(Photo Above: Andy Whitfield & His Family) Because JakeWheat.com donated to fund the film, we receive updates on the status of the progress of the fund raising, and THEY HAVE MET THEIR GOAL of $230,366!! People are donating to help further the cause, and more donations are needed! This is an email we received today from Lilibet Foster (Filmmaker):
Thank you to everyone for your continued support and for sharing our kickstarter campaign for “Be Here Now” The Andy Whitfield Story, with others. We are truly humbled and honored to have you all join us in the making of this inspiring documentary.
We have been asked if people may still pledge to the project even if we reach our goal, until July 23. The answer is yes and we hope so. We set our goal as a conservative amount just to complete filming and edit the film because we wanted to make a humble approach to asking the public, fans and our supporters for help.
Anything that we raise over that will go towards helping us fulfill our goal of distributing and marketing the documentary as widely as possible, internationally. This will include not only helping us get into high profile film festivals and worldwide distribution channels that include television, home video and hopefully movie theaters, but also making it available for cancer related organizations and groups around the world, to fulfill Andy’s wishes to inspire and help others to live in the here and now, while pushing to accelerate the pace of cancer research.
Thank you again for the amazing support you are showing us. We cannot do it without you.
If you haven’t already, please dontate to help the film so that Andy Whitfield’s legacy can live on and help others through this inspirational film, which tragically documents his fight with Non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma and his untimely passing. I still miss you Andrew, you fans love you.
The Documentary Promo on YouTube:
Jake A. Wheat
On September 11th, 2011 my heart broke. I was sitting at my desk working, and I received a Twitter message that Andy Whitfield had passed away from his battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and I cried. I cried so hard that my co-workers all stared at me, and I got up and went to the bathroom.
Many of you would see this as being “overdramatic” for a fan of the Starz TV Series “Spartacus: Blood & Sand,” but from the night of it’s premiere on television I watched and I was hooked. I fell in love with Andy Whitfield, and as you all know Manu Bennett – and found a unbelievable amount of joy from each episode. I felt it was well done, and rich with history and style, and yes – admittedly, it was full of enough eye candy to give me diabeties. After “Blood & Sand” was over, it was announced that Andy Whitfield would be undergoing treatments for Non-Hodkins Lymphoma, and while those treatments were underway – Starz decided to to a prequel to the series called “Gods of the Arena,” which would give Whitfield time to go through treatment and recover.
I expected victory, as I think many of Andy’s fans did, but that was not the case. During a physical for insurance purposes before the start of the filming for “Vengeance,” it was discovered that Andy’s cancer had returned. Having experienced friends in the past who have had “cancer that has returned,” it isn’t good news to hear – because it returns with it’s own vengeance, and normally the survival rate is much lower.
Now, there is a massive campaign to raise money for a documentary that was filmed during Andy’s fight with Non-Hogkin’s Lymphoma. Andy and his wife, Vashti, let the cameras roll until two weeks before he died in 2011 at the age of 39. Now Oscar-nominated director Lilibet Foster, with money from Kickstarter, is turning the footage into a documentary. The goal for the fundraiser, which runs for another month, is $200,000. Already $176,623 has been pledged. The extra money is needed for additional filming and editing.
“You’ll help us fulfill Andy’s wishes by bringing this story to life, and also shed a light on the need to find cures for cancer so that we can stop losing loved ones to this disease,” says Whitfield’s Spartacus castmate Jai Courtney who played Varro in the “Blood & Sand” series. (Source)
It is the legacy of their father Andy, who died aged 39 last September after an 18-month battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. He left seven-year-old Jesse and four-year-old Indigo with a beautiful image to remember him by. ‘In his final words to them, Andy said he had to go to sleep as his body didn’t work, that he was like a butterfly with broken wings, but he would always be with them, watching over them,’ says Vashti. (Source)
Six weeks after Andy’s last chemotherapy session, a scan showed the cancer had gone. ‘We thought it was a chapter closed,’ says Vashti. Yet not for long. In September 2010, Andy had a routine medical ahead of filming the second series of Spartacus. ‘The scan showed a small inflamed lymph node in his abdominal area,’ says Vashti. That night, ahead of further tests, the couple went out for dinner and afterwards got matching tattoos on their arms reading ‘Be Here Now’ – the title of the documentary.
