One of the shocks in the industry in the past year was the early death of television star Andy Whitfield, the star of the Starz Network’s mini-series SPARTACUS (based on the 1960 Stanley Kubrick epic, produced by and starring the iconic Kirk Douglas). The strapping Australian actor died last September of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and an upcoming documentary entitled BE HERE NOW will chronicle the 35 year old’s health battle. Director Lilibet Foster began following the actor shortly after his 2010 diagnosis through all stages of his disease, treatment and ultimate decline. Realizing that there was an avid fan base who want to know more about Whitfield’s story, she turned to the crowd-funding website Kickstarter to raise the $200,000 needed to complete the project. Passionate fans are being encouraged to contribute monies or buy deluxe DVD sets of the series as a way of raising the needed coin to complete the film.
BE HERE NOW has raised nearly two-thirds of its target and is a testament to the attachment that fans have to Whitfield and his very public struggle with disease at such an early age and at the start of what was predicted to be a major television and film career. “Andy wanted this film to get made”, director Lilibet Foster is quoted as saying. “He wanted to inspire people to fight for their lives”. The Starz Network has promised to add finishing funds to the project and has committed to airing it. Look for the film to make the rounds of the festival circuit in 2013 and to be used as a teaching and support tool to explain to the public the need for more funding to cure cancer.