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Film Festival Today

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In Memoriam Rob Goald (1948-2022)

Written by: FFT Webmaster | September 25th, 2022

Rob Goald, FFT Senior Editor (1948-2022)

Film Festival Today’s beloved Senior Editor Rob Goald has passed away. I met Bobby about 22 years ago in Park City, Utah, during the Sundance Film Festival. His excitement to write for our magazine, back when we were in print, and introducing me to writers who wanted to contribute, was invaluable. Rob inspired me to put out the best publication possible. Over the past year, Rob, who lived in Las Vegas, would call me in New York asking me to contact 911 because he had fallen and couldn’t get up. We did this about 15 times because Bobby didn’t want to go into Assistant Care. He preferred to stay home while he was suffering from Parkinson’s.

Bobby loved the buffets in Vegas. He used to tell me how he would bring a briefcase to the Vegas buffets and fill up his briefcase with food so it would last him for the week. He used to say “JT, I got salmon, prime ribs, seafood, etc.” Rob lived to eat, and the buffets were paradise to him. I used to call him the Buffet Bandito. One time, when we were at the HBO/Sundance Party in Park City, Rob sent me a frantic text from the bathroom, where he was in a stall, stuffing his gift bag with HBO’s food buffet and someone with a walkie-talkie walked in. Bobby thought it was the police coming for him for swiping HBO’s food, but it was just a maintenance worker. Bobby was a character. He will be sorely missed.

–  Jeremy Taylor, FFT Founder

Rob Goald’s 1970 college yearbook photo

Scholar; scribe; activist; professor; film, music (especially rock & progressive), and culinary enthusiast; gambler; eccentric; a devoted friend: these are just a few descriptive words that ultimately fail to fully describe Robert S. Goald who, after suffering the devastating effects of Parkinson’s for many years, peacefully passed away on September 8, 2022.

I first met Rob 56 years ago in Biology lab (I can actually remember the instant we met) in the opening weeks of UMBC’s (University of Maryland Baltimore County) inaugural year in 1966. Rob became a campus anti-war activist during the turbulent ‘60s. He was responsible for booking musical artists as well as controversial speakers. At the time, when anti-Vietnam War demonstrations were at a fever pitch on campuses across the country, he booked counterculture icons and YIP (Youth International Party) co-founders Jerry Rubin & Abbie Hoffman to speak and perform at UMBC. One of my all-time favorite Rob anecdotes: he loved to relate how when he put Jerry up at his parents’ house when he came to Baltimore, Rob’s mom yelled at Jerry when he didn’t take off his shoes when he came through the front door.

I’ll never forget when he came by in June 1969, to ask me if I wanted to go to upstate New York with him where they were having some three-day music festival. I declined. I’ve regretted not attending Woodstock ever since!! His film footage, taken on a Super-8 camera, ended up being part of a documentary shown years later on a Maryland Public Broadcasting channel.

The Sundance Film Festival became a yearly pilgrimage for Rob, where for over 30 years he reviewed nearly every festival there until COVID hit. Our mutual interest in cinema (Rob was a voting member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences) led to his constant urging for me to attend the festival, which I finally did in 1999 and then again from 2002-2007. After I started my own movie review/film commentary blog in 2008, Rob asked me to cover film festivals for Film Festival Today in the Baltimore-Washington area (AFI DOCS, previously known as Silverdocs, and the DC-based Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival) as a free-lance contributor.

We both have taken many journeys over the years; however, even though he eventually relocated to Las Vegas, we maintained a continuous long-distance contact. I feel blessed that I was able to visit last March. We spent a full day together reminiscing about our shared experiences, which we never had done before. It was a true trip down memory lane. The visit ended fittingly by having dinner at a newly opened 5-star steakhouse restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip where Rob thoroughly enjoyed his favorite pastime: a scrumptious meal!

Rest in peace, my friend. You will never be forgotten.  

– Jay Berg, FFT contributor

I first met Rob Goald as a professor. His film-theory class was known for its top-notch watch list, all carefully curated by a man who had a clear taste for the finer things. He played a large role in fostering my love for filmmakers like Werner Herzog, Wong Kar-wai, Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, and Alexander Sokurov. He loved to challenge and provoke his students, but he had a rare ability to get along with others from all different backgrounds and beliefs; he simply cherished the conversation. He was not afraid to be hard on those he believed in, but he was also incredibly generous, whether it be by giving his students screenplays, books, magazines, or festival merchandise he had acquired or by asking his students to write for this publication, which is how I first was able to write for Film Festival Today.

Working as his teaching assistant later on allowed me to get to know him even better. I grew to deeply admire his will to teach despite his daily health struggles. He continued to fiercely consume films, news, and sports for as long as I knew him, and he continued to be as sharp, funny, and young-hearted as ever. I am so thankful to have known him.

– Hannah Tran, FFT contributor

I met Rob Goald in 2011 while attending my first-ever University Film and Video Association (UFVA) conference. He was a gregarious man, and despite the Parkinson’s disease symptoms that were already evident, he sure knew how to get around. It was clear that he loved company and loved to talk. I loved discussing films with a man who had such a sharp mind. When he found out that I was a college professor in Maryland, where he had gone to school and lived for many years, he opened up even more.

Flash forward five years to the 2016 UFVA conference in his by-then-home-city of Las Vegas. We had continued to meet every year since 2011, but now he expressed especial interest in the fact that I had become a film critic, writing for Hammer to Nail, a website devoted to coverage of indie cinema. I told him I enjoyed the writing but was looking for an additional site where I could cover mainstream movies, too. All this time and I had never known of his connection to Film Festival Today! It was an ignorance of which he soon cured me, inviting me to become a contributor.

Flash forward another 3 years, and it was clear that Rob’s health was beginning to fail. Given my prolific writing and day job as an educator, he suggested I take over the editing duties that had long been his. I agreed, but with a great deal of sadness, worried about Rob’s future. One of my great regrets is never finding the time to go out and visit Rob in the past few years, as did Jeremy and Jay (see above). Still, we had many long phone conversations before COVID hit, and I miss those, and him, a lot. The world is a poorer place without him.

– Christopher Llewellyn Reed, FFT Managing Editor


The FFT Webmaster use displays whenever an article has multiple authors. It also pops up on articles from old versions of Film Festival Today. The original author byline might be missing! In that case, if you are the author of such an article and see this bio instead of your own, please send us an email. Some of our contributors that might be missing bylines are: Brad Balfour, Laura Blum, and Sandy Mandelberger, among others.

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