We have had a mutual attraction for some time. Redford has been retreating to New Mexico for decades, first as a kid exploring Indian reservations and going camping. Later renting a home outside of Santa Fe for the past 15 years.
"The first thing you fall in love with is the light," Redford said, "And the power of the space, which has to do with how the land meets the sky." He also has discussed the strong "spiritual power" of the place, though he admitted stating this lends itself to a "woo-woo" interpretation.
Redford has decided to build his new home near the tiny village of Tesuque, just north of Santa Fe, while opening an offshoot of his famous Sundance film program within this state. This is not meant to replace Sundance, or so he has stated. Rather it has more to do with how New Mexico is a natural locale for aspiring Native American writers actors and filmmakers.
This has much to do with the intentions he had for Sundance as a place where American Indian stories could be told without an Anglo viewpoint. Except, for years, "no one came", until of arrival of "Smoke Signals" in 1998.
The new offshoot of Sundance will be headquartered at Los Luceros, a historic hacienda and ranch owned by the state along the Rio Grande between Santa Fe and Taos. Besides starting with Native American filmmaking, the New Mexico project will also work with aspiring Hispanic filmmakers and may branch out into documentaries and music. While under governor Bill Richardson, New Mexico has promoted itself as a moviemaking hub. Along with this move, New Mexican filmmakers and crew may get additional experience and training.
"The exciting thing about this is that it's basically a startup program," Redford stated. "It's fresh. It's new. That excites me."