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Independent film icon Bingham Ray dies
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Independent film veteran and executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, Bingham Ray, died Monday after suffering a stroke in Park City. He was 57.

Ray was transported to a Provo hospital Friday after suffering his second stroke in a week during the Sundance Film Festival, his daughter told the movie blog TheWrap.

The producer and studio head was named last fall to lead the San Francisco Film Society and was currently planning the 55th San Francisco International Film Festival. He also co-founded October Films, which produced such well-known independent films as "Breaking the Waves," "The Apostle" and "Lost Highway." Films from his production company have won two Oscars and received 13 Oscar nominations and three prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.

"We lost a true warrior for independent voice today with the passing of Bingham Ray," Robert Redford said in statement. "He was a valued member of the Sundance family for as long as I can remember, and he is responsible for mentoring countless seminal storytellers and bringing their work to the world. Most important he was a humanist and a profoundly good human being who lived a life that meant something."

In 2001, Ray was named the president of United Artists and released films such as Michael Moore's Oscar-winning documentary "Bowling for Columbine," and "Hotel Rwanda" during his tenure.

"We at the Film Society and the entire film community have lost far too early an energetic and visionary impact player who has helped shape the independent film industry for decades in so many important and valuable ways," Pat McBaine, SFFS board president, said in a statment Monday.

According to the film society, Ray began his career in 1981 as manager and programmer of the Bleecker Street Cinema. He had served on the juries of the Sundance Film Festival as well as the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy King, and their children Nick, Annabel and Becca.

vince@sltrib.com

Sundance • Producer suffers stroke in Park City.
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