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by Indiewire
February 2, 2004 2:00 AM
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Film Community Mourns Passing of Lynn Auerbach

Film Community Mourns Passing of Lynn Auerbach

by Eugene Hernandez




Sundance Institute's Lynn Auerbach, who passed away last week. Image provided by Sundance Institute.


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."

3 Comments

  • Bettina Moss | February 24, 2014 6:37 PMReply

    Odd how through the years the memories of those who have showed kindness reassert themselves. The posting below from Deborah is a testament to how kindness without expectation of repayment is remembered greatly. I too had a wonderful interaction with Lynn when my screenplay was 'almost' chose for the Sundance writer's workshop back in the early 2000's. Lynn called me personally to say that it was one of the hardest choices they made that year to NOT include my script. Her extreme kindness if giving me such a positive rejection has carried down through the years and gives me inspiration as I continue to write. What a special person she was and I hope she lives on in the memories of all those who were touched by her kindness and goodwill.

  • Deborah | December 17, 2011 6:39 PMReply

    Sorry for inelegance of the post. My intention was to conclude with what has become the penultimate sentence. Can't figure out how to edit.

  • Deborah | December 17, 2011 6:34 PMReply

    In the course of hunting for an address today I dug up a filofax (!) and was thrilled to come across Lynn's information-- I remember her so vividly but had lost the name.

    I am so shocked and saddened to discover that she passed away these many years ago. She was my neighbor when I arrived in First Stop in the late 1990s. My partner at the time travelled a great deal and was away for a month when I became ill. At the time I had no insurance and no friends in the area. I roused myself to phone Lynn after several days in bed, sleeping most of the time, sick at the thought of eating or drinking, and increasingly indifferent to what might happen. She brought me medicine and broth and I literally dragged myself along the floor to answer the door. I don't know what I had (actually I think it was food poisoning but I don't know). I seriously think I might have died without her help.

    And I had only just met her through our terriers-- mine a smooth fox and hers a bedlington, who sadly died shortly thereafter. I remember and understood what a blow that was to her, as losing my dog was to me some years later.

    I just want to make a note of Lynn's personal kindness and impact on my life, apart from the impact she clearly had on her chosen community in independent film and at Sundance, should this reach those who knew her better and mourn her still.





    Sadly, she lost her pup and I understood the depth of her grief.