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Redford: Documentaries trumping newspapers for 'truth'

Published March 30, 2012 11:10 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

According to Robert Redford, people like The Cricket should get away from the keyboard and pick up a camera.

In an interview with the BBC's Will Gompertz, in advance of the inaugural Sundance London festival in April, Redford opined that newspaper standard are in "steep decline" and that documentaries "are probably a better form of truth."

One of Redford's most iconic roles was that of a determined reporter — the Washington Post's Bob Woodward in "All the President's Men" — at a period, Redford said, "when journalism had reached an apex of morality and professionalism."

Things have changed, Redford said:

"I think it's pretty obvious it's declined since then - but I didn't imagine at the time that it would decline so steeply and drastically, that the rules that governed journalism - like you had to get two sources to go on record before you could quote them - would be gone. The tools of responsibility were dismissed in favour of the quick scoop. I think that has damaged journalism. The people in my country wonder, 'Where do you get the truth?' "

One source, Redford believes, is documentary film — and the Sundance London festival is screening several documentaries that played at this year's Sundance Film Festival in Park City. Redford continues:

"One of the films we're bringing to London is called 'Chasing Ice' and it's a film that was made over years, documenting the reduction of ice caps, documenting how climate change is affecting the natural ecosystem of the earth. It's really powerful and, I think, indisputable. If you make a documentary that has hard evidence, that is of value to an audience. Even though there are a lot of deniers in our political system - which is insane."