2015-01-29 14:43:44

Democracy Now! - January 29, 2015

As we broadcast from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, we spend the hour with its founder Robert Redford, the Oscar-winning director, actor and longtime environmentalist. Our conversation begins with last week’s vote by nearly half of the Senate to refuse to formally acknowledge the existence of man-made climate change. "I think the deniers of climate change are probably the people who are afraid of change. They don’t want to see change," Redford says. "Too many in Congress are pushing us back into the 1950s." He also responds to the attempt by the new Republican majority in Congress to approve construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. "I had a lot of experience with oil," he says, noting that he once worked in the oil fields. "I think it should stay in the ground. We’re so close to polluting the planet beyond anything sustainable."

We play excerpts from a spoof video standoff between Robert Redford and Will Ferrell about efforts to conserve the Colorado River, which provides much of the American West with water. Redford also discusses the documentary, "Watershed," that he narrated and made with his son, Jamie Redford. The Colorado River flows nearly 1,500 miles from its source in the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. Along the way, most of its water is diverted by dams for agriculture and municipal uses, and now the river rarely reaches the Sea of Cortez. Redford notes the Native American and Mexican communities in the southern portion of the watershed "are being starved out. They’re having to move away because they can’t have agriculture there."

Sundance is now among the largest film festivals in the country, with some 50,000 attendees. However, it looked very different when it began more than three decades ago. "The first year, there was maybe 150 people that showed up. We had one theater, maybe 10 documentaries and 20 films, and now it’s grown to the point where it’s kind of like a wild horse," Redford says. We also discuss the festival’s efforts to promote women, people of color and young people — on both sides of the camera. This comes as the latest "Celluloid Ceiling" report from researchers at San Diego State University has found men directed 93 percent of the 250 highest-grossing films of 2014. Women directed just 7 percent, a decrease of 2 percent compared to 1998.

Acclaimed director and actor Robert Redford discusses his new film premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, "A Walk in the Woods," in which he co-stars with Nick Nolte. It is a comedy about walking the Appalachian Trail — and getting older. "What are you going to do with what time you have left? Are you just going to sit?" Redford asks. "One thing you don’t want to do is be a guy sitting in a rocking chair on a stoop somewhere in a bathrobe and say, 'I wish I would've, I wish I could’ve.’ So, you make the most of your life." He also talks about his plans to play former CBS news anchor Dan Rather in the upcoming political drama, "Truth," based on Rather’s 2005 memoir about how he was fired after reporting that George W. Bush received special treatment in the U.S. Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. "CBS wanted a relationship with the administration. They asked him to back off," Redford notes. "He said, 'I can't do that. My job is to tell the truth.’" Redford also discusses the attacks earlier this month on Charlie Hebdo magazine.

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Amy Goodman Big Oil Climate Change Democracy Now! Documentaries Global Warming Will Ferrell

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