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James Redford, Son of Robert Redford, Talks Whole Foods Film

8 May, 2012 By: Billy Gil

As a child, James Redford was fascinated by the creation of Lake Powell. He and his family (including famous father Robert Redford, Oscar-feted director/actor and founder of the Sundance Film Festival) would visit there, but he knew it came at the expense of the beautiful Glen Canyon, which was flooded by the Colorado River, which passes through it, after the creation of the Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963, a year after Redford was born. Seventeen years later, Lake Powell hit its intended high water mark, completing the creation of Lake Powell.

“It seemed like a shattering tragedy loomed over every subsequent visit to the lake,” Redford said. “But it didn't stop my family from going there. The vast raw beauty of the Southwest shined through. The oddity and, frankly, hubris of manipulating a natural system never left my curiosity.”

Redford produced the film Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West about the human activity surrounding the Colorado River, how the river has receded and what could be done to help the situation. The documentary is narrated by Robert Redford and directed by Mark Decena.

The film is the second entry in this year’s edition of Whole Foods Market’s Do Something Reel Film Festival, which began on Earth Day (April 22) and features films dealing with issues regarding food and the environment. Watershed can be streamed at for $5.99 through May, with a different film available on the site each month.

Additionally the film will be shown at select Whole Foods stores. A list of screenings, plus tips on conserving water, can be found at and Whole Foods’ Facebook page.

Redford said the film also is available on DVD for free to community organizations or nonprofits that want to hold public screenings of the film. He said they also are in discussions related to a cable broadcast.

Watershed is Redford’s fourth social impact documentary, after The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia, Mann V. Ford and The Kindness of Strangers. Redford said he now is in production on two more such films.

“I feel blessed to do these kinds of films,” he said. “As for ‘Bob,’ I'm sure he'll continue to build on his extraordinary record.”

Proceeds will help fund the 2012 Whole Foods Market/AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Festival filmmaker grants, and the festival is presented in association with Applegate Organic & Natural Meat, Earthbound Farm Organic, Popcorn Indiana and siggi’s.

Whole Foods Market also has partnered with online charity fundraising site Crowdrise to allow donations to the Colorado River Delta Water Trust, dedicated to restoring the Colorado River Delta, at www.crowdrise.com/watershed.

“If the 1% that inhabits the Colorado watershed were to write checks for $100, you could buy enough water rights to reconnect the river to the Gulf of California,” Redford said. “You could get the same amount of water if everyone in Denver reduced the square footage of their lawns by 50%. This is doable.”

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About the Author: Billy Gil

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