Robert Bilheimer, President of Worldwide Documentaries, Inc., is a director, writer, and producer with an international background in film, theatre, journalism, and creative writing. His interests as a filmmaker range from the plays of Samuel Beckett to the vast complexity of the global AIDS epidemic, focusing on subjects of cultural, social, and humanitarian interest. In 1989, he received his profession’s highest honor–an Academy Award nomination–for Cry of Reason, a feature–length documentary that tells the story of South African anti–apartheid leader Beyers Naude.
He is currently producing, writing, and directing the Worldwide Documentaries’ production, Not My Life, a feature–length documentary film that comprehensively depicts the global affliction of modern–day slavery and human trafficking. Not My Life follows the release, in 2003, of A Closer Walk, the acclaimed documentary about global AIDS also produced and directed by Bilheimer.
Throughout his career, Robert’s films have attracted an international audience. They have been seen on television in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Europe, Scandinavia, South Africa and China. His films have also been shown in theaters in the United States and abroad; and exhibited at film festivals around the world including the Festival of Festivals in Toronto, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Durban International Film Festival, the XXXVth India International Film Festival, and the Montreal World Film Festival.
Robert was born in New York City and was educated at the International School in Geneva, Switzerland; Hamilton College (BA, Honors, English Literature); and Indiana University Graduate School (MA, Theatre and Film). He received the Army Commendation Medal for his work as Chaplain’s Assistant in the US Army Special Services, 1968–1970. From 1986 to 1988 he was a Resident Scholar at the Anson Phelps–Stokes Institute for Black American and Native American Studies in New York City.
Early in his career, Robert worked as a freelance journalist. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, he was a stringer for Time magazine and filed regularly for the Nairobi Daily Nation, and Agence France Presse. Robert has also written theatre and opera criticism and as a college student won the American Academy of Poets Award for his trilogy of poems, “Going Into The Desert.”
Robert’s experience in theater includes the direction of more than 30 professional regional productions in the US and Canada, including four seasons at The Rochester (NY) Shakespeare Theatre where Robert was Founder and Artistic Director, and a landmark interracial production of Brecht’s “Mother Courage” at the Kenya National Theatre. At the Manitoba Theatre Centre, he was Tony Award winner Len Cariou’s Associate Artistic Director, and was named Director of the Year by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for his direction of Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame” and Arthur Miller’s “The Price”.