Her public profile in recent months has been far from flattering – the younger woman who got tens of millions of dollars during the years she lived with Sumner Redstone, only to be tossed out of his Beverly Park mansion for allegedly having an affair with another man.
But now comes news that Sydney Holland – sometime operator of a high-end dating service and one-time maker of “eco-conscious” yoga clothes — did not just use her riches on an endless shopping spree. She is getting credit as an executive producer of an obscure documentary, but one that puts her in some A-list company.
Holland and her Rich Hippie Productions, a film financing and production company, are credited as part of the team that helped finance a documentary about life on a northern Minnesota Indian reservation. She funded post production on “The Seventh Fire,” according to first-time feature director Jack Pettibone Riccobono, who called Holland “very passionate” about the issues in the film – focusing on how urban gang life has crept into rural Indian reservations.
In recent news accounts focused on Redstone’s twilight fight over control of his corporate empire, Holland, 45, has received unwanted attention as his former girlfriend. She got vast riches from the magnate, along with another long-time Redstone companion, Manuela Herzer, who last fall also was tossed out by the Viacom/CBS magnate. Court filings suggest the two collected a total of $150 million over five years.
Holland reportedly got the boot when Redstone learned that, while living with him, she had been carrying on an affair with a one-time actor. The Redstone ex made more headlines in recent weeks when news organizations reported she is seeking a role on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”
But Holland’s involvement with the documentary puts her in a much different universe. She is joined as an executive producer on the film by acclaimed director Terrence Malick, Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman and several other film veterans.
Holland’s producing associate, Erik Fleming, had previously done some work on an Indian reservation in San Diego and had an interest in issues confronting Native Americans, said director Riccobono. “Sydney and Erik were both pretty passionate about stories of redemption from addiction,” said Riccobono. “I think that is what spoke to them.”
Holland’s company cut a low profile in the industry during its few years of operation. Rich Hippie previously had several projects in development, including “Unconscious,” a psychological thriller that was to star Kate Bosworth and Wes Bentley. Riccobono said he had heard the company is no longer in operation.
“The Seventh Fire” focuses on gang leader Rob Brown and his return to prison for the fifth time, an experience that forces him to “confront his role in bringing violent drug culture into his beloved American Indian community in northern Minnesota,” according to the documentary’s press release.
The film screened at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival and received some positive attention from critics. It is being distributed by New York-based Film Movement and opens July 22 at the Metrograph theater in New York and on July 29 at the Laemmle Royal in West Los Angeles.
Riccobono doesn’t know about all those tabloid accounts of Holland. He called her “a warm person,” adding: “I’m sure she has a complicated history, like we all do. I’m sure she is a more complex person than has been portrayed in the media.”