Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival has hooked up scores of eager young directors with theatrical distributors.
Now Redford has succeeded at the same independent game he helped establish with Sundance: He came to the Toronto International Film Festival with a drama made outside of Hollywood and went away with a deal to land it in theaters.
Acquired Wednesday by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, Redford’s Abraham Lincoln assassination saga “The Conspirator” arguably was the iggest film to enter the prestigious Toronto festival without a distributor already in place.
Redford had been to the Toronto festival before with a film he directed, 1992’s “A River Run-Through It.” People had asked him about the possibility of premiering “The Conspirator” at Sundance in January, but he never considered it, recalling the mixed feelings he had when his own festival premiered a film in which he starred, “The Clearing,” in 2004.
“The Conspirator” is the first production financed by the American Film Co., launched by billionaire Joe Ricketts, who founded the online brokerage Ameritrade and whose family owns the Chicago Cubs. Ricketts started the production outfit to make films based on American history.