How Newfoundland got a star turn in Robert Redford catalogue
Robert Redford, founder and president of the Sundance Institute, addresses reporters during the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Opening Day Press Conference at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, Utah on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. (Chris Pizzello / Invision)
Rob Roberts, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, February 3, 2016 11:31AM EST
Newfoundland is now the undisputed star of a new catalogue distributed to millions of homes worldwide, thanks entirely to its chilly nature -- and a random Google search by its creative director.
Robert Redford's Sundance Catalog, printed seven times a year, photographed nearly all the women's wear for its latest edition in Newfoundland.
The catalogue's creative director, Laura Harrigan, said the January edition is photographed in August, and it can be difficult to find a location that looks appropriate for a winter catalogue.
"I got onto Google and searched, 'beautiful villages,' and just looked at images, and found this image of Trinity," said Harrigan. "It just looked stunning. And when I heard it was in Newfoundland, I said, well, that's going to be chilly."
Her team scouted in June - and spotted an iceberg. A Newfoundland Tourism official suggested they shoot not in Trinity itself but down the road in New Bonaventure, on the set where the 2002 mini-series Random Passage was filmed.
"We just fell in love with it, and that's where we decided to shoot."
A crew of 16, including "three or four" models, shot for a week in August. The Swedish photographer, Anders Overgaard, said it reminded him of home, Harrigan said.
"The hardest part was getting there," she said. One stylist got stuck in Toronto because of a missed connection and almost missed the shoot, while Harrigan's Newark-St. John's flight was cancelled, and she had to make a stopover in Halifax.
Although the photos are not explicitly identified as Newfoundland in the catalogue, of which between 2 and 3 million copies are printed, Redford penned a short ode to the island in his regular introduction.
"Newfoundland: a landscape not commonly found," wrote the actor and founder of both the Sundance Film Festival in Utah and Sundance Holdings Group, LLC, which runs the catalogue and other business ventures.
"I've often heard it said by some, that the meaningful connection to a sense of place is lost, so 'I'm heading for Newfoundland."'
Although the note has sparked speculation Redford is planning a trip to Newfoundland, Sundance Catalog officials say they are not aware he has any such plans.
Harrigan has a more prosaic explanation: "We tell him where we went and he writes something appropriate."
The shoot did inspire the name of a new item in the catalogue -- the $168 Newfoundland Sweater Coat.
Harrigan said she was thrilled with how the shoot went. She found Newfoundlanders friendly and kind, and she hopes to go back to her original destination, Trinity, for a future catalogue.
"No one's ever shot at Random Passage. We were super, super proud of that," she said.