by Mandy WildmanSadly, Cedar Bennett passed away less than three weeks after the filming of All The World was completed. She had a rare heart condition and she died peacefully at her home. Naturally, this event came as a terrible shock and a great loss to all those who knew and loved Cedar. She had many friends and was particularly close to my film partner and friend Laura Sherman, and to my husband, Wayne Porter. We have many photographs and fond memories of Laura and Cedar ganging up on Wayne in a fruitless attempt to wrestle him to the ground. Cedar was a part of every film, outing, event, and holiday we shared over the three and a half years that we knew her.
Cedar was part of the close-knit group of film makers, writers, actors and artists known affectionately as "The Wild Hearts." Technically speaking, the term 'Wild Heart' means one who uses their craft to uplift and inspire people. Cedar most certainly did.
We first met Cedar when she was 16 years old, and came to an acting class at Wild Heart Studios. I was unsure whether she would fit better in the teen class or the adult class, but one look at her told me that she most definitely belonged with the adults. Mature and talented beyond her years, she was poised, self-possessed, and extremely talented. She quickly became 'one of the gang.'
The Wild Hearts performed numerous stage shows with Cedar, and we made a total of five films with her, three of which I directed, and one I co-directed with Wayne. There was never any question that she would be part of each project as she was such an amazingly accomplished actress, and always utterly prepared and professional. To say that our film projects were enhanced by her participation would be a great understatement, as you will see.
As an acting coach and teacher, it is my job to help aspiring actors and film makers achieve their goals. As a film maker, it is my job to help bring uplifting messages to society. Cedar's goals were to similar - she very much wanted to help inspire young people to achieve their artistic goals. Having just completed shooting a new film that featured Cedar in a challenging, pivotal role, my film partner Laura Sherman and I, and the rest of the investors, cast and crew of All The World feel fortunate to have had an an opportunity to help make those goals a reality.
Over the three and a half years of knowing Cedar we accumulated hours of videotape of her, as well as numerous photographs and of course, many fond memories. She left an amazing legacy of films, beautifully executed drawings, a childrens book, an acclaimed screenplay and other treasures. In order to help preserve and perpetuate that legacy, a non-profit organization has been set up in Cedars name. It is called The Cedar Bennett Project.
Monies raised will be used to help in continuing to unleash Cedars amazing beauty on our society. In that vein, Wild Heart Films, in association with The Cedar Bennett Project, Inc., has created a documentary of Cedars life, called simply "Hi, I'm Cedar." The project was directed by myself and produced by Laura Sherman and myself in association with Wayne Porter, cinematographer Larry Squarini, and with the help of the rest of the Wild Heart gang. We would be depriving society of an opportunity to be inspired had we not made this film, and, as filmmakers, it is the best way we know to pay tribute to Cedar.
Messages to Cedar...
Cedar, you were an absolute joy to work with - a director's dream, as they say. You always knew your lines and arrived on time, well-rested and beautiful. You were a shining example to your friends and fellow actors. All who knew you loved you. My baby son adored you. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having lived the life you did, and for having found your friends, the Wild Hearts. We'll still be here when you get back.
- Mandy Wildman
Cedar, you were one of the original Wild Hearts. Whether writing a screenplay, performing on stage, throwing blades of grass at your friends or just talking, you lived your life as one. We feel privileged to have known and worked with you.
Love, Laura Sherman
You were a very bright star, one that always shined on stage and off. You captured the hearts of many who knew you. And you will always be remembered by all of us Wild Hearts, for you are a beautiful being, and a very talented artist and creator, and, of course, a true Wild Heart. So, Cedar, we dont say goodbye, we only say we look forward creating with you again in your next lifetime.
Love, Richel Lavette
Cedar, you were a most beautiful, talented being, wise beyond your years. It was in your eyes, in your walk, in the way you graced the world with your touch - you always knew that All The World's A Stage. Hurry back for your encore.
Love, Patti Caron
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