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), http://www.lustgarten.org/ 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.