“Be Here Now” (The Andy Whitfield Story) is for anyone who has ever faced a challenge or had a dream. Andy and Vashti's inspiring journey is an example for us all to both manifest our own destiny, yet remember to Be Here Now.
ABOUT THE FILM
An inspiring love story between television superstar, Andy Whitfield, of “Spartacus” fame and his charismatic wife, Vashti, who together take on the most heroic role he’s ever had to play. With matching 'Be Here Now' tattoos on their forearms, they go on a quest to heal Andy from a cancer diagnosis – by embracing life, rather than fear. They bravely allowed Academy® Award Nominated filmmaker, Lilibet Foster, to follow their dramatic and intimate roller coaster, in the hopes that by sharing their journey, they may help inspire others with challenges and dreams. And, it’s their determination, courage, healthy dose of humor and love, that illustrates how the journey is more important than the destination. Funded by the 3rd most successful documentary campaign on Kickstarter, the filmmakers, producer, Sam Maydew, who brought everyone together, and director, Lilibet Foster, released the film through Be Here Now Productions.
As though life is imitating art, actor and sex symbol, Andy Whitfield, had just achieved his dream of becoming a star as the tragic-hero of the hit series, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” when he is faced with his biggest personal challenge. Before now, Andy and his charismatic wife, Vashti, combined their will-power to make their dreams become reality, including Andy’s transformation from an engineer into a successful actor. Now, they set their sights on beating cancer, by making a promise confirmed in matching ‘Be Here Now’ tattoos, to embrace life rather than live in fear.
They allowed filmmaker, Lilibet Foster, to follow them throughout their dramatic and life-affirming journey, in this love story that unfolds over their quest to find a cure, in the hopes that by sharing it, they might help inspire others faced with challenges and who have goals and dreams. Shot in a verite style in Australia, New Zealand, India and the US, it is their powerful determination, remarkable openness, irrepressible humor and love that makes the film an intimate and inspiring life-lesson about having the courage to face challenges and take advantage of every day – regardless of the outcome. It also reveals how close, yet so far, we are from finding a cure for this disease, which touches all of our lives.
Ultimately, “Be Here Now” (The Andy Whitfield Story) is a life-affirming love story about aiming for the skies, yet appreciating and embracing what is right before us. This film is for anyone who has ever faced a challenge or had a dream. Their inspiring journey is an example for us all to both manifest our own destiny, yet remember to Be Here Now.
ABOUT ANDY & VASHTI
British born and Australian actor, loving husband, father, son, brother and all around beautiful person, was publicly best-known for his leading role in the Starz television series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.”
Andy was born in the United Kingdom and grew up in Amlwch, on the island of Anglesey in Wales. He studied at Sheffield University, in England, and spent five years working in the construction industry in London. He moved to Australia in 1999 and pursued a career as a diagnostic engineer, which required rappelling off the side of tall buildings. After being discovered by a photographer on a Sydney beach, he simultaneously began his career as a top model and actor. He studied drama in Sydney and appeared in multiple television commercials as well as many of Australia’s most popular television series, such as “Opening Up,” “All Saints,” “The Strip,” “Packed to the Rafters” and “McLeod's Daughters.” Andy’s first prominent role was starring as the archangel fighting to bring life to purgatory, in the Australian film “Gabriel.” His dramatic performance earned him a Best Newcomer Nomination at the Filmink Awards. Directed by Shane Abbes, the film was also Nominated for the Australian Film Institute’s Best Visual Effects Award and was one of Australia’s highest grossing films of 2007. This led him to landing his starring role in Starz television’s first big hit series, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” which was filmed in New Zealand. Andy won the role after what Executive Producer, Rob Tapert, described as a worldwide search for a talented actor who had so far flown under the Hollywood radar, but afterwards the role of Spartacus would be highly sought after.
