Gary Winick, the director of “Letters to Juliet,” “Bride Wars” and other films, died on Sunday after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 49.
Winick was also the founder of the small independent film company InDigEnt, which produced “Pieces of April” and “Personal Velocity,” among others — and, more imprtantly, helped usher in the digital era of indie film. Winick launched InDigEnt with IFC Films and Cinetic's John Sloss in 1999.
He directed “Charlotte’s Web” and “13 Going On 30,” too, but was probably best known for pushing the boundaries of low-budget digital filmmaking with InDigEnt.
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Winick was of course a filmmaker first, leaving behind a dozen films that grew from small-scale indie dramas to crowdpleasers such as "Charlotte's Web" and "Letters to Juliet" that charmed audiences by the millions. Yet his most enduring legacy is likely the one he left on a smaller community, the thousands of filmmakers who have and will continue to benefit from his work as a digital pioneer at the turn of the century as the founder of InDigEnt, the collective he created with Cinetic's John Sloss and IFC Films to make films for under $100,000 on digital video.
“You have to be more disciplined because you have more freedom,” Winick told Indiewire in 2002. “If I went in there and said, ‘Well, I’ll just wing it, it is DV, it doesn’t really matter. We can just walk in this location, they don’t care. And the actors can do it 100 different ways because it’s DV so they don’t have to work on the script.’ Bullshit. That’s why I go after experienced filmmakers. Because of that discipline.
He produced 19 films between 2001 to 2007, including Richard Linklater's "Tape,” which starred Ethan Hawke, and Steve Buscemi's underrated "Lonesome Jim.”