Amy Redford admits she is a walking mood ring. She doesn’t have a favorite color. It’s constantly changing depending on her state of mind. Just like her state of mind, her career is ever evolving. The daughter of the famed Robert Redford has made a name for herself. From acting to directing and producing, she’s been part of some notables like Sunshine Cleaning, Maid in Manhattan, Hate Crime to be released next year and has directed Law and Order and most recently the film The Guitar which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Her roster of accolades are impressive. Now in a new role at the helm of Ground Seven Entertainment as the President of Production, her goal is to leave a legacy and nurture the one her father will leave behind at Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah, an untapped gem tucked away in the majestic Wasatch Mountains.
Mrs. Redford is a New Yorker at heart but behind her tough exterior is a gentle, loving wife and mother but make no mistake, this woman is on a mission and she doesn’t sugar coat anything, not even the answers to our questions. That’s why we think you’ll like her just as much as we do.
You’ve had an incredible journey in the film industry, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. How are the two different?
Amy: When you are acting you have a singular responsibility to inhabit the world of one character. To understand, embrace and adopt all the elements that come with that territory both good and ugly. When you are directing you have to inhabit the world of the whole story. To orchestrate the pieces so that each have integrity, but work in concert. All this while not looking panicked. You are also at the helm and you set the tone. This is true for number one on the call sheet as well. I love directing because it is about getting everyone to reach their full potential. To embrace the fact that each department sees the world of the story through their own lens. It’s deeply satisfying to me to see not only actors have a breakthrough but the other collaborators as well.
What pressures have you faced as a woman working in Hollywood?
Amy: Probably not succumbing to that question. My goal is to stop ghettoizing ourselves as women with either grandeur or pity. It’s not a good situation for women in Hollywood, Yet look around and you’ll see the ground is breaking with our footsteps. I have certainly struggled with allowing for my vulnerabilities to be part of the overall package. I have decided to look at my sensitivities as an asset instead of hiding them in a superficial show of “strength”. Ground Seven has a focus on diversity and strong women’s roles in front and behind the camera and the Mission is “re-defining normal”. We want to elevate new leaders in entertainment and profile under explored landscapes. Maria Bello and Clare Munn who founded the company have broken ground in both entertainment and business strategy. I hope that is the way forward. Creating financial viability around female led business models. We cross pollinate between Production, branded content and Marketing. Mostly constructed from our collective do’s and don’t’s in the industry.
Your father Robert Redford is the mastermind behind The Sundance Film Festival. What makes the festival unique and a gateway for aspiring film directors and actors?
Amy: I think the Genesis of it being right here in the Tucked away mountains of Utah at the Sundance Resort. The film festival’s agenda was born out of the idea that Hollywood needed some genetic diversity in content and creators. But the institute was responsible for helping those new creators get a seat at the table with the summer labs. For me it starts there, with people who might once have felt that they didn’t belong learning how to find their unique voice. MIchelle Satter has gracefully and quietly helped to change the direction of many many people’s lives in her nurturing of new voices. Philip Himburg has done it in theatre, (my first love), and John Cooper and the programming team gives them a platform. It’s a very exciting eco system.
How do you plan to continue the Redford legacy, now with the Sundance Mountain Resort?
Amy: To keep it authentic to its birth, but courageous in its evolution. We are blessed by not only the most beautiful mountain hugging us, but by the people who live and work there. Sundance exists in a space that is extraordinary, simplicity delivered elegantly and with a sense of humor. My brother, sister and I have worked very hard to make it possible for these things to exist in the future life of Sundance. Through my Dad, we share the same values about the importance of preservation and longevity. I feel very lucky to have them to collaborate with. We are also blessed with an incredible team in Management.
You’re also a director and producer. Are women the minority in these roles? Are they being taken more seriously in the 21st century?
Amy: Yes, they are definitely taken more seriously, leaned on, asked for help and advice, and have delivered strategically and conceptually. Now lets get them paid.
What has been the most challenging role you’ve faced and why?
Amy: It’s a really boring answer because it’s so predictable. Motherhood. My goodness every time I think I have the answer I’m humbled. I have three girls and my husband and I are seeing the world through their eyes. It has also been my lighthouse. I had a heartbreak over a project recently and I was explaining it to my seven year old, and she grabbed my face and said “MOM! NEVER GIVE UP.” I owe that to her, and my other two.
In a world where there is a lot of competition, especially in acting, what advice do you have for young women about how we treat each other in today’s world where women are more than ever trying to make their mark?
Amy: Make mistakes and own them. Find your complimentary collaborators, not just the ones that you agree with. The ones that see things differently and can provide push back and perspective. Learn as much as you can about reading budgets and the legal terms of your industry. We are often pat on the head and told not to worry about the technical stuff. That knowledge is not only the key to the kingdom, but also what protects your vision. Take care of yourself spiritually, emotionally and physically. We tend to absorb a lot from those around us, so it’s important to find balance. Try to do what you love. It offsets the long hours, the undesirables, and the lack of gratitude.