Famed Charleston Filmmaker Passes Away

Provided by the West Virginia Film Office
Famed Charleston Filmmaker Passes Away

Robert Gates, 69, of Charleston, an independent filmmaker and photographer, helped pave the way for so many filmmakers that he mentored and those who followed in his footsteps. His death on February 2, 2013, will leave an indelible hole in West Virginia's close-knit film community. Over the years, Bob has been recognized by his peers for his accomplishments, including being named the 2012 WV Filmmaker of the Year bestowed by the WV Filmmakers Guild and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the WV International Film Festival a couple decades ago.


Bob was also an avid photographer and theatre lighting expert. And WV filmmaker Daniel Boyd tapped Bob's expertise as the Lighting Designer on one of Boyd's early feature films, "Invasion of the Space Preachers."


Bob was a founding member of the non-profit WV Filmmakers Guild, which was formed in 1978. He was its president for probably 25 years or more before turning the reins over to the next generation, but remained its president emeritus. He kept the Guild going in lean years and was a strong voice in supporting its mission of connecting filmmakers and others from around the state who shared the same goals of building a film industry in the state.


On January 9, 2010, the La Belle Theater in South Charleston, in conjunction with the South Charleston Public Library, honored Bob's illustrious filmmaking career with an "Evening with Robert Gates."


Some of Bob's more well-known films include "In Memory of the Land and People," "Building a Cello with Harold," Buffalo Creek Disaster," "Celebrating 40 Years – the WV Highlands Conservancy," "Morris Family Old Time Music Festival," "Mucked," "Communication from Weber," "Flood Stories," "Trip to Kayford Mountain," and many more.


Without question, Bob will be missed in the state's film community. Indeed, he was a force to be reckoned with. The staff at the West Virginia Film Office sends its prayers to Bob's family and friends.

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