Robert Redford received one of France’s most highly esteemed recognitions Thursday in Paris, the emblem of the “Legion d’Honneur,” established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.
Redford was acknowledged for his work as actor and director, his decades-long involvement in nurturing independent voices in film and the arts through the Sundance Institute, Sundance Film Festival, and overall advocacy on behalf of artists, as well as his work as an environmental activist over 40 years.
Redford received the award from French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Palais de l’Elysees.
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Redford commented on his long-time connection to France and expressed gratitude to the people of France for their incomparable cultural contribution to the world and for embracing not only his personal work over the years but that of the new, independent international voices brought forth via Sundance Institute, Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Channel.
Redford made a special point of his belief that art, in all its forms, and in particular cinema, has a unique power to nurture understanding between diverse cultures and people and foster more tolerance amongst societies.
“Cinema, both fiction and non-fiction, has shown over and over that as human beings, we share values beyond any border, real or imagined,” said Redford.
Redford had been in Cannes last week in association with Sundance Channel, which he founded in 1996, and which launched in France in September 2009.
Sundance Channel Global creates films, documentaries and other programming related to emerging culture.
Sundance Channel Europe celebrates its first anniversary this month, informed Sundance Channel in a statement released Thursday, Oct. 14.