“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).
Lynne Sachs is an American experimental filmmaker and poet based in Brooklyn, New York. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in each new project. Over the course of her career, Lynne has worked closely with fellow filmmakers Craig Baldwin, Bruce Conner, Barbara Hammer, Chris Marker, Gunvor Nelson, Carolee Schneemann, and Trinh T. Min-ha.
Throughout her career, we can trace the ways that her experimentation dares to confront social and political issues by embracing both familiar and intimate processes. Lynne investigates the implicit connection between the body, the camera, and the materiality of film itself. Embracing archives, letters, portraits, confessions, poetry and music, her films take us on a critical journey through reality and memory. Regardless of the passage of time, these films continue to be extremely contemporary, coherent and radical in their artistic conception.
Lynne has produced over 40 films as well as numerous live performances, installations and web projects. 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/Palestine, 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.
Her films have screened at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), Tate Modern, Image Forum Tokyo, Wexner Center for the Arts, and festivals such as New York Film Festival, Oberhausen Int’l Short FF, Punto de Vista, Sundance, Vancouver IFF, Viennale and Doclisboa. Retrospectives of her work have been presented at MoMI (Museum of the Moving Image), Sheffield Doc/Fest, BAFICI, Cork Film Festival, Havana Film Festival, among others. In 2021, both Edison Film Festival and Prismatic Ground Film Festival at the Maysles Documentary Center gave her awards for her lifetime achievements in the experimental and documentary fields.
Lynne is also deeply engaged with poetry. In 2019, Tender Buttons Press
published her first book “Year by Year Poems”.
Her film 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.
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.