers and people running businesses. To work, he had to find a common language.

    “Particularly if you can bring economics into it,” says Redford. “This art enterprise went into the business world and had a certain success and created this much money which went into the economy. That’s speaking language they can understand.”

    Redford says he uses his artistic sensibility to run his company. As a man who has sketched drawings all his life, he says drawing a picture of a problem can break a board room impasse.

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