Roberto Guerra
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1942 - 2014
Roberto Guerra, an international documentary filmmaker, died on Friday, January 10th after a six-month valiant fight against pancreatic cancer at Haven Hospice at Bellevue Hospital in NYC with his wife, Kathy Brew, by his side, who was with him throughout the entire ordeal.

Guerra was born in Lima, Peru on May 22, 1942 and graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria, Lima with a degree in engineering, and subsequently turned his attention to film, initially producing and directing in Peru.

In the late 60s, on his first trip to NYC to purchase film equipment, Guerra met Albert Maysles and through him and his brother, David, he met the other cinema verité pioneers -- Ricky Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker, and Robert Drew. He initially worked with the Maysles, filming on some of their projects. Soon thereafter, he met Eila Hershon, who became his collaborator and life partner for the next 25 years. They made many films, including portraits of artists and international personalities in the worlds of fashion and design.
Guerra and Hershon married in 1991; Eila Hershon died of cancer in 1993.

Guerra did his own camerawork and editing for all his films. His intuitive, sensitive eye and unique style and spontaneous grace imbues each film with a sense of involvement and intimacy with the subjects.

In 1996, Guerra met Kathy Brew and claimed that she "corrupted him to digital video." Their life/work collaboration soon began, and has included a range of different independent projects, including many set in Peru, where they have returned and spent time annually since 1999. Their most recent film is the feature documentary Design is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli, which began its US theatrical release at the IFC Film Center in New York City in October 2013 with a favorable NY Times review.

Guerra and Brew married after 17 years together on August 14, 2013.
He is survived by his loving wife and collaborator, Kathy Brew, and his family in Lima, Peru – his mother, Mercedes Allison de Guerra, 97; and his brother, Humberto Guerra, 73; as well as many cousins, nephews and nieces and a true tribal family of so many beloved friends, all around the globe. His spirit and equanimity in the face of his sudden cancer diagnosis was inspirational. His joy for life and people and his creativity will live on through all the work he created and in all the lives he touched.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Roberto Guerra's name are requested to go to one of the following: The Lustgarten Foundation (involved in pancreatic cancer research), or VNSNY Haven Hospice
A memorial will be held sometime in the first half of 2014 in NYC with plans for another one at an unknown date in Lima, Peru.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in New York Times from Jan. 14 to Jan. 15, 2014.
Memories & Condolences
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48 entries
January 8, 2020
So many fond memories of Roberto in New York and here in Washington, DC. Phyllis and I miss him!
Randall Packer
January 18, 2015
Last Saturday, January 10, was the 1 year anniversary of Roberto's departure from the earth plane. We held a very beautiful memorial ceremony for him with family and friends just south of Lima at a sacred artistic space, thanks to dear friends, Lika Mutal & Gam Klutier. On January 31st, we will have a memorial celebration for Roberto in NYC at another sacred space -- Saint Peter's Church, where we filmed for our documentary on the Vignellis. He touched so many lives, and I am ever so grateful for how he touched mine.
Kathy Brew
December 13, 2014
I was watching your wonderful Vignelli film, when the credits came up at the end and I saw Roberto's name. He may or may not have remembered me, but I was an assistant to Langlois when he and Eila were shooting that documentary, and I think I helped a little (later going on to become a documentary filmmaker myself). I had sometimes wondered what had happened to Roberto and what had happened to that film. I remember Roberto's warmth and his cheerfulness. It's sad for me that I waited this long—too long—to say hello.
warm best wishes,
Pierre Sauvage
Pierre Sauvage
December 4, 2014
It's such a loss when someone both talented and personally delightful leaves us. We're all less, the world is lessened. May you find strength, Kathy, after knowing two such men. Virginia Smith
November 24, 2014
2014 - January 10, my brother Roberto left... October 15, my mother Mercedes did so too - now they are happy together
Humberto Guerra
February 19, 2014
Dearest Kathy,
What serendipity that you found each other and were able to enjoy such a great love and a rich life for many years. It is cruel that such an unusual and giving man should be taken from us - all we can do is remember how incredible he was. Sending my love to you, dear Kathy.
Andy Traubner
February 13, 2014
Todos dicen que te fuiste. Pero yo te siento más cerca...
Pablo Guerra
February 6, 2014
I Shared my infancy and youth with him, he was a brother for me and my sisters.
We loved him very much. He was a special person. And a great artist since he was very young. He will always remain in our hearts.
Rusette Segu Allison
February 5, 2014
@ opening of José Tola in NYC
February 5, 2014
Roberto & Kathy @ Pachacamac
February 5, 2014
February 3, 2014
Here is a Peruvian who give to you with much respect and affection thanks so much for all your Artist Creativity and your love for the humanity. You inspire to many other people to be better persons,thanks and I wish that you are on the light and progress road with the God unconditional Love. Thanks, thanks, thanks.For your wife Kathy my wishes of Peace and Strength,I send good and positive vibrations her recover.

