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W.Va. filmmaker Robert Gates dies

Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

CHARLESTON -- The West Virginia Film Office has announced that Robert Gates, 69, of Charleston, an independent filmmaker and photographer, died Feb. 2.

Gates was a founding member of the non-profit West Virginia Filmmakers Guild, which was formed in 1978. He served as its president for 25 years and then remained its president emeritus. Gates was key in keeping the guild active through the years and was a voice in supporting its mission of connecting filmmakers and others from around the state who shared the same goals of building a state film industry.

Some of Gates' 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" and "Trip to Kayford Mountain."

Over the years, Gates was recognized by his peers for his accomplishments, including being named the 2012 West Virginia Filmmaker of the Year bestowed by the West Virginia Filmmakers Guild and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the West Virginia International Film Festival.

Gates was also an avid photographer and theater lighting expert. And W.Va. filmmaker Daniel Boyd tapped Gates' expertise as the lighting designer for one of Boyd's early feature films, "Invasion of the Space Preachers."