Andy Whitfield documentary reaches funding goal; filmmakers talk next step

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Less than one month after starting a campaign to help complete a documentary about late Spartacus star Andy Whitfield’s battle with cancer, the people behind the project have met their funding goal on Kickstarter. But what now?

Director Lilibet Foster tells EW that after raising the $200,000 needed to fund the editing of the footage they had gathered while following Whitfield, she plans to have the documentary, Be Here Now, finished by the end of the year for a possible release in early 2013. Whitfield, former star of Spartacus, died at age 39 in Sept. 2011 after fighting his second battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“We set a goal that would help us finish the film — [enough money] so that we’d have a finished film that all the people who are interested would get to see — and we had hoped that people would come out,” she says. “But I have to say the support — and not just pledges but e-mails and messages — it’s unbelievable.”

The funds that accumulate beyond their initial goal — 56,000 and counting —¬†will go toward filmmaking luxuries sometimes not within the reach of small, independent documentaries — like wider distribution channels (including television and DVD), closed captioning, and translations into different languages. With 19 days to go in the fundraising campaign, she hopes the donations continue to pour in because it will allow them to reach the global audience who have helped make the project possible, says Foster. “Those people we’re going to be able to reach and get the film to and afford to do all that stuff with any of the excess,” she says. “So we’re overjoyed.”

They also plan to submit to major film festivals and seek larger distribution. Sam Maydew, who produced the film with Foster and was Whitfield’s former manager, says that the public’s interest and support of the film will help break barriers that once existed for the project. “Going through the traditional channels, a lot of people were kind of scared of what this might be and how this could be something people would want to see, which I thought was really closed-minded,” he said. “We’re very excited about being in control of our destiny. At the very core, this is a very human story. At the end of the day, Andy Whitfield was a dad and husband first, and going through this with him, I’ve never seen anyone braver.”

“Andy touched a lot of people,” Foster adds. “I just feel like a messenger.”

Click here to visit the film’s Kickstarter page and bookmark this page (full site coming soon) for future updates on the film’s progress.

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