About Bima 1945 – 2021
Bima Stagg was an American writer, filmmaker, reader, thinker, builder and creative polymath. At home in the US, Europe and Africa, by any measure, his life was filled with remarkable experiences and people of every background and viewpoint.
With quantum levels of intelligence, charm and a futuristic outlook, he believed in justice, a key theme that informed his life and work. He existed and created at the vanguard of the cultural and social movements of his time.
Attending Columbia University in New York led to a meeting with Andy Warhol in 1964. Inspired by Kip and his matinee idol intensity, Andy and Kip (as Bima was known then) collaborated on 4 films together, including the controversial, only once screened Beauty with Edie Sedgwick. More than a muse, Kip worked behind the scenes using his contacts and experience in film to expedite the lab processing of Warhol's films. Kip and Andy struck up a friendship and he became an fixture at The Factory on and off for the next several years.
With hands as eloquent as words, when not writing he loved to make real his ideas in material form. This combination of the intellectual and the physical lead to a wide range of careers and pursuits, from: graphic artist, audiophile, fashion designer, geodesic architect, magazine editor, instrument builder, pub designer, law book editor, and inventor of Quantum Chess.
Moving to the UK in 1970 to join a Sufi commune, Kip became Bima. As handy with a socket wrench as a typewriter, he worked as a mechanic for Landrover disassembling engines. This later came in handy when he had to reassemble a boat engine halfway between Brazil and South Africa, during a hurricane, with spare parts he fashioned by hand, using only a Swiss Army knife… saving 7 lives, including his own.
In his newly adopted homeland of South Africa he wrote and co-starred in his first feature, 1976's Death of a Snowman, also known as Soul Patrol. A film that has secured cult status appearing on every definitive Blaxploitation films list. In the ’80’s, he threw himself into the countries liberation struggle personally and professionally, with the theme of justice central to a ‘trilogy’ of South African films, tackling the issue in his own never-let's-up, action-driven style. In 1997, Director Arthur Penn's last feature, political thriller, INSIDE won Bima the PEN Award for teleplay, and at Cannes 2008 was judged top ten films ever screened during the Directors Fortnight. His last film Stander, based on the true tale of conflicted South African cop/bank robber Andre Stander, is a white knuckled moral rampage through peak '70's Apartheid, disguised as a bank robber movie. Beloved in South Africa (and growing base of fans worldwide) this film is also on it's way to cult status.
Bima's lifelong love and study of science, history, philosophy, literature, art, music, spirituality, made him a fascinating raconteur that kept rooms of people rapt. An incisive intellect he was supremely confident, yet also profoundly humble. Above all Bima loved and believed in humanity. A week before he passed, attending a dinner surrounded by loving friends old and new, he was in his element, opening hearts and blowing minds.
A striving, influential, creative, brilliant mind and sweet generous soul to so many. He will be lovingly remembered and greatly missed by his family and friends in the US and around the world. He is survived by his son Jesse, sister Jarryl and his many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Bima leaves behind a rich archive of unpublished work. Information on future publication will be posted here. Nothing would make him happier.
Details on memorial plans in 2022 to follow.
Thank you for all the love and support.