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Freedom Dance The Movie : Freedom Dance The Movie : Production Weblog: In Memory of Edward Hilbert.
Liberty Pictures presents Freedom Dance - An Animated/Live-Action Documentary by Steven Fischer and Craig Herron Based on the Extraordinary Sketchbook of Edward Hilbert

In Memory of Edward Hilbert.

Posted on Tuesday August 22, 2006 by Steven Fischer

Edward died today.

He had been in hospital, gee, since May I guess. Though I would visit him at least once a week and keep a journal about our time together, I never published any of it on this weblog in respect for the Hilberts’ privacy.

I am worried about Judy. She’s had so much family illness to deal with this year. It’s been a stress on her from all directions. I’ve only talked with Rose and Michelle, Ed and Judy’s daughters, today. Will stop by the house tomorrow to see Judy.

Hard to know what to feel right now. It’s 11:47 pm. Just finishing for today. This afternoon and evening’s been spent sending out the news to the crew, preparing the press release (which, thanks to the ever-willing-to-go-the-extra-mile John Bintz, is up on this web site).

Collecting press contacts to send this release to tomorrow. Need to send an announcemnt to the email list. Quotes from Bryan Dawson, Craig. Still need to get SAG contract mailed. Flowers for tomorrow. Collecting reviews and a collection of these weblogs for the family (Edward kept a Freedom Dance scrapbook which he shared with me a few times). Some other things I’m not thinking of at the moment.

I can still see him in that hospital bed. Even in his weakened physical condition his eyes still sparkled with life. Even though his voice faded to a whisper he still spoke of dreams, plans, cartoons to draw, ideas he’d think of to wrangle some money for the movie…. Just last week he spread his hands out in front of himself and remarked without worry about his condition, “this is only temporary.”

And once when I wheeled him into a communal area and played for him a new Freedom Dance tune on a piano he immediately had ideas for instrumentation, tempo … his mind never stopped working in the creative.

He had every intension of walking out of there and carrying on with life. He was so frustrated because his mind and spirit were so sharp and active, but his body wasn’t keeping up.

On Sunday I asked John if he could bring his lap top and we’d show Edward the 30-minute rough cut of Freedom Dance. I’m so glad we did. Edward was able to see the finished movie (rough though it may be at the moment). It made him very happy. I studied his face as he watched, his smile would beam, he studied the movie thoughtfully. At one point he looked to me, “This is great!” he said in horse voice. Watching him watch the movie in its entirety for the first time was a treat. It’s joyful to see someone genuinely enjoy themselves.

Rose and Michelle suggested that he was holding out just to see the finished piece. Michelle even said that after John and I left and she arrived, Edward was so excited he started drawing again in a little sketch pad.

I will never forget him, the lessons I learned from his example, the friendship he easily offered, the espressos we shared around his little kitchen table (and that thick Hungarian accent, “How about some espresso, eh?”).

I knew him only two years, yet I have what feels like a lifetime of memories. (Maybe I’ve been spending too much time as his biographer and am confusing his life story with my own memories? Ha!) How can I ever forget him? His influence lives on in Freedom Dance. His memory lives on in my heart.


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