Seth Winston, Screenwriter and AFI Faculty Member, Dies at 64

In 1991, he earned an Academy Award for writing and directing the short film 'Session Man.'

Seth Winston, a long-time senior lecturer at the AFI Conservatory and a lecturer at Columbia College Hollywood, died suddenly at his home in Los Angeles on June 5. The cause of his death was not disclosed. He was 64 years old.

Winston — who received an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 1991 for writing and directing Session Man, a look at a studio guitar man — also taught at USC School of Cinematic Arts, UC Santa Barbara and UCLA Extension.

Winston, who grew up in Los Angeles, attended the University of California at Berkeley before transferring to the USC School of Cinema, where he received a B.A. in Cinema Production. He wrote and directed two films at USC: Allegory, which was bought by Universal Pictures' Kinetic Arts Series, and An Evening With the Gods, which became the basis for a TV comedy pilot he wrote for CBS.

Winston, who was accepted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's Director Internship Program at AFI, served as an intern on Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Winston went on to write network movies for television and feature films. His credits include She’s Out of Control, Game Day, Get You Back, Gardening at Night, Final Tour and The Common Cold. He was in development to write and direct Steel for Maxim Films in Australia. He was also a member of the Academy and the Writers Guild.

“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. The community here deeply feels his absence, but know that Seth worked for all of us, AFI and the filmmakers, to always be better. He was a beloved member of the faculty and will be missed by all,” said Jan Schuette, dean of the AFI Conservatory at the American Film Institute.

Winston is survived by his beloved children, Alexandra and Dashiell, their mother, Susan, and a brother, Clive.

His family has established The Seth Winston Scholarship Fund at AFI. Contributions may be sent to American Film Institute Advancement Office, Seth Winston Scholarship Fund, 2021 North Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027.