We are saddened to report that  filmmaker Gary Winick died Sunday at age 49. Winick died after a long battle with brain cancer. While he has transitioned to such studio films as Letters to Juliet, 13 Going On 30, Bride Wars and Charlotte’s Web, Winick has long led the charge for independent films. He directed Tadpole and was also the founder of indie company InDigEnt.

Winick received his B.A. degree at Tufts University and his MFA degree from the University of Texas and the American Film Institute.  He taught at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for seven years, and in 1999 teamed up with John Sloss and IFC Productions to create Independent Digital Entertainment (InDigEnt) to produce digital video feature films for theatrical release.

Said his longtime manager Rosalie Swedlin: Many people will write about Gary Winick’s extraordinary talents as a mentor, a director, a producer, and a pioneer in the independent cinema world, but perhaps his greatest talent of all was his genius for friendship.  He turned professional relationships into lifelong friendships, and he gave endless support and enthusiasm to lifelong friends.   In the immortal words of E.B. White in Charlotte’s Web, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”  Gary wrote a most “radiant”, “terrific”, and “humble” life which his many friends and associates had the gift of sharing.”

Winick’s producing credits include Final, directed by Campbell Scott; Chelsea Walls, directed by Ethan Hawke, which premiered in the Director’s Fortnight at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival; Tape, directed by Richard Linklater; Women In Film, directed by Bruce Wagner, which premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival; Ten Tiny Love Stories, directed by Rodrigo Garcia; Wake Up And Smell The Coffee, directed by Michael Rauch; Personal Velocity, directed by Rebecca Miller, which premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival; Kill The Poor, directed by Alan Taylor; and November directed by Greg Harrison, which premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2004 Sundance and won the Cinematography Award.

Other producing credits are Pizza, directed by Mark Christopher; Land Of Plenty, directed by Wim Wenders, which premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2004 Venice Film Festival and won the UNEXCO Award; Lonesome Jim, directed by Steve Buscemi, which premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival; Sorry Haters directed by Jeff Stanzler, which premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival; Flakes, directed by Michael Lehmann; and Puccini for Beginners directed by Maria Maggenti, which premiered in the Dramatic Competition at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

He also directed Curfew (1988), Out of the Rain (1991), Sweet Nothing (1996) and The Tic Code, which won the Glass Bear at the 1999 Berlin Film Festival. Winick directed two digital feature films, Sam the Man (2000) and Tadpole, the latter premiering in the Dramatic Competition at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and won him Best Director Award.