Andy also appeared in the Australian thriller “The Clinic” starring opposite Tabrett Bethell (of “Legend of the Seeker” fame) and made a voice over appearance in the prequel mini-series “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.” He also teamed up with Freddie Wong in the YouTube video, "Time Crisis," based on the video game, which became a viral hit with over 8.5 million views. Andy and his loving wife, Vashti, have two gorgeous children, Indi and Jesse, and a loving family.
Following the loss of her husband Andy, Vashti Whitfield, has been an incredible force for turning her own personal grief into a catalyst for inspiring millions of people around the world. Using her extraordinary life and professional expertise, Vashti's purpose is to inspire and facilitate others to realize their full potential and make the most of their lives.
With over twenty years as a highly experienced resilience, leadership and transformational coach, Vashti currently sits on the advisory board for Coaching Australia and Coach Global. Vashti is also a faculty member of The School of Life, where she lectures regularly on the topic of Matters of Life and Death, Purpose, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence, Courage and Confidence. She also runs her own private coaching practice where she works exclusively with high-level professionals and creatives who consciously look to live, lead and cultivate a unique and inspiring legacy.
Today, Vashti strives to run her life as a devoted parent, a passionate Transformational Facilitator and an individual who does her best to squeeze every drop out of life, death and everything in between.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Lilibet Foster | Director and Producer
"We are proud to release the film with the hope that, as Andy wished, it will inspire all of us with challenges and dreams to make the most of this one life yet appreciate and embrace what is right before us, and shine a light on the need for more cancer research, treatment and support."
Lilibet Foster (DGA) is an Academy Award® Nominated filmmaker and multiple award-winning director, producer and writer of feature documentaries, television programs, branded entertainment and live events.
Her film, “Be Here Now” (The Andy Whitfield Story) premiered theatrically in the US and
internationally to unanimous critical praise, screening for audiences in over 200 theaters in over 84 cities. It earned the Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award, Best Documentary nominations at the Hot Springs Documentary and Santa Barbara Film Festivals, and was selected as Opening Night Film in competition at the DocEdge Film Festival. It received widespread coverage in over 100 international news sources, topped Kickstarter as the 3rd most successful documentary campaign, and now has over 4 million followers across social media and BeHereNowFilm.com. The film premiered digitally on Netflix, and is currently available on Kanopy.
Lilibet earned her Oscar® Nomination for producing the feature documentary, "Speaking in Strings" while her previously produced film, “Soul in the Hole,” won the Independent Spirit®: Truer Than Fiction Award. After theatrical releases, both films made their television debuts on HBO. Her critically acclaimed feature documentaries include “Brotherhood: Life in the FDNY,” “A Patriot Act,” and “PF1: The Making of an Urban Farm.” Her work has also earned the Best Film Nomination by the International Documentary Association (IDA); Cable Ace Award; Jury Prize at the Newport Film Festival; Best Documentary at Paramount Studio’s WIN Film Festival; Selection in Competition and premieres at the Sundance, Tribeca, Hamptons, Berlin, Rotterdam, Locarno and many more international film festivals; as well as “Top Ten Film of the Year” distinctions by “Premiere” and the “Village Voice.”
Lilibet has also directed, produced, written and developed critically acclaimed programs, series
and pilot segments for many of the major broadcasters such as, Discovery, A&E, O2, PBS, ESPN and BBCAmerica. This work includes "Operation Fine Girl”; Remembering Marshall: Thirty Years Later "Film in the Television Age"; “A Day in the Life of Africa”; “Fueling the Future” in the prime-time special, “Earth 2050”; “The Carnoisseur”; “Starchitect”; “Great Expectations”; and segments for the award winning show "Stand Up To Cancer", simulcast on ABC, CBS, NBC and more networks. She has also directed branded entertainment campaigns and PSAs for commercial clients such as, Nike, Sony, Mars, Shell, SCJ and Apple, and non-profit organizations including Acumen Fund, WITNESS, TechnoServe and 1Goal, with the award winning production company, Radical Media and her company, Asphalt Films Entertainment, for which she won both the Honorary Webby and IFilm’s: Best of the Net Awards. She also produces and directs live events, most notably for The World Science Festival. She has been interviewed and featured in a widerange of news sources from, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, NBC, AOL, The New York Times, Elle Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Entertainment Weekly, to the Daily Mail, Germany’s RTL-TV News and Italian Vanity Fair.