‘It was our way of saying that whatever happened, we would live in the moment,’ says Vashti. The next day, a biopsy confirmed their worst fears: the cancer was back, and this time the prognosis was much more severe. (Source)
So we go back to that day when I received the Twitter message that Andy Whitfield had passed away, and fans mourned the loss of our beloved Actor, Spartacus, who we had grown to love almost overnight with his amazing performance in the successful Starz series. As I write this, my heart still feels mourning – not only for selfish reasons, but for Andy’s beautiful family who lost a Husband, Father, and a good man – a damn good man – to cancer.
What I am asking for is that you, FANS OF SPARTACUS, and my loving fans and loyal readers take the time to please donate to this movie. It is a story that needs to be told, and is the legacy of a man who worked so hard, achieved so much, and then had it taken away prematurely. His story of his fight against cancer needs to be told, and as of today they are close to their goal, but they need more – much more – to make this movie a reality!
Please help! Please do ME a favor and help! It means everything to me, and I hope that if you are reading this you will donate anything you can – if not for me, then for Andy and his Family.
With Love & Hope,
Jake A. Wheat
“Be Here Now” is an inspiring feature documentary and love story, about the overnight sensation, actor and international sex symbol Andy Whitfield, who put the same determination and dedication that he brought to his lead role in the hit television show, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” into fighting life threatening cancer.
This is Andy’s story, but it also about having the courage to make your dreams come true, tackling your fears and living in the present, despite the potential outcome. This film is for anyone who has ever faced a challenge in their lives.
Andy Whitfield, in the prime of his life, had just realized his dream of becoming an international star, when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Before now, he and his eloquent and charismatic wife, Vashti, had combined their will power to make every success in their lives happen, including Andy’s transformation from an engineer into an actor and sex symbol. Overwhelmed when they heard that the best medical treatment the world had to offer would only give him a 25% chance for survival, they set their sites on beating cancer by making a promise in matching “Be Here Now” tattoos, to take Andy’s healing into their own hands and live life in the present, not in the shadows, every step of the way.
Not knowing what would happen, Andy invited a camera to follow him throughout his journey as he explores both medical and alternative healing option in Australia, New Zealand and India. This unprecedented access and his openness and honesty gives the audience an intimate look into his personal life, that is rarely shared, especially by a celebrity. It was Andy’s hope that by opening his story up to a documentary, he might help or inspire others facing similar challenges, while pushing to accelerate the pace of cancer research around the world.
What he did not anticipate was that the story would also capture his, and his family’s, determination, love, infectious humor and self-affirming attitudes. And, as everyone goes through their own transformations over the course of the film, “Be Here Now” transcends the subject of cancer and becomes a universal life-lesson about living fearlessly, going for your dreams, embracing each moment and living in the present – despite the potential outcome.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You may now get involved in the making of this inspiring documentary. Led by the Academy Award® Nominated and multiple award winning filmmaker, Lilibet Foster, a camera followed Andy and his family’s unfolding story, for over a year. Andy also filmed personal diaries and took photographs throughout his journey. Together with the support of Sam Maydew, producer, Andy’s manager and principal of talent management and production company, The Collective, who brought everyone together, we have been able to get the documentary to this point.
We now need your help to finish it. The money we raise on Kickstarter will fund the additional filming and editing needed to finish the film. For your contributions, you will not only be rewarded with amazing, limited edition and collector’s item gifts, but you will be helping to make Andy’s wish come true – to help or inspire others – because we plan to distribute the completed film as widely as possible internationally.
Andy gave selflessly by letting a camera follow his personal journey, so let’s give back by helping fulfill the legacy the wanted to leave behind.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY DO NOT REACH THEIR GOAL?
Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. The way it works is that we have to meet our funding goal before the campaign expires – or we don’t get anything.
We can only finish this documentary with your help. You are as much a part of its creation as we are. The more people who participate, the more ability we will have to get Andy’s story out to as many people as possible.
So, help by donating and spreading the word to others. Share this link,“Like” us on Facebook, Twitter it, email this Kickstarter link to your friends, family, supporters, co-workers, fellow fans and anyone else.