Haurlyn Figueroa.
Haurlyn Figueroa
February 3, 2014
Roberto, you were vivid, alert, soulful, mirthful human. You will be remembered, from your owl glasses inward, to your sparkling molecules.
Marina Zurkow
February 2, 2014
the world will miss this special, unique, talented man!
February 2, 2014
What stands out for me about Roberto is his incredibly perceptive and sensitive nature. I appreciated these qualities when I spent some time with him in his last weeks, when from his bed he was so captivated by the interactions between a hospice-mate and a visiting nurse that he begged me to film it with my phone! Roberto shot for my documentaries several times, and I was always amazed at his ability to understand the emotional dynamics of a situation and translate them into film language. I completely trusted him to walk into any situation, without anybody else to guide him, and capture exactly what was needed from the moments that unfolded. A rare and precious talent, and human being.
Kelly Anderson
February 2, 2014
I will miss your generous smile and the sweetness of you look onto the world, your marvelous humor. You were a truly unique person, Roberto.
Benjamin Weil
February 1, 2014
Your life and inspiration made a difference and we will miss you.
lynn hershman
February 1, 2014
Roberto was a very unique, kind, and brilliant person. He had wisdom and wit...I liked him very much. I believe he is in a wonderful place now, beyond time, and he will be remembered as someone very special.
Jan Harrison
February 1, 2014
It's the delightful sparkle in his eyes I will never forget- his fascination with whatever the world offered and his ability to transform that experience into such a beautifully unique vision. There could only be one Roberto Guerra..
Aline Mayer
February 1, 2014
Roberto was one of a kind! Peerlessly witty (I thought of him as the Robin Williams of documentary flmmkers). I also remember very well the last time I saw him. We walked together from a NY Times Voces event to Times Square. I was somehow complaining about the rigors or obstacles of this work. He just said something like "just pick up a camera and shoot." Actually that has stuck in my mind ever since, important in more ways than one. That was Roberto. Playful, flippant, and underneath it all, you got the feeling he was profound. And of course we had the Peruvian connection. He having left. Me having discovered. Oh - and the best eyewear, too. (WHere'd he get them?! )
mitchell Teplitsky
February 1, 2014
you liked more the back of the turtle
Roberto, your spirit entered the Turtle. As I wear it (almost daily) I remember your smile and I miss your kindness, generosity, freedom and loving person. I thank the opportunity I had to talk with you a few hours at the hospital. I learned from your peaceful spirit.
Josely Carvalho
February 1, 2014
A Bodhisattva and a delightful prankster whose memory will forever make me smile. Thank you Roberto.
Fritzie Brown
February 1, 2014
Roberto Guerra was such an incredibly positive and brilliant person. He had a childlike intensity when he spoke about things which excited him and he saw the exciting in everything. My thoughts and prayers are with you Kathy Brew. I know his soul is in a new and glorious state and I know that he lives on in the hearts and minds of all who knew him and will continue to live on through his wonderful works.
Liz Afif Fisher
February 1, 2014
Roberto was an exceptional person, always kind, positive, funny and genuinely happy to interact with people… he will continue to be an inspiration...
Christiane Paul
February 1, 2014
Dear Kathy,
in life and in leaving it, your trickster-soulmate-husband showed so much courage, wit and wisdom. He left us all an enduring legacy of work as love in the seamless mixing of the two of you. And that continues.
all my love to you and his family.
Anney Bonney
February 1, 2014
Dear Kathy, in life and in leaving it, your gracious, trickster/soul mate/husband showed so much courage, wit and wisdom. He left us a legacy of work as love in the seamless mixing of the two of you. And that goes on––
to be celebrated and remembered with more love.
Anney Bonney
February 1, 2014
From left to right: Robert, Phyllis Hecht, Randall Packer, Mark Tribe, Kathy Brew at Eyebeam in NYC.
Roberto was a free spirit. He managed to take on projects that were important to him personally, socially, and artistically, in order to bring them to the world for all of us to share. That is a rare talent, and a rare belief system. One of the last times I saw Roberto is when we were are all standing in front of a fun house video-mirror at Eyebeam, a very fun moment. Roberto will be sorely missed!
Randall Packer
February 1, 2014
Roberto became my teacher in the 2 visits I made to hiM in the hospital. Before that, when we had talked about religion at gatherings but in the hospital HE WAS WAS WAS RELIGION or whatever that means. His look, his voice, his words, his messages, his prophecies, his truth, his knowledge of how to be there without the mask of hiding-dying...... I am still with him,LEARNING.
February 1, 2014
Roberto tu espíritu de niño pícaro y tu sabiduría milenaria siempre me harán sonreír cuando piense en ti. Buen viaje en tu camino bello te recordamos y te amamos . Vuela bien alto!
Monika Bravo
February 1, 2014
Kathy, I am fortunate to have met Roberto. His goodness and dedication to love created a bright light for others around him to bathe in. The both of you together as a couple taught how to love and take care of one another. May he journey home quickly with a peaceful, full and content heart.
Mary Krensavage
February 1, 2014
Roberto was the love of my life. I was so blessed to share life, love creativity, and fun with him over the 17 years we were together.
In his final days, Roberto said many amazing things, as he did throughout his entire life.
I wanted to share this with all:

