PARK CITY, UT: Attendees of the Sundance Film Festival are expressing shock and sadness over the passing of independent film biz legend Bingham Ray, who suffered a pair of strokes over the past week and died today. He was 58.
Ray’s career in movies began humbly, as a projectionist at New York’s Bleecker Street cinema. In 1991, Ray and Jeff Lipsky co-founded October Films, which became one of the seminal independent film distributors of the 1990s; their slate included Lost Highway, Breaking the Waves, Secrets & Lies, and The Apostle. He later served as president of United Artists and was an adjunct professor at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts. Ray was also the executive director of the San Francisco Film Society.
Ray’s first, mild stoke occurred while he was in Provo, Utah; he was attending the Art House Convergence Conference there before Sundance’s kick-off last Thursday.
The Sundance Institute has released the following statement: “It is with great sadness that Sundance Institute acknowledges the passing of Bingham Ray, cherished independent film executive and most recently Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society. On behalf of the independent film community here in Park City for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and elsewhere, we offer our support and condolences to his family. Bingham’s many contributions to this community and business are indelible, and his legacy will not be soon forgotten.”