“Lynne Sachs has always eluded easy labeling…. She focuses on capturing gestures, inches of skin, fragments of conversations, casual moments in time, personal memorabilia, and weaving them into unexpected patterns….. (She) sublimes the personal into the theatrical …. (and) embraces variegated renditions of filmic language, recording the world, digesting it, and offering it to viewers in its performative beauty.”
-How Lynne Sachs Turns Spoken Language into Cinematic Language – A retrospective of the feminist artist and filmmaker demonstrates how she explores communication in her work. Ren Scateni, Hyperallergic (2020).
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 directly 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.
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, Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, Festival International Nuevo Cine in Havana, and China Women’s Film Festival. Her 2019 film “A Month of Single Frames” won the Grand Prize at Oberhausen Festival of Short Films in 2020. In 2021, both the Edison Film Festival and the Prismatic Ground Film Festival at the Maysles Documentary Center awarded Lynne for her body of work in the experimental and documentary fields.
Lynne Sachs’s catalogue is represented in North America by Canyon Cinema and the Filmmaker’s Cooperative with selected features at Cinema Guild and Icarus Films. Her work is distributed 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.
Selected Articles on Lynne Sachs
MUBI Notebooks: “Lynne Sachs: Between Thought and Expression” by Kat Sachs, January 14, 2021.
Cineaste: “Review of Film About a Father Who”, Feb. 2021
Docs in Orbit – Masters Edition: in Conversation with Lynne Sachs, July 2020
Modern Times Review: «A new relationship to language and listening in cinema»: Lynne Sachs on her Sheffield Doc/Fest Retrospective,” Interview with Lauren Wissot June 17, 2020
Ubiquarian: “The Process is the Practice: Prolific and poetic, experimental and documentary filmmaker, Lynne Sachs, lights up this year’s online edition of Sheffield Doc|Fest with a mini-retrospective, annotated lecture and her new feature, Film About a Father Who (2020)” by Tara Judah, June 21, 2020
Hyperallergic: “How Lynne Sachs Turns Spoken Language into Cinematic Language – A long-overdue retrospective of the feminist artist and filmmaker demonstrates how she explores communication in her work.” By Ren Scatani, July 13, 2020.
Lynne Sachs’ Seven Forms of Filmmaking in Fandor.com’s Keyframe
Lynne Sachs interview in Bomb Magazine in 2014
Lynne Sachs interview in Brooklyn Rail in 2013
List of Works by Lynne Sachs
“Drawn and Quartered”, 4 min. color 16mm., 1986
“Still Life With Woman and Four Objects”, 4 min. B&W 16mm., 1986 .
“Following the Object to Its Logical Beginning”, 9 min. 16mm. 1987..
“Sermons and Sacred Pictures” 29 min., 16mm 1989
“The House of Science: a museum of false facts” 30 min., 16mm, 1991
“Which Way Is East: Notebooks from Vietnam” 33 min., 1994
“A Biography of Lilith” 35min., 16mm, 1997
“Window Work” 9 min. video, 2000
“Photograph of Wind” 4 min. 16mm, silent, 2001
“Horror Vacui: Nature Abhors a Vacuum” video installation, 2000
“Investigation of a Flame” 45 min. 16mm, 2001
“Tornado”, 4 min. video 2002
“The House of Drafts”, a video and website, 2002 www.house-of-drafts.org
“Atalanta 32 Years Later” 5 min. video, 2006
“Noa, Noa”, 8 min. 16mm, 2006
“The Small Ones”, 3 min. video 2006
“States of UnBelonging”, 63 min. video 2006
“XY Chromosome Project” 12 min. installation/performance 2007
“Georgic for a Forgotten Planet”, 11 min., video, 2008.“The Last Happy Day” , 37 min. , film, 2009
“Abecedarium: NYC” an interactive website created with the New York Public Library www.abecedariumnyc.com, 2007
“Georgic for a Forgotten Planet”, 11 min., video, 2008
“The Last Happy Day” , 37 min. , film, 2009
“Wind in Our Hair”, 40 min., film, 2010
“Sound of a Shadow”. 10 min. Super 8mm on video, 2011
“Same Stream Twice”, 4 min. 16mm film, 2012
“Your Day is My Night”, 65 min., 2013
“Drift and Bough”, Super 8 mm film, 2014
“Starfish Aorta Colossus”, 5min. 2015
“Tip of My Tongue”, 80min. 2017
“And Then We Marched”, 4 min. 2017
“Carolee, Barbara & Gunvor”, 8 min. 2018
“The Washing Society”, 44 min. 2018
“A Year in Notes and Numbers”, 3 min. 2018
“A Month of Single Frames”, 14 min. 2019
“Film About a Father Who”, 74 min. 2020
“Girl is Presence”, 4 min. 2020
“Visit to Bernadette Mayer’s Childhood Home”, 3 min. 2020
“Orange Glow”, 1 ½ min. 2020
“Maya at 24”, 4 min. 2021
“E•pis•to•lar•y: letter to Jean Vigo”, 5 min. 2021
Grants, Scholarships, & Awards
Ground Glass Award, Prismatic Ground Film Festival, Maysles Documentary Center. 2021.
Edison Innovation Award, Thomas Edison Film Festival, 2021.
Guggenheim Fellowship in Film & Video, 2014.
Experimental Television Center, finishing funds,1997; residency, 1999; finishing funds 2008.
MacDowell Colony Artist Residency, Selected as Elodie Oborn Felllow 2006-07.
New York University Adjunct Faculty Grant, 2005,2007, 2008, 2010.
New York Public Library Artist Commission, 2006.
National Video Resource, Technical Assistance Award, 2005,2006.
New York State Council on the Arts, grant for film, 2003
Jerome Foundation, grant for film, 2004.
Rockefeller Foundation, media arts fellowship, 2001; Service award 2004.
Trust for Mutual Understanding, media grant, 2001.
Maryland Council for the Humanities, grant for current film project, 2000.
Arts Link Collaborative Project, funded by National Endowment for the Arts, (video/website in Sarajevo) 2000.
Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, 2000.
School 33 Public Art Space, juried invitational show of installation work, Fall, 2000, Baltimore.
Puffin Foundation artist grant for Catonsville Nine Project, 2000.
Maryland State Arts Council Mini-Grant, with the Catonsville Historical Society, 1999.
San Francisco Bay Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery Award, 1993.
Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship, Supported by the NEA, 1993
Southeast Regional Media Arts Fellowship, NEA, 1990.
Film Arts Foundation Development Grant, San Francisco, 1987.
Pioneer Fund for Emerging Filmmakers, San Francisco, 1987.
Downtown Community Television Artist in Residence, New York, 1985.
Robert Flaherty Documentary Film Seminar, Scholarship, 1985.