Robert West's Journal
Written Feb 14, 2013 3:39pm by Robert WestHey there,Working Films headquarters is a 1910 firehouse in Wilmington NC, a building well known in the city - a photo is on here, Locals might know us well because of the firehouse but are often puzzled by our actual work, and may say to us: "what do you guys do again?" Since our work is with filmmakers from NYC, SF, Chicago, and other major US cities and even London - our local profile stays low key. (There are not a lot of social justice doc filmmakers in our town, we work with them when we can,)This past Sunday Si Cantwell, a columnist for the Star News, the local paper, ran a piece on Working Films and myself, sharing our news. His effort garnered an excellent response, and as he added a link to this site a number of comments came in here over the past few days - some from strangers to us. (Well, strangers no longer - GOOD VIBES!!)Some of you regulars may have missed these articles, here they are. I was not wild about the photo of me, but a number of folks said I looked "bad ass" - if so, I am happier.Diagnosed with fatal cancer, ex-film exec savors each day
Staffers Carry on Wilmington Nonprofit's film missionBe well and of good cheer,Robert
Mild Winter at Windy Point
Written Feb 9, 2013 6:14am by Robert WestGreetings,Another sunny, warm day here at Windy Point - temp in the low 60s - on a Winter day that is slamming the Northeast. If you are up that way, I hope you are dry, warm and safe.We are keeping daily log of activity on waterway that is our primary view: most days we are logging deer in the wetlands, dolphin packs, fishing birds diving deep.Last two nights big bright barges went past after midnight: my bedroom looks right out on the waterway so their brilliantly lit decks and their soft engines woke me up. No complaints: lovely sight.A recent article by the UK paper The Guardian recorded "top five regrets of the dying." These are: 1) I wish I had lived a life true to myself, 2) I wish I hadn't worked so hard, 3) wish I had had the courage to express my feelings, 4) wish I had stayed in touch with friends, and 5) wish I had let myself be happier.Hmmm: my self evaluation: 1) my life has been a gift of doing passionate work that I love: both Working Films and my art, both feel absolutely true to my beliefs, 2) work always felt like joy not hardship, 3) MOSTLY got to express myself, 4) I am blessed with huge circle of dear friends, and 5) I have had very happy time, still am!So, conclusion: No regrets, nothing feeling undone, my life has been mostly joyful. Huge gifts along the way of important work, funny and smart colleagues, close friends and loved ones, family. I think my "rating" on this list is what has allowed me to tap into my current positive energy without huge fear for the future. Days here are very happy.Wishing the same for you!Be well and of good cheer, let me hear from you.Robert
Windy Point indeed!
Written Jan 30, 2013 9:21am by Robert WestGreetings,Week three at Windy Point still continues to delight. Sunrise today at 7:20am - bright pink skies, temp may go up to 70 degrees. (This is NOT seasonable weather for coastal NC - but not complaining.)Additional weather advisory - blustery day: 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. Our Finch bird feeder is rocking.My energy continues to be good. I am taking short walks, listening to books on tape, lots of friends coming to visit and hang out AND most importantly - cook with me.My family came yesterday: Fred & Hillary, Kyle, Emily came in from VA, DC, and Philly. Jordan, my twin sister Jane's son - he's at UNC-Wilmington, joined us. Great visit.You know that old saying - live one day at a time - its working brilliantly for me. Each day is quiet and peaceful. And even exciting: we are keeping a daily log of of the traffic on the Intracoastal outside our back door. Post for Jan 19: "Deer! Our first sighting - five white tails leaping in the wetlands across the waterway. Shrimper boat headed home in the afternoon - hopefully with full bins. Sailboat at sunset headed South with full sails up."It is so easy to focus on the present - not whatever the future holds - with days like these. Every day I awake to a fresh morning and a bright sky, impossible to see these as routine.An extraordinary gift was posted yesterday on Facebook by my brilliant colleague Judith Helfand - didn't know this was coming.Judith wrote: "When I find some words I will post them, til then I will reply on this letter to the field letting everyone know that our beloved Robert West, my Working Films co-founder, comrade, friend and ally since 1994 is stepping down from Working Films to focus on life, living, joy and wellness in the face of fatal brain cancer GBM. In his honor we have created the ROBERT WEST REEL ENGAGEMENT FUND - so we can keep the work and his vision growing, evolving and charging on." She mentions the Charlotte Film and Video Festival, where we first met; I was the curator of film at the Mint Museum. She continues: "It was there in the dark, just before and in the wake of the lights coming up that Robert started to SEE, truly SEE the power of reel engagement . . . between the film and the audience and the needs of the audience." She gives me too much credit - it was always about collaboration, it always was and still is. But man, what collaborators, I LOVE YOU JUDITH.If you are interested in the Fund, tax deductible, go to: www.workingfilms.org/robertwestreelengagementfund THIS IS NOT A PITCH!Be well and of good cheer. And keep me in the loop!XXRobert