UPDATE: The memorial service celebrating Robert’s life and legacy will be held on Saturday, June 22nd, at 2:00 PM, at the Cameron Museum of Art, 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington, NC. It will be followed by a celebration that he planned at the historic firehouse at 602 South 5th Avenue, which was Robert’s home and is also the headquarters of Working Films.
Our much beloved Robert West, Working Films’ Co-Founder and long-time Executive Director, passed away peacefully in his home early this morning. He approached death the same way he lived his life — with grace, dignity, intention, honesty, and whenever possible, humor.
Since Robert’s diagnosis of brain cancer (GBM) last September, he has been embraced by the love and support from friends and colleagues in Wilmington and around the world. Be it fresh cut peonies straight from the Saturday farmers market, a stunning hand-worked velveteen quilt from LA, a box of posh UK chocolates, heartfelt responses to his revelatory posts on Caring Bridge, or the myriad emails, hand-drawn cards and letters he received, he was held closely and cared for deeply. And, along with him, so was Working Films. For that, we will be forever grateful.
We are heartbroken. But we are buoyed by the knowledge that Robert’s singular vision and unique spirit live on. He leaves all of us a legacy. Whenever the lights come up after a stirring film we will take a deep breath… smile, think of him and welcome the catalytic moment when stories lead to action. And in that moment, Robert will be with us.
Details of a memorial and celebration (designed and curated by Robert himself) will be forthcoming. For those who would like to honor Robert’s life and legacy, contributions can be made to the Robert West Reel Engagement Fund, which will support an issue-driven Working Films’ initiative developed and evolved under Robert’s leadership. Dedicated to innovation, strategy and on-the-ground implementation, this Fund, just like Robert, will be nimble, dynamic, creative and responsive to the many urgent needs for change.
With deep appreciation, love and solidarity,
Working Films’ Staff and Board