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REMEMBERING LYNN AUERBACH

Lynn Auerbach, the Sundance Institute’s much-loved Associate Director of the Feature Film Program, passed away shortly after this year’s festival following a brief illness.

For her many friends and colleagues — including the dozens of young fellows and industry mentors who have passed through the Sundance labs since her arrival at the Institute 15 years ago — the news came as a sad shock. Passionate, witty, and clearly in love with her job of discovering new filmmaking talent and helping them develop their projects, Auerbach nurtured her fellows with equal amounts emotional support and keen advice. Just a few of the many directors who developed their works at the labs include Chris Eyre, Miguel Arteta, Sherman Alexie, Tamara Jenkins, Rodrigo Garcia, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Darren Aronofsky, Peter Sollett, and John Cameron Mitchell.

Michelle Satter, Director of the Feature Film Program, stated: “Lynn had an extraordinary ability to create a safe place for emerging filmmakers to do the hard work of going inward, to ask the hard questions about themselves and their work. She was smart, fun, inspired, passionate, deeply committed, and always wise. But, most importantly, her humanity, love of storytelling, and extraordinary efforts to find the most unique voices, is a legacy and guiding force for the Sundance Institute”.

Lynn was also a special friend to us here at Filmmaker. As one of the small group of industry colleagues I’d call and solicit ideas for our annual “25 New Faces” feature, Lynn turned us on to many of the new filmmakers who went on to appear in our pages. And after that feature ran each summer, she’d always call again, eager to learn more about the filmmakers she didn’t recognize so that she could invite them to submit their own scripts to the labs. I always enjoyed my conversations with her, both on the phone and sitting out on the grass at the Sundance Institute during the annual producer’s conference, and will miss her humor and counsel in the years ahead.

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