James Redford 1962 – 2020

Always a voice for the vulnerable, James spent a lifetime leading with kindness and amplifying solutions that provide hope for generations to come.

James Redford was an award-winning director, writer, producer for film and television. In collaboration with Karen Pritzker, he formed KPJR FILMS to produce groundbreaking social issue documentaries that impact change in communities around the world, including The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, Paper Tigers, Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope, Playing For Keeps, and Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir.

He and his father, Robert Redford, co-founded The Redford Center, a non-profit media entity that engages people through inspiring stories that galvanize environmental action. Among many of its functions, the center’s documentary film projects include Watershed, Fighting Goliath, and The Art of Activism, as well as HBO films HAPPENING: A Clean Energy Revolution, Toxic Hot Seat, Mann v. Ford, and The Kindness of Strangers.

James received the 2016 Distinguished Service and Excellence in Film Award and 2016 Partnership with Children Anne Vanderbilt Award. His other awards include the 2014 Wild Care Environmental Award and in 2015, he was named a filmmaker envoy for USC/US State Department’s American Film Showcase as well as inducted into the leadership circle for the United Nation’s second annual Media for Social Impact Summit.

James was committed to storytelling and passionate about his filmmaking. Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir is his last completed film and shows him at the height of his powers.


I had suggested to Jamie that we interview his friend, Amy Tan, for our film Playing for Keeps about the need for adults to cultivate play and fun into their lives. I had seen Amy Tan perform as part of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band comprised of best-selling authors, who I imagined each spent many days alone in their rooms staring at a blank computer screen. Amy’s performance as the lead singer was so much the opposite of the introspective and serious writer I had encountered through her beautiful books.

Jamie’s interview was brilliant. Not only did Amy say everything I hoped she would say about the need for play, but her discussions about how she activated so many parts of her imagination and creativity was a revelation. At that moment, Jamie and I realized that we had to make a film about Amy Tan. Jamie’s thoughtful, comfortable and curious style of interviewing unearthed so many layers of her character. As he was struggling with his own mortality and failing health, he directed this film that literally makes me cry each time I view it. We see Amy’s bravery and humanity in dealing with the many losses, traumas, and joys that she has faced, while still managing to emerge from her personal struggles with work that speaks to everyone and has been healing for her to produce.

I am so glad to be able to share this film with the world and am only sorry that Jamie can’t share the experience of seeing the world’s reaction. – Karen Pritzker