Note to my mom: Yes, he is better-looking in person. He was wearing a green flannel (three button on the cuffs - sweet), blue jeans, boots, a skull cap and black-framed specs. He tolerated the press, even those lobbing thinly veiled accusations he/his fest has sold-out/become too commercial. He underscored the importance of the fest not straying far (at all) from its roots 30 years ago and 40 miles away on his home mountain Sundance. He was funny, self-effacing and admitted he'll die before he retires.

And yes, I got the picture of his butt you requested. You're welcome. Tell Dad hi.

If you're not my mom, here's some highlights from Robert Redford's Sundance 2011 opening/keynote Thursday afternoon at the Egyptian theatre:

I thought it would be good idea to focus on a part of Sundance people don't know. Why are we here? What's our point? Thirty years ago, in 1980, I wanted to create a space and a place for new artists; that happened a place about 40 miles from here called Sundance. What I learned is nobody votes for a new idea - it's something you have to cobble together yourself.

We started on a shoestirng.... As I look back on it, I might've felt bad about it at the time, but (now) that's not a bad thing. I don't think it's bad we started on a shoestring - that's our core, keeping that shoestring in place. Keeping that as a part of our core has always felt very right.

We started with a lab program - that was '80-'81. That led five years later to the festival, where (these films) could be seen because there was no marketplace at the time.

All my life I'd come along at the end of a community: the end of theater, the end of live TV. When we started the festival we had one theater, the Egyptian. Not many people showed up. The success of the festival didn't come for another six or seven years.

Documentaries are a personal passion of mine.

There was also a point where we could go international - stories from other countries - pain and suffering. Their stories cross borders and cross ways of thinking. We saw a certain kind of audience coming here. The mainstream was shrinking a bit. Our obligation to help artists was to grow audiences if we could. That led to the Sundance Channel. That helps take what happens 10 days here in Park City (to a broader) audience. And then came Sundance Cinemas.

I couldn't agree (the fest is too commercial). Maybe they (naysayers) are looking at it from a different point of view. I don't know exactly where that comes from. Nothing at all has changed in terms of programming.

Retirement? I think you've just given me a great idea. ...I've not thought of retiring. I'm going to die... (big laughs). ...No, it's been a rocky road and there are people who've worked with us on a ground level all the way up to professional proficiency. (Festival director) John Cooper has worked his way up through and through ...and he's only been out of prison a month (more laughs). Seriously, I'm proud of him.

I'm anti-ideology because of the example that's been set in our political system. Red State/Blue State, doesn't mean a lot to us. Social activism is part of my life. Particularly lazy journalists ask 'what's the buzz' of the festival, that's none of you of course.

What are we doing? Why are we here? What's the point of all this? The point is to create new opportunities for artists. As things in the country and world were changing, we sort of kept our point ...and changed with it. The festival gets a lot of attention and we're really grateful. The engine that drives it, I'm not sure people are aware of it. Pur future's going to be taking that pledge - keeping that place; continue the pledge to help filmmakers.