Director's comments

When I set out to make The Fire Within in 1999, the concept behind the piece was life in the face of death. What does that razors edge look like and how does that transform ones perception of the world?

When Bob was diagnosed with what was then ARC in 1983 he was presented with the sharpest, most profound edge of being in the human experience: life in the face of death.

So with HIV/AIDS as the backdrop, The Fire Within, has always been more then a documentary about surviving HIV/AIDS, it is a documentary about thriving regardless of your circumstances.

Throughout our lives we are all faced with challenges and edges; it is how we perceive those challenges that creates our reality and the vitality with which we participate in our everyday experience. The miracle of our life is truly in our perception of it.

To choose life – among all the vicissitudes of the everyday – to really live it and perceive it with as much clarity as possible – it is about mental hygiene as much as anything else. How clearly can I perceive the challenges and circumstances of my life story and within that framework how vibrantly can I live? Can I thrive? Can my heart remain open? Can I get up and face whatever arises this day, both pleasure and pain, with equanimity?

Shortly after I met Bob I realized he was the perfect person to carry this message because it is truly the way that he lives his life.

Leanne Whitney
Director, The Fire Within

DOC TALK INTERVIEWS DIRECTOR LEANNE WHITNEY