As many of you already know, I recently had surgery to remove a tumor from my left temporal lobe. Many thanks for the outpouring of support and concern as I faced this surgery.

Here’s what we now know: The cancer I have is called Glioblastomo Multiforme (GBM).

I know this may be shocking news. However, my present health is good. I have had a strong recovery from the surgery itself. I’m getting better and stronger every day.

Although I am on a medical leave from the surgery, I am staying on as the Executive Director of Working Films and know that together with our amazing board, Co-Founder Judith Helfand, Deputy Directors Molly Murphy and Anna Lee, and our wonderful and dedicated team here at the firehouse and in other cities, we will continue to keep the organization strong, smart and strategic.

That said, I am not in the office day to day and am not checking my Working Films email. If you have work related inquiries, please contact Anna Lee, 910-342-9000.

You will continue to see updates on my health at the Caring Bridge site. I am going through the messages there, but taking it slow. So far I have been incredibly moved and touched by your lovely notes.

The biggest strengths of this organization have been our commitments to collaboration and building community. I have never felt the gift of those partnerships more than in the last two weeks.

Best love, and be of good cheer.


Responses (6)

  1. dothula baron says:

    Robert, so good to know you’re recuperating. You have certainly been in my prayers. I’ll keep a check on you. I pray that soon you’ll be good as new!!!

  2. Dear Robert,
    I actually didn’t know that you were in this serious condition. You sound as if you are making a steady recovery. I wish I could tell you how much you mean to me and my work. Your clarity and strength of vision has always propelled me forward. Often I’ve turned to you for the basics like, “How do I organize this.” Words like outreach, which are commonplace now, are the coins your created for the social action transactions we do.
    I think of how gracious, even cheerful you were with my family when we descended on your beautiful firehouse.
    Much love, Alice Elliott

  3. Tom White says:

    Robert, Stay strong. You’re an inspiration and a gift to the documentary community. Namaste!

  4. Robert, Well wishes from all of us at WMM! Your energy is so strong, I know you will beat this! You are as others have said an inspiration to us all! A huge hug!! Debbie

  5. Robert, Stay strong. You’re an inspiration and a gift to the documentary community. Namaste!

  6. Nancy Kelly says:

    Hi Robert,
    I’m hoping you are enjoying this holiday season and that your energy stays good. I want you to know what you have taught me over the years. In 2006 at the Working Films at MASS MoCA workshop that I attended with the documentary that became TRUST, you told me to find more themes than just the transformative power of art. I was very resistant, but, two years later, when the story (finally) kicked in, it had other themes woven into its fabric, and following your advice was quite natural.

    During that workshop you also taught me how to read a foundation’s 1099s to understand specifically what they were supporting and to what degree. I use that skill all the time now.

    You have taken my murky budgets and made them crystal clear for potential funders (and for me). I do not know anyone else who can do that with such ease. As a matter of fact, I don’t know anyone else who can do that at all!

    And on our new documentary, REBELS WITH A CAUSE, you gave me a way to articulate something that is inherent in the story but not necessarily the most compelling, competitive feature, as a strength. I use it all the time!

    GBM is a shocking thing to have and I hope you continue to get stronger and better every day. You are in my and Kenji’s thoughts.

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