Feel free to email Lilibet to ask us questions, get more information, and become involved in the making of Be Here Now on our beherenowfilm.com website: email@example.com
I Miss You Andrew,
Jake A. Wheat
I have been thinking about this for a while, and finally decided to be pro-active and move forward. It’s an act of bravery for me really, and frankly if I am rejected I will be heartbroken. Manu Bennett is one of my – no – he IS my favorite Actor and Spartacus on Starz has been something that I have supported since it’s first episode. I am not a new fan, I was there the night it first aired on the edge of my seat and just awestruck by the show! From there, I got the DVD’s, the Manu Bennett autographed card, and even won a sweepstakes on Starz where they sent me some free Starz stuff.
I order, and wear faithfully my “I love Crixus” T-Shirt, and I even have myself immortalized (as a cartoon bean) wearing the shirt which causes my friends to giggle. I’m not lying, here is the pic of me as a bean wearing my Crixus shirt to prove it!
Yes, I am a DIE HARD Crixus fan, sue me. So, without hesitation, I emailed Starz today and asked them if there would be a way that I could do an email interview with Manu Bennett. I am certain a phone interview would be out of the question, but I have a lot of real questions for the actor that I would like answered. He is a fascinating man, and I want to be able to “virtually” sit down with him and get to know him better.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you think Starz should allow Jake Wheat to interview Manu Bennett?
Hopefully Starz will hear my plea, and make this happen! Please everyone cross your fingers!
Make My Wish Come True,
Jake A. Wheat
Awwww yeah! My TV husband is back with a “Vengeance” on Starz, and Friday nights just got a whole lot sexier! As you know, I am hopelessly devoted to Manu Bennett who plays “Crixus” on the Spartacus series which is now in it’s third season. The first season, “Spartacus Blood & Sand” won me over with the likes of a good story line, and of course the brooding good looks of Andy Whitfield and Manu Bennett. Tragically, Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and Starz decided to do a prequel to the Spartacus Blood & Sand series called “Gods of the Arena,” while Whitfield recovered. Even more tragic, Whitfield’s treatment suffered complications, and sadly Andy passed away.
“Gods of the Arena,” proved to be equally amazing even without Whitfield, and while fans of the series were stunned when the news of his passing was made public, my love and “passion” for the show grew stronger. Spartacus was more than just a show to me…. it is more than a show to me…. it is ultimately a TV phenomena which I feel very much a part of.
I also want to hump Crixus until my body is raw, but everyone who is a long time fan of my blog knows this already…. deal with it.
So now I am watching the new series “Spartacus: Vengeance” which stars Liam McIntyre filling the shoes of the late Whitfield, and I must say the first 13 minutes of the series held me in a state of sadness. I am glad that McIntyre is in the role, he is very fitting to play the part and does an excellent job, but it makes me really mourn for Andy. Nothing could fill his shoes or take his place, and to me a part of that magic that once was is gone, but I accept and really admire the work that McIntyre has brought to the new series. I can’t imagine the pressure he felt while developing a character that was already loved by countless fans by Whitfield, and I applaud him for his performance thus far. I applaud him regardless, because he is amazing as Spartacus.
Of course, I would not have to go a paragraph without mentioning that Crixus is back as well, and his deep raspy voice bellows out longing for his lost love, and while I know it’s not me in the TV series – I can pretend he yearns for me, ok? GET OVER IT. The fact is that Crixus is a very “developed” character in a sense that I believe Starz had to grow to understand that fans of the series would ultimately love him as much as we did from the start. Crixus was a bad ass, a really mean and spiteful guy, and yet that bad boy image captured my attention from the moment he first appeared on the screen. I guess that is something I need to discuss with my shrink, but hey – I know how to pick him, because now he is the right hand man to Spartacus. Not to shabby right? Frankly, I believe that Bennett has gotten better looking since the show evolved, and if Crixus ever gets knocked off the show (yeah, I know history…. they better re-write it….) then I will probably quit watching.
Ok, maybe not… but I will just stalk Bennett somewhere else. *sigh*
All of the information on the show can be found on the Starz website by clicking here, and you can get some really cool downloads if you click here! For those of you who missed the FIRST EPISODE of the series, Starz is streaming it from their website which I have embedded below. If they remove it, then you won’t see the embed…. so watch it while you can!
ENJOY THE FIRST EPISODE OF THE NEW SEASON!
Jake A. Wheat
PS. Manu, if you read this please don’t beat me up. xoxo