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Lynne Sachs
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filmmaker photo
Photograph by Nir Zats, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Since the 1980s, Lynne Sachs has created cinematic works that defy genre through the use of hybrid forms and cross-disciplinary collaboration, incorporating elements of the essay film, collage, performance, documentary and poetry. Her highly self-reflexive films explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences. With each project, Lynne investigates the implicit connection between the body, the camera, and the materiality of film itself.

Lynne discovered her love of filmmaking while living and studying in San Francisco where she worked closely with artists Craig Baldwin, Bruce Conner, Barbara Hammer, Gunvor Nelson, and Trihn T. Min-ha. During this time, she produced her early, experimental works on celluloid which took a feminist approach to the creation of images and writing–a commitment which has grounded her body of work ever since. 

From essay films to hybrid docs to diaristic shorts, Sachs has produced 40 films as well as numerous projects for web, installation, and performance. She has tackled topics near and far, often addressing the challenge of translation–from one language to another or from spoken work to image. These tensions were investigated most explicitly between 1994 and 2006, when Lynne produced five essay films that took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany–sites affected by international war–where she looked at the space between a community's collective memory and her own subjective perceptions.

Much of Lynne’s recent work embraces a hybrid form combining the non-fiction, experimental and fiction modes, as seen in her films Your Day is My Night (2013) and The Washing Society (2018), films that weave together live performances with documentary.

Over her career, Sachs has been awarded support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation. Her films have screened at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, Wexner Center for the Arts, the Walker and the Getty, and at festivals including New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, Punto de Vista, DocAviv, and DocLisboa. Retrospectives of her work have been presented at the Museum of the Moving Image, Sheffield Doc/Fest (UK), Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, Festival International Nuevo Cine de Havana, China Women's Film Festival, Cinema Parallels (Bosnia), Camára Lucída Film Festival (Ecuador), and the Centro de Ciné Costa Rica.

Lynne's film A Month of Single Frames won the Grand Prize at Oberhausen Festival of Short Films in 2020. In 2020, Lynne had her sixth NYC premiere at the Museum of Modern Art's Documentary Fortnight with her feature Film About a Father Who which was then released theatrically this year, finding its way to nine Best of 2021 film critics’ lists. In 2021, the Edison Film Festival and the Prismatic Ground Film Festival at the Maysles Documentary Center awarded Lynne for her entire body of work in the experimental and documentary fields. In Spring 2022, the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California will give Lynne their annual Les Blank Award in Documentary Film.

Lynne Sachs's films are distributed by Canyon Cinema, Cinema Guild, Filmmakers’ Cooperative, and Icarus Films. Her work is represented internationally by Kino Rebelde. In tandem with making films, Lynne is also deeply engaged with poetry.  In 2019, Tender Buttons Press published Lynne's first book Year by Year Poems

Lynne lives in Brooklyn with her husband, filmmaker Mark Street. Together, they have two daughters, Maya and Noa Street-Sachs.

Icarus Films is proud to distribute 5 of Lynne Sachs' films:

  • Investigation of a Flame - An intimate look at the Catonsville Nine who on May 17, 1968 walked into a Catonsville, Maryland draft board office, grabbed hundreds of selective service records and incinerated them with homemade napalm.
  • The Last Happy Day - A portrait of a doctor who saw the worst of society and ran.

  • Sermons and Sacred Pictures - Profiles Reverend L.O. Taylor, a Baptist minister and inspired photographer/filmmaker who documented the fabric of black American life prior to the civil rights movement.

  • States of Unbelonging - The core of this haunting meditation on war, land, the Bible, and filmmaking is a portrait of Revital Ohayon, an Israeli filmmaker and mother killed near the West Bank.

  • Which Way Is East - When two American sisters travel north from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, conversations with Vietnamese strangers and friends reveal to them the flip side of a shared history.

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