If you’ve seen the Oscar-winning documentary ‘Free Solo‘ then you’re probably not shocked to learn someone involved in the documentary has died. Even the cameramen were thrill seekers.
But sadly, Andrew Berends’ death had nothing to do with climbing. The cameraman/documentary filmmaker, responsible for films like Delta Boys and Madina’s Dream, was reportedly suffering from Parkinson’s disease and took his own life.
That report has not been confirmed by the media, but according to multiple comments on social media, it appears to be factual.
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, co-director of ‘Free Solo’ worked with Berends a lot throughout the years. She posted a heartfelt tribute to him on her Instagram account…
We have lost a wonderful friend and an important filmmaker. You touched so many lives. I know the pain you felt was profound, real and relentless. I know you suffered. I can only hope you have finally found some peace and justice as you so deserve it. I’m sorry it was this way. Our community lost an amazing person. I will always love and remember you Andy.
Check out her full comments below. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.
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We have lost a wonderful friend and an important filmmaker – Andrew Berends. I first met Andy in 2006 when I saw his film Blood of my Brother. I was taken by his poignant and human images and asked our mutual friend Gwyn Welles to introduce us. We found that we had a lot in common including our passion for Africa. Andy and I went on to make 2 films together, Incorruptible and Little Troopers. We also collaborated on many other projects. We traveled throughout West Africa, Europe, Kosovo, the US and most recently he filmed with jimmy and my team on Free Solo. Andy’s intelligence, sensitivity, bravery, loyalty, strength, perfectionism and fierce sense of justice made him an excellent filmmaker and a trusted friend. Andy the images you captured and the stories you told are beautiful and critical and they will live on. Thank you for being my friend and collaborator all these years. I will miss your goofy sense of humor, your infectious hope, your gravely voice, your sensitivity, your great notes giving, your creativity, your biking outfits, your unique morning routines, your fraught but hilarious relationship stories, your unbridled passion, your exacting perfectionism, your love and your friendship. You protected me when things got tough both in and off the field. Your work was so so good. You accepted me and other friends worts and all — yet always demanded that we rise to our best selves. You required the same of yourself and that’s why you were such a good filmmaker and such a complex friend. You touched so many lives. I know the pain you felt was profound, real and relentless. I know you suffered. I can only hope you have finally found some peace and justice as you so deserve it. I’m sorry it was this way. Our community lost an amazing person. I will always love and remember you Andy. I encourage everyone to watch Andy’s remarkable films. Urk (2003) The Blood of My Brother (2005), Delta Boys (2012), Madina’s Dream (2015)