From the Virgin Islands, she is principal of the production company, Asphalt Films Entertainment, and co-founder of the Soul in the Hole Foundation, focused on helping at-risk teenagers in New York City.
Sam Maydew | Producer
Silver Lining Entertainment is a management and production company that connects a diverse cast of talent to the world's most creative minds. The company was formed in 2013 when founding partners Jeff Golenberg and Sam Maydew separated from The Collective, a multi-media entertainment company that they had previously created in 2004. SLE represents over 150 distinguished film and television clients and has produced several film and television projects for Netflix, Lionsgate, HBO, among others. Maydew and Golenberg are also partnered with television producer Rob Golenberg in Silver Lining Entertainment Productions, a television production subsidiary that has a first look deal with A&E Television Studios (Reprisal, Project Blue Book). Rob has produced several shows including the upcoming Showtime series Your Honor starring Bryan Cranston as well as ABC’s Betrayal and CBS’ Hostages.
Co-Founder and Partner, Sam Maydew has guided numerous clients’ careers as well as specializing on the production side of Silver Lining Entertainment. Maydew recently produced the Lionsgate feature The Kid directed by client Vincent D’Onofrio and starring Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan & Chris Pratt. He also produced the recently released Robert Mapplethorpe biopic Mapplethorpe starring The Crown’ s Matt Smith as the controversial photographer. Maydew has produced several hit films, television shows, and comedy specials since forming Silver Lining Entertainment. Maydew produced the Netflix comedy Take The 10 featuring Josh Peck, Tony Revolori and Andy Samberg. Maydew and Golenberg worked together to produce the FX series Partners starring Martin Lawrence and Kelsey Grammer, the CBS pilot Taxi 22 starring John Leguizamo, as well as Leguizamo’s one man show Ghetto Klown for HBO. They also produced Mall, a film based on Eric Bogosian’s novel of the same name. Vincent D’Onofrio adapted the screenplay and stars in the film, while Linkin’ Park’s Joe Hahn made his directorial debut with his band mates handling the music for the film. Maydew also produced Katt Williams’ American Hustle for HBO and the first season of the cult hit Video Game High School. Maydew also spent four years producing the documentary film about the inspiring story of former client Andy Whitfield’s battle with cancer entitled "Be Here Now" The Andy Whitfield's Story, directed by Oscar® nominee Lilibet Foster. The film went on to win The Audience Award at The Los Angeles Film Festival and later premiered on Netflix.
Maydew started his career as a producer and was responsible for developing and producing the Sony Pictures Classic film SLC Punk! Maydew also produced several other films, including The Education of Charlie Banks starring Jesse Eisenberg, and Daydream Nation starring Kat Dennings and Josh Lucas, prior to creating Silver Lining Entertainment. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Maydew started working in film/TV development at NBC productions. Prior to his move to California, he lived in Seattle where he worked for the Seattle Seahawk’s marketing department.
Deborah Kuleff | Co-Producer
Deborah Kuleff is an Australian Producer who has worked on numerous award-winning Documentaries and Television programs, many of which have screened internationally.
Her very first short film, “Salomon”, was accepted into thirteen different festivals around the world. More recently, she has seen two of her programs receive Australian Logie Nominations. One, for the cooking series “Made in Italy: with Silvia Colloca” (SBS |2015), and the other for comedy-documentary, “Mr. Firth Goes To Washington” (SBS | 2009). Her work has taken her to the USA, Italy, Norway, South Korea, Morocco, and now Ireland. She prides herself with having produced programs that not only feature on all of the Australian networks, but also with a number of international Broadcasters as well. These include, Discovery TLC (UK), CBeebies (Canada), Knowledge Network (Canada), TV2 (Norway), Australia Network (Asia-Pacific) and RTÉ (Ireland). Deborah is proud to have produced in a variety of genres such as, Documentary, Factual Entertainment, Children’s TV, Food & Lifestyle, Drama, Reality TV, Comedy and Animation. Today, she currently lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.
