Here Now – Diagnosed with fatal cancer, ex-film exec savors each day

By Si Cantwell Si.Cantwell@StarNewsOnline.com Published: Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 2:55 a.m. Last Modified: Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 2:55 a.m. WINDY POINT | These days, Robert West enjoys sitting in the sun at his cottage across the Intracoastal Waterway from Holden Beach. He watches finches at the bird feeder, delights in spotting deer in the marshes across the channel, and monitors boat traffic buzzing past his porch and dock. A passing barge makes a day especially notable. Once a week, a nurse from the Brunswick County office of Lower…

Moving Picture (Lumina News)

by Shannon Rae Gentry Wednesday February 6, 2013 Issues of global importance, race, gender, as well as economic and environmental justice have all been addressed by Working Films, an independent media organization focused on “linking nonfiction film to cutting edge activism.” Founded in 2000 by Robert West and Judith Helfand, Working Films began in West’s home in Charlotte, N.C. and has since been based in Wilmington for more than a decade.  Before starting the organization, West said he wanted to help connect filmmakers, their films and the people who would…

Working Films Leadership Transition

Co-founder Robert West announces he is stepping down Working Films is a nationally and internationally recognized nonprofit organization leveraging the power of story-driven, non-fiction film and media to catalyze social change for equity and justice. Founded in 2000 by Robert West and Judith Helfand, Working Films has raised the bar for “outreach” and impact with documentary media. Working Films has been a pioneer, leading the development of our field, such that today audience engagement is understood as a core part of independent documentary filmmaking and distribution, and is even a…

Reel Economy Filmmaker Launches Corporate Accountability App

Timed to the February 4th PBS Independent Lens rebroadcast of his award-winning documentary As Goes Janesville, Brad Lichtenstein is launching BizVizz, the first mobile iPhone app to make corporate behavior transparent. Just snap a picture of a brand’s logo and a simple graphic screen instantly displays essential facts about America’s largest corporations. Do they pay their taxes? How much money do they get in government subsidies?  To whom do they give their political donations? BizVizz currently has 300 companies and over 900 brands with plans to expand. Filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein…

Reaching Tough-to-Reach Kids

by Dan Habib, Filmmaker in Residence Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire The shooting in Newtown, Connecticut caused shock and grief across this country that lingers – as it should – into this new year. We may never know what caused Adam Lanza to take those horrific actions. What is possible to determine, based on research, are the educational practices that can help identify and support youth with a variety of emotional and behavioral disabilities. Although his diagnosis is unclear, reports from Newtown indicate that Lanza was…

Reel Films at Sundance!

The line up for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival has been announced and we are so excited to see filmmakers that we’ve worked with on this list! Congratulations to the teams behind American Promise, Citizen Koch and God Loves Uganda. American Promise follows two African-American boys from middle class families as they navigate their way through 12 years at a prestigious New York City Prep school. The film is part of our Reel Education t collaboration, in which nine documentaries about various education issues came together for our residential training in…

Cucalorus Film Festival 18!

It’s that time of the year again! Cucalorus Film Festival 18 will kick off this Thursday and will run throughout the weekend here in Downtown Wilmington. Working Films has partnered again with the folks at Cucalorus and this year we’re bringing you two films from our Reel Engagement series that will be included in their “Works-in-Progress” documentary program. Films under this category are unfinished works that are screened in an informal workshop setting where filmmakers can seek feedback and receive input as well as share information about their films. Xmas…

Brooklyn Castle & Escape Fire set for Theatrical Release!

We’re happy to announce that during the month of October, two films in our Reel Engagement Initiative are set for theatrical release! Escape Fire, part of our Reel Economy collective, will hit theaters on October 5th and Brooklyn Castle, a film from our Reel Education series, will make its theatrical debut on Oct. 19. Both films have already received outstanding responses from audiences at film festivals and screenings across the nation. The makers of Brooklyn Castle have started a campaign to increase support for chess and other enrichment programs, and…

An Update from Robert West

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…

A Message from Robert West

On September 18, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor on my left temporal lobe, the part of your brain that controls speech and communication. I am going into surgery at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Wilmington NC, on Monday. September 24. Here’s what I would like you to know now: I am feeling positive, while recognizing that this is serious with some scary outcomes. I encourage you to share positive karma with me.The staff has been remarkable: they have rallied around, and I am so relieved and so…