James Redford was born in New York City in 1962, where he attended the Dalton School. James graduated from University of Colorado with a B.A in literature. While Completing his MA in literature at Northwestern University, James was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, a rare auto-immune disease affecting the liver In 1993, James received two liver transplants. Surviving this near-fatal ordeal inspired James to found the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness, where he produced “The Kindness Of Strangers” a documentary film which examined the oft-overlooked sacrifices made by organ donor families. The film premiered at Telluride International Film Festival and aired on HBO in 1999.
Throughout the late 90’s and the first decade of the new century, James was active as a screenwriter and director, Including the original screenplay for “Cowboy Up, Starring Kiefer Sutherland and Darryl Hannah as well as directing Showtime’s” Spin” Starring Stanley Tucci and Dana Delaney. James also wrote the critically acclaimed screenplay for “Skinwalkers” a “PBS Mystery!”
By 2009, James had produced Mann V Ford, an HBO documentary film that explored the Ramapough Tribes’ lawsuit against Ford Motor Company. Increasingly drawn to impactful power of documentary films,James and his father Robert co-founded The Redford Center, an environmentally-focused storytelling non-profit.
That same year, James’s wife, the teacher and educational writer Kyle Redford, introduced him to her friend and colleague Karen Pritzker, who was instrumental in launching the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. Consequently, James and Karen produced The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia. The film was acquired by HBO and and aired in 2012. The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia marked James’ debut as a documentary film director.
In 2012, The Redford Center produced Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West. The film became the storytelling cornerstone for Raise the River, a collaboration that brought together A half-dozen Non-profits in a successful bid to raise 10 million dollars in restoration funds for the Colorado River Delta. 2013 saw the release of HBO’s Toxic Hot Seat. Co-directed and produced with Kirby Walker, the film explored the presence of toxic flame retardants in much of America’s furnishings. In 2014, The American Film Showcase, a cultural exchange program spearheaded by USC and the U.S. State Department, selected James as an AFS filmmaker envoy, his travels ultimately taking him to Malaysia, Colombia, Kazahkstan and Tunisia.
By 2016, Karen Pritzker and James produced two new documentary films highlighting the biological harm posed to children by physical and emotional abuse. Paper Tigers premiered in 2104 and was followed in 2016 by Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope. In 2017 James starred in and directed The Redford Center’s HBO co-production “Happening: a Clean Energy Revolution.” The film examines the rise of the Clean energy economy and culture despite continuing policy inertia in Washington DC.
James lives in Marin County, Ca. with his wife Kyle Redford, a teacher and educational writer who has written numerous articles for Educatiuon Week, Huffpost Education, Understood.org and Noodle among others.
James’ daughter Lena Redford lives in Los Angeles where she worked in the digital storytelling space for SuperDeluxe as well as Illumination Entertainment. In 2010, Lena Starred in James’ comedic short “quality Time” opposite Jason Patric.
James’ son Dylan lives Miami and works for The Borscht Corporation, where he is co-producing the independent feature “Omniboat” In 2018, Dylan’s short film “My Trip To Miami” was selected as a Vimeo Pick of the Week.
James Plays lead and rhythm guitar for the popular Marin County cover band Olive and the Dirty Martinis.