David Meneses | Editor
David Meneses is a New York City based editor of numerous award winning feature length and short documentaries.
His work includes the Emmy nominated “Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery;” “A Woman Among Boys: A Brooklyn Basketball Story;” “Redemption” which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short; and he was the consulting editor of the Academy Award® Nominated short film, “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan,” directed and produced by Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill.
He also edited the feature documentaries, “The First Season,” directed by Rudd Simmons and “The Undocumented,” directed by Marco Williams; as well as the short film “Public Farm 1: The Making of an Urban Farm,” and the feature documentary, “Be Here Now” (The Andy Whitfield Story), which won the Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary, both directed by Lilibet Foster. He was one of two editors on “The Hand That Feed,” Directed by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick, which won the Full Frame Film Festival Audience Award and was selected as part of the Best of Fest encore screenings for AFI Docs (formerly Silver Docs). He also edited the HBO feature length documentary “Rock and a Hard Place,” produced by Dwayne Johnson, which captures the lives of incarcerated young people who are granted a second chance. And, he edited the documentaries “Cuba and the Cameraman,” directed by Jon Alpert for Netflix, and “Alternate Endings,” directed by Perri Peltz and Matthew O’Neill for HBO. Currently, David is the supervising editor of the series, “AXIOS on HBO.”
OUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
Topped Kickstarter as 3rd Most Successful Documentary Campaign, raising 151% of the funding goal with over 5,250 backers and over 280,000 trailer views.
After filming for 18 months, we ran a Kickstarter campaign to continue filming and edit the film. We are so grateful to all of the backers who helped make “Be Here Now” (The Andy Whitfield Story) the 3rd most successful Kickstarter documentary campaign.
We wholeheartedly thank our Kickstarter backers and our worldwide Be Here Now community, for your outpouring of support and encouragement. Our appreciation also goes out to film festivals, press, journalists, bloggers, Starz, Deus Ex Machina, BedStu and everyone else – for your help, support and coverage of the film.
We are grateful for your sharing your comments and personal stories, in so many languages, on social media and in lovely emails.
We invite you sign up to find showings, bring the film to your area and continue to share your stories on our social media and Community Board.
The film’s release was sponsored by Grand Prix Café, classic car club, garage and internet company.
ABOUT SPARTACUS TV SERIES
“Spartacus: Blood and Sand” starring Andy Whitfield, is the first season of Starz’ original hit series, “Spartacus,” the action-adventure drama, set in the brutal Roman gladiator era. Shot and produced in New Zealand, the series’ four seasons include, “Vengeance,” “War of the Damned,” and the six-part prequel filmed when Andy Whitfield was in treatment for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, “Gods of the Arena.”
The “Spartacus” series was inspired by the historical figure of Spartacus, a Thracian soldier in the Roman Auxiliary, who was taken prisoner and sentenced to die in the gladiator arena. After surviving, against all odds, Spartacus’ sentence was commuted to slavery and he was bought by Batiatus to be trained as a gladiator in the Ludus, with the promise of one day being reunited with his wife, Sura. Andy himself describes Spartacus as having a dangerous edge, being “a beast with a heart,” and having a fire that burns within. Against all odds, Spartacus’ courage, determination, intense love for his wife and powerful fighting skills drive him to survive and win near-impossible battles. Spartacus eventually led a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic.
Some of the notable actors in the series include, Jai Courtney, John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, Liam McIntyre, Katrina Law, Manu Bennett, Peter Mensah, Viva Bianca, Erin Cummings, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Nick E. Tarabay and Craig Parker. Creator, Executive Producers and Producers include, Steven S. DeKnight, Robert Tapert, Sam Raimi, Joshua Donen, Chloe Smith, Charles Knight and Aaron Lam.