Gary Winick, the New York filmmaker who pioneered in the digital indie feature format and who also directed traditional Hollywood studio movies, died on Sunday. He succumbed to pneumonia after a long battle with brain cancer.
Winick was a fixture of the New York indie scene in the past decade and a half. He was a co-founder of InDigEnt, a production company that produced digital features (19 to date). When we encountered him as an instructor at NYU film school in the late nineties, shortly before InDigEnt was founded, the idea that feature films could be shot on digital video was something many didn’t take seriously.
Winick’s proposal to students that digital was where it was headed was met with skepticism by many students working with 16mm celluloid. But over the next decade, Winick was proven right. He produced and directed some of the New York indie scene’s most important early digital features, including “Tadpole,” “The Tic Code,” “Personal Velocity” and “Chelsea Walls.”
Winick would go on to direct conventional Hollywood films like the live action remake of “Charlotte’s Web” and “13 Going on 30.” But he was a regular at Sundance, and a fixture of New York’s indie filmmaking community, who is currently mourning his loss with great surprise.
After having his first brain surgery, Winick went on to direct “Letters to Juliet” before the cancer spread through his body. He was only 49 when he died.