Film Community Mourns Passing of Lynn Auerbach
by Eugene Hernandez
Shock and sadness hit many in the independent film community last week as the Sundance Film Festival came to a close with the news of the death of longtime Sundance Institute staffer Lynn Auerbach. For fifteen years, Auerbach served as the associate director of the Institute’s Feature Film Program.
“It is with deep sadness that we at Sundance grieve the loss of our colleague Lynn Auerbach,” Sundance Institute’s Michelle Satter, director of the Feature Film Program, told indieWIRE late last week, “She was intimately involved in all aspects of the program from identifying and championing new indie voices to working closely with selected filmmakers to plan their experience at the Screenwriters and Filmmakers Labs.” Continuing Satter added, “She also worked with lab filmmakers year-round to help them find the resources needed to move forward which included producing the LA-based Screenplay Reading Series of Works in Progress.”
Filmmakers Chris Eyre, Miguel Arteta, Sherman Alexie, Tamara Jenkins, Rodrigo Garcia, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Darren Aronofsky, Peter Sollett, and John Cameron Mitchell are among those who have been supported by the program over the years.
“Lynn devoted her life to helping filmmakers and was so loved and adored by her ‘kids’ as she called them, that I am sure that she’ll be missed by her colleagues at Sundance as well as the film community,” Strand Releasing co-president Marcus Hu told indieWIRE last week, adding that he was devastated by the news.
“For several years now I have come to know Lynn through her efforts to make me a better storyteller and filmmaker,” said director Pablo Miralles, an emerging filmmaker whom Lynn had been guiding, “Always supportive and available, she was a voice of both reason and hope when there didn’t appear to be either. If I ever move beyond the would of aspiring filmmaker to working filmmaker it will be because Lynn never gave up on believing in me or my talents. I will miss our conversations. I will miss her insight. I will miss Lynn.”
“Lynn, by nature of her role at the lab, was writer/director focused,” producer Diana Williams told indieWIRE, “But she was incredibly supportive of producers. Anytime that someone would use ‘filmmaker’ as a separate term from ‘producer’, she was quick to correct the terminology.” Continuing, Williams added, “It always struck me that she was a fighter. She fought for filmmakers to be able to realize their vision for their projects, to go beyond perceived boundaries. She gave us that push, that glimmer of hope, that at times we all need when we aren’t able to see past the many obstacles that can overwhelm a project and keep it from blossoming. I am going to deeply miss her encouraging emails and phone calls.”
Prior to joining Sundance, Auerbach also worked at HBO and Embassy Films. She is survived by her mother, Joyce DeLuca, her stepfather, Charles DeLuca, sister, Laura Flint, nephew Andrew Flint, and niece Sydney Flint.
“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,” concluded Sundance’s Satter, “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.”