Seth Winston, who won an Oscar for the 1991 short Session Man and taught for decades at LA-area film schools, has died. He was 64. Publicist Marina Bailey said Winston died June 5 of an apparent heart attack in Woodland Hills, CA.
He wrote and helmed a pair of films as a student at USC, one of which — An Evening With The Gods — caught the attention of CBS execs and earned him a deal for a comedy pilot based on the movie. The other, Allegory, was bought by Universal Pictures’ Kinetic Arts Series. He later was accepted into the Director Internship Program at AFI and picked by Steven Spielberg to intern on 1978’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
After working on some TV movies, the Philadelphia native moved to features, writing the 1989’s She’s Out Of Control and working on screenplays for films including Game Day and Gardening At Night. He earned an Oscar for writing and directing 1991 live-action short Session Man, about a guitar player who is brought in to smooth things over when a supergroup’s bond is threatened during the recording of its album. It also aired on Showtime.
A member of AMPAS and WGA, Winston was a longtime educator who taught or lectured at AFI Conservatory Studies, Columbia College Hollywood, UC Santa Barbara, USC and UCLA. “Seth Winston has been a faculty member and a friend of AFI’s for over 15 years, and through that time he has greatly impacted so many filmmakers,” said Jan Schuette, Dean of the grad school AFI Conservatory. “The community here deeply feels his absence but know that Seth worked for all of us — AFI and the filmmakers — to always be better.”
Survivors include his children, Alexandra and Dashiell; their mother, Susan; and a brother, Clive. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Seth Winston Scholarship Fund: American Film Institute Advancement Office, Seth Winston Scholarship Fund, 2021 North Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027