ÉCU takes pride in being a platform that helps further the development and creativity of independent filmmakers and the independent film industry. In this week’s spotlight, ÉCU looks into the career of an actor who is not only an American classic but also creator of his own nationally acclaimed film festival “Sundance,” Robert Redford.
Robert Redford started acting in the 1950s in the city where most actors of this time did, the big apple. His first roles were guest appearances on television shows and on Broadway. It was not until 1962 that Redford made his film debut in ‘War Hunt’ in which he plays a soldier on the front lines of the Korean War. A few years later he earned his first Golden Globe in 1965 playing a bisexual movie star in ‘Inside Daisy Clover’. In his first years of film Redford worked alongside acting legends such as Alec Guinness, Jane Fonda and Marlon Brando. With these roles and his Golden Globe win he was being labeled as the best new star. He had everything talent, charm and looks. Critics and audiences particularly loved his blond hair and blue eyes. However, Redford was concerned that he would get type casted as the typical blond male stereotype and this would limit his future roles.
So, with this apprehension, he actually turned down a few roles such as ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf’ and ‘The Graduate.’ Instead, he took a part in ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ (1969). His character, Harry Longabaugh, helped him relinquish his clean-cut image and transform into a Wild West outlaw who ventures to Bolivia. The film was a huge box office success and proved to be the right decision for his career. His success continued into the 1970s with the films ‘Jeremiah Johnson’ (1972) ‘The Candidate’ (1972) ‘The Way We Were’ (1973) and the biggest hit of his career; ‘The Sting’ (1973).
However, acting was not the only facet of film Redford was intrigued by, he also aspired to direct. In 1980 he decided to act on his interest and he directed his first film ‘Ordinary People’ in which he won an Academy Award. Since ‘The Sting’ and ‘Ordinary People,’ he has acted in more than fifty films and directed over ten. He has won a totally of six Golden Globes and two Academy Awards. Redford is also known for creating Sundance Film Festival.
Sundance is one of the biggest independent film festivals in the United States. It is a weeklong festival with over 40,000 attendees and 200 film screenings in Park City, Utah. Similar to ÉCU, Sundance is an organization dedicated to empowering new and upcoming filmmakers in a festive artistic environment.
Robert Redford is not an American classic because of his blond hair and blue eyes, he is a classic because he has proved and continues to prove his versatility as an actor and director and because he actively gives back to the film industry which he recognized has given him so much.
If you are a filmmaker who has submitted to our contest be sure to look into Sundance to see if you are eligible to apply. If you are an avid film lover look into buying tickets to not just our upcoming festival but Sundance as well!