Seth Winston, Oscar Winner for ‘Session Man,’ Dead at 64

Winston won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 1991 and was a long-time senior lecturer with AFI Conservatory Studies

Seth Winston, Oscar winner and long-time senior lecturer with AFI Conservatory Studies, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack last Friday. He was 64.

In 1991, Winston received an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short for writing and directing Showtime’s “Session Man.” He also taught at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA Extension, and was a lecturer at Columbia College Hollywood.

Born in Philadelphia, Winston spent most of his life in California and attended the University of California at Berkeley. He then transferred to the USC School of Cinema, receiving a BA in Cinema Production.

He wrote and directed two films at USC, “Allegory” and “An Evening With the Gods,” which were seen by CBS Executives, who then hired Winston to write a TV comedy pilot based on the film.

After being accepted to the Motion Picture Academy’s prestigious Director Internship Program at AFI, Winston was personally selected by Steven Spielberg to intern on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

Other film credits include “She’s Out of Control,” “Game Day,” “Get You Back” and “The Common Cold.” He was in development to write and direct “Steel” for Maxim Films in Australia.

“Seth Winston has been a faculty member and a friend of AFI’s for over 15 years and through that time he has greatly impacted so many filmmakers,” Jan Schuette, Dean, AFI Conservatory, American Film Institute said in a statement to TheWrap. “The community here deeply feels his absence, but know that Seth worked for all of us, AFI and the filmmakers, to always be better. He was a beloved member of the faculty and will be missed by all.”

Winston is survived by his children, Alexandra and Dashiell, their mother, Susan, and a brother, Clive.

He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Writers Guild.

The family has created “The Seth Winston Scholarship Fund at AFI” to celebrate his creative legacy and commitment to educating young artists and future generations of filmmakers.