A Kickstarter campaign hopes to raise funds to complete a documentary about Whitfield's health battle

By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated June 22, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

When Andy Whitfield died last September of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it left Starz’ Spartacus without its original leading man — and legions of fans without a sense of closure. Now the people behind an upcoming documentary about Whitfield’s health battle, Be Here Now, are asking fans to help them honor the Spartacus star. Filmmakers, who began following the actor shortly after his 2010 diagnosis, recently took to the crowd-funding website Kickstarter to raise the $200,000 they need to finish the project. Incentives include everything from DVD box sets for $250 donations to Whitfield’s wallet for $10,000. (Starz has made a contribution to the documentary and has also expressed interest in airing it.) ”We knew his fans loved him, so we thought, ‘I wonder if they would really want to get involved if we invited them [through Kickstarter],”’ explains Be Here Now‘s director Lilibet Foster. Her film isn’t the first to turn to the four-year-old site for backing. In fact, a Kickstarter rep tells EW that 10 percent of the films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival were funded through the service. As of press time, Be Here Now had raised nearly two-thirds of its target — more than a month before its deadline. But Foster says it’s not the monetary outpouring that has moved her most. ”Daily I get teared up from some of the emails,” she says. ”Andy wanted this film to get made, and he wanted to inspire people, so it touches me when they write to say that they’ve been inspired. And we haven’t even finished the movie yet.”