"I'm in good hands.I need to celebrate that I am going to break into cellular pieces."

A perfect combination of a scientific, spiritual and artistic perspective. That is Roberto.
So we join in celebrating this amazing man. His spirit lives on in all of us whose lives he touched.
January 25, 2014
December 2007, at a family wedding.
Roberto is very missed by his family in Peru and will be remembered with great love. Thanks for so many warm, happy memories.
Cristina Guerra Giraldez
January 24, 2014
Roberto was a wonderful human being, and I remember him as especially witty, as if he'd been walking through life with great lightness and sense of fun. Love emanating from Kathy and Roberto was contagious!
Luca Muscarà
January 23, 2014
Roberto was my only brother, and I can think of no closer, longer-standing friendship. Towards the end of his life he was so happy for his many friends and visitors, so full of love, that I need to thank everyone he ever met. Do pray for us all.
Humberto Guerra
January 21, 2014
Remembering your kind, gentle spirit Roberto. And glad you & Kathy found each other....
Carter Hodgkin
January 17, 2014
Dear Kathy:
Loving thoughts to you and Roberto's family. Sad as I am, I'll always catch that infectious smile and wonderful spirit just thinking about him.
Debby Silverfine
January 17, 2014
To the friends and family of Roberto Guerra, it is evident that Roberto had both an impact on the world and the people around him. I pray the God of all comfort will be with you during this time.
Rae M.
January 16, 2014
Thinking of you Kathy and so incredibly sorry for your loss.
Kate Harding
January 16, 2014
Dearest Kathy,
I was so saddened to learn about Roberto's death. I am sending you my warmest and most loving thoughts during this very difficult time. Love, Lisa
Lisa Frigand
January 15, 2014
Dear Kathy,
You and Roberto are both inspirations to us all, one in this life and the other beyond.
Lillian Ball
January 15, 2014
I will mis you my dear friend... in my heart you will forever have a special place... with love. Hope you are happy wherever you are shining down your light on the ones you love...
veronica bols
January 15, 2014
I will mis you my dear friend... in my heart you will forever have a special place... with love. Hope you are happy wherever you are shining down your light on the ones you love...
veronica bols
January 15, 2014
The day that I felt free for the first time was the day that I found a treu friend. I will never forget how you helped me trough hard times and saved me from worse when I got sick. I feel ashamed not to be in the power to get to you when you needed help the most but I am happy to know that your wonderfull friend/wife was there at your side... Rest in peace my dear friend, you will have a special place forever in my heart...
veronica bols
January 15, 2014
May our Good Shepherd guide and keep you and Roberto always, Kathy. We were so blessed to know you for our short while together!
Sally & Steve Buxton
January 15, 2014
My condolences to the family and friends as you mourn your loss. May you draw close to the hearer of prayer during this difficult time. Psalm 65:2
M. Joseph
January 15, 2014
Dear, dear Roberto, creator extraordinarily! I will miss you.
Barbara Hammer
January 14, 2014
Your spirit and warm smile will always grace our lives.
We love you Kathy
Ellen Yaroshefsky
January 14, 2014
Saun Ellis and Pancho Drohojowski Roberto's light will shine forever in our hearts!
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