Redford and Fonda – Life An Adventure or Nothing

Jane Fonda and Robert RedfordWhat is it about turning 70?  First Robert Redford gets married at 72, and then Jane Fonda announces she’s in love again at 71, having thought “all the good stuff” was now a thing of the past.

The two stars – each a Hollywood legend in their own lifetimes – are powerful exponents of the Helen Keller* approach: “Life at any age is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing.”

Redford, American cinema’s “eternal, and most principled, hunk” (Time, 2001) married his partner of 13 years, German abstract artist Sibylle Szaggars (51) in her hometown of Hamburg in July.

New House in Santa Fe

Engaged in May 2008, the couple recently announced they were building a house in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and starting an initiative there to support and encourage Hispanic and Native American film makers. It’s obviously a passion they share.

On her website Sibylle records how her interest in old cultures and traditions led her live with Hopi Indians in Arizona after she moved to the US from London in the late 80’s. She said was “deeply touched by the Native Americans spiritual connectedness with life, the land and the world,” and developed large paintings inspired by the connection.

In the 1990s after moving to Sundance, Utah, she met Redford and her artistic focus turned to “impending issues of extinction and environmental protection,” she says.

Fresh New and Exciting

In the new programme, veteran film directors, producers, actors and writers will work with Hispanic and Native American filmmakers in a series of labs which will be an independent offshoot of Redford’s famous Sundance Institute, he says. The goal is to help bring out under-represented voices of our society.

Redford says he has been drawn to Hispanic cultures for years. He traces that appreciation to growing up as Anglo in a primarily Hispanic neighbourhood in Los Angeles. It grew when he worked on the 1988 hit film Milagro Beanfield War, which was filmed in New Mexico.

Redford has decided to build his new home near the tiny village of Tesuque, just north of Santa Fe. The Sundance offshoot will be headquartered at Los Luceros, a historic hacienda and ranch between Santa Fe and Taos.

“The exciting thing about this is that it’s basically a startup program,” Redford stated. “It’s fresh. It’s new. That excites me.”

* (Keller, the deaf blind activist who inspired Oscar winning 1962 movie The Miracle Worker, was one of Gallup’s Most Admired People of the 20th Century)

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