There was plenty of reason to celebrate last night as a handful of films took handfuls of Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony, but unfortunately there was a bit of tragedy to report on as well. Cinetic's Matt Dentler tweeted yesterday that filmmaker Gary Winick passed away just short of his 50th birthday.
Winick isn't a household name to the masses, but insiders, indie nuts and film buffs are well aware of his groundbreaking work in the field of digital production. He was a hallmark of NYC independent film in the 90s and early 2000s, having directed small films like The Tic Code and Tadpole. He eventually moved onto bigger productions, usually in the rom-com genre. He had movies like 13 Going On 30, Charlotte's Web, Bride Wars and Letters To Juliet on his resume and as producer and co-founder of InDigEnt, short for Independent Digital Entertainment, Winick helped start a movement of filmmakers making pictures for under $100,000 using then-burgeoning digital video technology. You can thank him for Peter Hedges' Pieces of April, Richard Linklater's Tape and Ethan Hawke's Chelsea Walls.
The cause of Winick's death is currently unknown, but his influence in the world of contemporary film is quite clear. He will be missed by his friends and fans.