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Robert West – Bio

In fall 2012, Working Films’ Co-founder and Executive Director Robert West was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), an aggressive and terminal brain cancer. This news came as a shock to our board, staff, and the entire Working Films community. Robert embraced it with immense courage, grace, and honesty. He remained passionate about Working Films but, in order to focus on his health and well-being, in early 2013 he decided to step down from his role as Executive Director. In late Spring 2013, Robert passed away. Robert shared his story at the Caring Bridge Site.

Robert West is Co-founder of Working Films with Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and organizer Judith Helfand.

West, as curator of film and video at the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte NC, from 1985 - 1999, directed a well known and highly respected media program that included a national independent film festival and national touring film programs, including Conflict & Peace: Recent Israeli and Palestinian Film. West was curator of Recollections: Lumbee Heritage; a unique traveling exhibit on NC Native Americans, that continues to tour the Southeast.

West has been a guest lecturer at the University of North Carolina, at Duke University, at New York University and at the NC School of the Arts. West was a board member of the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, a funder of progressive social justice media, for four years; and a member for 2 years of the nominating committee for the Rockefeller Media Fellowships. He was a panel member of Visions: University of North Carolina Center for Public Television; and a panel member of the Media Arts Fellowship Program of the NEA, Creative Capital, the NC Arts Council, the Radziwell Documentary Fund and The Independent Television Service, a production arm of PBS. In 2004, West was a juror at the Full Frame Film Festival. He is a board member of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC).

In 2006, West was a panel member at the Sundance Film Festival, From the Multiplex to the Living Room: Marketing on the New Documentary Landscape, and the moderator for Making Your Documentary Matter: Public Engagement Strategies that Work at the Center for Social Media in 2006 and 2007.

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