Just got the very sad (and shocking) news that indie theatre/film colleague Lanie Zipoy has died.
I say shocking mostly because of the timing. She had just directed and produced her first feature length film The Subject (2020) starring Jason Biggs, an intriguing and timely drama about a white documentary film maker plagued with guilt about the death of a person of color he had been filming, followed by a turning of the tables. Apparently she was in a car accident a couple of weeks ago, and never woke up from her coma.
I of course knew Lanie from the indie theatre scene. She was long associated with TheatreLab (we send out condolences to them today); she produced Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, which I reviewed a LONG time ago, maybe 20 years ago, and also the 2009 production of Mac Rogers’ Universal Robots. I last saw her I think in 2015 when I went in to audition for a play she was producing, Rich Orloff’s Chatting with the Tea Party. (This was back before MAGA, when, adorably, the Tea Party was America’s greatest right wing worry and embarrassment. Days of Innocence!) Anyway, I got rattled when I saw some of the talent in the waiting room and fled out the fire exit — though not before having a nice chat with her.
That was about as well as I knew her, to say hi to and exchange pleasantries with. You can meet her in much more depth elsewhere on the internet:
PEN America did this great interview with her about her work teaching writers to prisoners.
Zack Calhoun profiled her as part of his People You Should Know blog series.
Wonderful article here from Authority Magazine about her hopes for women in film
It was thrilling to watch Lanie ascend to what was clearly a new rung of the success ladder. That’s the moment at which she left the earth, and without a doubt her last thoughts were about that, about her bright future, for that’s what she was about to go on to if fortune didn’t play her this cruel trick. Hearing this sad news on this unspeakably awful news weekend was certainly in tune with the moment, even if the last thing anyone needed was more heartbreaking news. Our world, and our business, needs more, not fewer, people like Lanie, people of industry, integrity and vision. It’s a particularly sad loss. The best way to honor her, I think, is to watch her movie. It’s available on Vudu here.
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