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THE HORSE WHISPERER

About The Story
"The term 'horse whispering' is a kind of euphemism for a state of being, a relationship between a human and a horse," says director, producer and star Robert Redford

"The term 'horse whispering' is a kind of euphemism for a state of being, a relationship between a human and a horse," says director, producer and star Robert Redford. "It is simply a way to be with horses that sends a message of understanding and compassion. Instead of beating a horse into submission, or using punishment as a tool, it's a way of developing trust and understanding. If you want the horse to do something, you begin by letting the horse know that it's okay to be a horse, not your version of what you think you need. It's about understanding who you are and respecting your place with one another. To have that kind of acceptance requires a certain degree of spirituality.

"For me personally, the most important things in approaching a film are having a good story, and having one that is character driven, rather than being driven by technology or effects or by outer forces," says Redford, speaking about his attraction to the project. "The elements of this story that interested me most were healing and consciousness. It was the issue of consciousness that interested me particularly with the character of Annie.

"Annie MacLean has an impressive and courageous energy, and I think that is a very attractive quality in a character," Redford continues. "Yet hers is a rather blind energy because it's coming from a place that she doesn't fully understand ... it is sort of an unconscious and undirected energy. That's a great place to begin with a character who is moving towards vulnerability and compassion and sensitivity. She doesn't understand herself initially, and I think in her case it was because there was no real center. There was something at the core that was missing that she needed to find. That's where consciousness comes into the character. She was driven by what was missing."

"It is very rewarding to have worked with Robert Redford for a number of years," says producer Patrick Markey, who recently produced "A River Runs Through It" with Redford. "I have come to appreciate how he cares so much about the stories that he tells. There aren't a lot of people in our business who feel that kind of connection and commitment so intensely "

Speaking about Redford's attraction to the project, Markey notes, "The story is set in a place that he obviously is very fond of ... The West, the inter­mountain West. And he wanted the chance to portray this ranching family and the values they hold dear as their lives are being somewhat invaded by this prototypical East Coast family.

"This film provided me with the opportunity to show the West not only as it used to be as a way of life, but as it still is in very, very small pockets," notes Redford. "The times we live in are changing so quickly and we mostly have a very synthetic existence. It's almost an anomaly to find real ranch life anymore, or to see it as a way of life where ranchers live in accordance with nature, reaping what they live on, crop by crop and season by season. It was interesting for me to focus on a family that still lives the way they lived 100 years ago, where they farm or ranch the land and yield a crop that sustains them. It was appealing to capture that realistically, not just in seeing technically how they do it, but as much about their behavior, their lifestyle and the ethic and philosophy of that way of life."

''There's a profound sense of family in this movie, say

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