Mike Fleming

The elusive Robert Redford is getting busy on a number of fronts. Deadline revealed last year that Redford would star in All Is Lost, a man against the elements drama that will be directed by Margin Call’s J.C. Chandor. Now the Sundance Film Festival patriarch has announced the formation of Sundance Productions. While his Wildwood label does features, the new shingle will dedicate itself to TV and multi-media. It gets off to a rousing start with a TV documentary commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Watergate conspiracy. Redford, who played Bob Woodward opposite Dustin Hoffman’s Carl Bernstein in the superb Alan J. Pakula-directed All the President’s Men, will narrate the docu.

I’m curious to see if Universal will move forward with a Watergate feature that neither Redford nor Woodward are involved in. It’s the one that Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman set up about the real Deep Throat, former FBI number two Mark Felt, based on his memoirs. A script is in by journalist/screenwriter Peter Landesman and Game Change and Recount director Jay Roach is ready to helm it, with Hanks a possibility to play Felt. Universal hasn’t been bold about green lighting these kinds of dramas after a spate of them, including State of Play, fell flat a couple years ago. Maybe it’s because All the President’s Men was one of the rare times that reporters were portrayed as heroic in a hit film, but I can’t get enough of this Watergate stuff. It would be fascinating to see the scandal coverage from the vantage point of the man who, after getting passed over for the top job by Richard Nixon, was compelled to whisper solid gold information to Woodward, causing Nixon to resign in disgrace. Here’s the announcement of Redford’s new venture:

NEW YORK, NY (April 2, 2012) – Academy award winning director and actor, Robert Redford, with producing partner Laura Michalchyshyn, announced today the start of Sundance Productions, a new production company focusing on television and multi-media content.

Sundance Productions will create, develop and produce authentic fiction and non-fiction content programming that can be distributed on broadcast and cable TV, digital platforms and channels.

“Unique and artful stories have always been a passion of mine, and I am proud to announce Sundance Productions’ desire to address critical stories across a multitude of relevant platforms,” commented Redford.

“Interesting talent and smart collaboration in creating special television content and media – that’s what we’re about. Bob and I have known each other and worked together for years and we’re very excited and delighted to announce our newest endeavor with Sundance Productions” noted Laura Michalchyshyn. Michalchyshyn is a programmer, producer and television executive who has worked in senior executive and creative leadership roles at Sundance Channel, Discovery Communications and Alliance Atlantis.

Their slate of original programming includes the upcoming documentary, All The President’s Men Revisited. This 2 hour TV documentary special commissioned by Discovery Channel worldwide, comes 40 years after the Watergate scandal and provides an overview of the startling history with a deeper investigation into the legacy of the greatest constitutional crisis in modern times. Redford serves as narrator and executive producer, in conjunction with Andy Lack and Laura Michalchyshyn. Producer Peter Schnall directs with plans for a January 2013 broadcast.

Additionally, Valentines, an adaptation of Olaf Olafsson’s book of short stories into a mini-series modern drama, is currently in development. This story of love, loss, heartbreak and new romance in the modern world, is told through the relationship of a patriarch with his three grown daughters. Producing team includes Olaf Olafsson, Robert Redford, Fred Berner, and Laura Michalchyshyn.

Other development, projects and collaborations are in the works and will be announced in the coming months.

Separate from this endeavor, Redford will continue to develop feature films through Wildwood Productions.