Utah Film Center Announces Amy Redford As New Artist-In-Residence
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Film Center has announced its new artist-in residence – Amy Redford. If the name is familiar, you would be right. She is the daughter of Robert Redford, and a filmmaker in her own right.
Amy told arts specialist Carole Mikita why she is so excited about this opportunity to live and work in Utah again.
“I’ve had the opportunity to reinvestigate what it is to be a filmmaker, and that’s been like a whole new lease on everything I want to do,” she said. “The ability to have a space, a collaborative space with other filmmakers, where you get to discuss your projects with a community and not in isolation… and people are innovative and inspired and creative is really the kind of adrenaline shot I needed.”
Amy Redford has that famous name, but for years she has worked in every aspect of the film industry.
“I started as a grip, you know,” she said. “I started trying to learn what the craft was at the elbow with everybody else.”
She has more than 20 credits acting in films and television, six as a producer and eight as a director. Rick Warner of Bloomberg News wrote about her first. “The Guitar,” in 2008, “Amy Redford is making headlines for her directorial debut.”
“I think when you come from a family or storytellers, you know — my dad is obviously a storyteller, my mom is a real study of anecdotal history, my sister’s a beautiful painter, my brother’s a documentary filmmaker, my dad’s wife was a painter — so there’s all these ways in which storytelling became a part of my vocabulary.”
She grew up in Manhattan with her mother and at Sundance with her father. Now Amy Redford has moved back to Utah with her family as an artist-in-residence with the Utah Film Center.
“There are so many things right now that make Utah such a great place to give New York and LA. a run for their money,” she said. “This is a less expensive place to live, the quality of life is really high, you have the tech industry all around you innovating and creating. There’s an unfussy attitude, there’s sort of a very, really impeccable work ethic. There are the Utah film incentives, which are critical to the state.”
She gave credit to her father for his vision, which led to the Sundance Film Festival that included those who had no opportunity to make or show their films.
“Because he was in these big films and he had the spotlight and he could see all the people that were being left out of that conversation, he could see the stories that deserved to be told that weren’t getting told,” she said.
There is also Utah’s natural beauty.
This summer, she will use Southern Utah landscape to direct a new film, “Cowboys and Indians.”
“It’s about a kind of culture collaboration between ranchers in the West and Hindus from Queens,” she said. “So, it’s a wedding movie and it’s a women of certain age kind of conspiring together to create a kind of modern American family.”
Some of Amy’s work is in development at the Utah Film Center’s Artist Foundry. Dallin Cerva is the manager.
“This place is kind of an opportunity for the passion project, the thing that kind of sits in the back of your mind to exist in another space,” Cerva said. “So, it’s definitely a great opportunity for up-and-coming filmmakers who don’t have a lot of experience to be able to meet other filmmakers who they can learn from, who they can apprentice under.”
“But then, we see a lot of experienced filmmakers coming in a saying, ‘I’ve been doing corporate videos or commercials for year. I’ve always had this documentary that I’ve wanted to do and I’ve never really found the time or the community or the resources to do that,’” he added.
The main room is a shared production office.
“These are usually used for short term projects,” Cerva said. “A lot of times, someone will come in to edit something that takes a day or two.”
Writers’ groups or those gathering for production meetings need more privacy, so for them there is a conference room. Directing, screenwriting and fundraising workshops take place in another larger space, and sometimes filmmakers needing to audition actors have a casting call and meet here also. The editing suite is for work on feature films that take months.
“It’s just great to have Amy and other experienced filmmakers who are 100 percent here because they want to take advantage of these resources,” Cerva said. “But they also want to give back to the community.”
This year, Amy Redford will also use this space to teach a director’s workshop.
“It’s going to be visual storytelling,” she said. “And I’m doing this completely selfishly because I’m learning from all of these people.”
She’s also on the board of the Sundance Institute and well aware of what’s coming as the 2019 Sundance Film Festival opens.
“There’s a lot more to come,” she said. “I often say that the thing about watching the Sundance Institute evolve over the years is when somebody says, ‘It can’t be done,’ tt just means it hasn’t been done yet. So, I think this spirit of giving artists a place to fail without it being fatal, and to get mentored and to be able to take risks … it can’t be overvalued.”
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