A couple of years ago, I offered a heads up on a documentary of which I’d only seen snippets entitled “Slaughter Nick for President” made by actor friend Rob Stewart and the talented sibling filmmaking team of Mark and Liza Vespi.
“Slaughter Nick” made its debut last weekend to sold out theatres in Toronto and Belgrade, thoroughly delighting audiences on both continents and attracting interest that will soon bring it to the rest of the world.
I gotta say I’m incredibly proud to have been a very tiny part in getting the word out on such a special story.
And since I’m one for one at picking must-see documentaries, maybe you’ll take my word about the next one – and perhaps even help to get it finished.
In 2010, Welsh born Australian actor Andy Whitfield landed what he called his “dream role”, the title character in “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”.
And he repaid the honor, imbuing the legendary rebel gladiator with a grace and sincerity that made the series a worldwide hit.
But at the end of the physically gruelling shoot, Whitfield was afflicted with pains that simply wouldn’t go away and ultimately diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The actor fought as hard against the disease as he had opponents in the fictional forum of ancient Capua. And as a sign of the high regard they held for him, the production company set aside an already scripted second season to film six prequel episodes, buying the time he needed to get his health back.
But that was not to be. And after being part of the process to select the actor who would replace him, Andy Whitfield passed away in September of last year.
But that’s not the end of the story…
When he was first diagnosed, Whitfield decided to face the disease the way he had approached everything else in his life, facing down fear and living in the present whatever the outcome.
He recruited award winning filmmaker, Lilibet Foster, to record everything that happened. And that film is now seeking backers to complete what promises to be a powerful and uplifting work.
At this point, “Be Here Now”, titled for the tattoo Andy Whitfield wore on his arm, is more than halfway to its goal. But it could use your help. I doubt you will regret the contribution.
You might think there’s no connection between a film about an unknown Canadian actor whose unheralded work sparked a revolution and one about an international star losing his life to Cancer. But there is.
Both illustrate that no matter who you are your life and your story matter little to those who presume to know what truly touches and moves an audience.
They also reveal that filmmakers who care can always find a way past the gatekeepers and bring us the hope and inspiration we all so desperately need in our lives.
You can make your investment to “Be Here Now” here. And here’s a sample of what you will bring into the world as a result…