We’ve discussed Robert Redford’s tireless environmental efforts and diverse eco-projects many a time within Ecorazzi’s hallowed halls and recently even gave him a nod as being at the helm of one of the top 10 green celebrity websites. For several decades now, the integral fixture among Hollywood’s cinematic royalty has gracefully aged into his current no-holds-barred role as a stalwart guardian of our planet, and frankly, it seems as though he’s in a class all by himself. The guy means business and has the serious eco-cred to prove it, from the creation of his Sundance Film Institute and companion website to his work shaping various pieces of eco-legislation and his role as a board member of the National Resources Defense Council.
Recognizing the compatibility of the arts and filmmaking with environmental themes, Redford has teamed up with the New Mexico’s governor Bill Richardson to offer Hispanics and Native Americans the opportunity to receive special training as early as this Spring via his aptly titled “Milagro at Los Luceros” institute (which is a not-so-subtle nod to the 1988 Truchas, New Mexico-honed film that Redford himself directed, entitled “The Milagro Beanfield War.”) Interested in offering “underrepresented voices” the tools with which they can more effectively tell their stories, Redford’s work-study program will take place at a state owned building complex located north of Espanola along the Rio Grande and be complemented with newly constructed eco-friendly lodges that will accommodate filmmaking hopefuls while they hone their craft.
As one might imagine, New Mexico’s governor is rather ecstatic about this gift: “It’s extraordinary for a person the caliber and stature of Bob Redford to collaborate with state government to create a new kind of initiative that will address film and film arts as they relate to jobs and jobs training.” The program will require no monetary contribution from participants, however they are being required to involve themselves in some type of volunteerism that gives back to the community, which certainly seems like a fair trade. The April launch will include all sorts of festive and fun opportunities, such as free screenings of The Milagro Beanfield War as well as a Milagro logo design contest and a low rider parade.
Beyond Redford’s own connection to Mother Nature, he has expressed the fact that his impetus for this project has been the perpetual misrepresentation of native cultures in the film industry. “What I would like to see in Los Luceros is these cultures telling their stories in their own way, on their own turf,” he explained. “They’re not over at Sundance telling these stories. They’re here where their cultures were raised. This environment, I think, is very important. I also believe in arts as an economic driver, and I look forward to helping a new generation of storytellers prove that with me and with the state of New Mexico.”