Indie film veteran Bingham Ray has died after being hospitalized for a stroke he suffered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. He was 57.
According to the Daily Beast, Ray suffered a first stroke at the festival last week, and was taken to a Park City hospital. He suffered a second, reportedly more serious stroke while in the hospital.
On Saturday, Ray's daughter told TheWrap her father was stable and getting very good care in a Provo hospital, where he had been transferred.
Ray was co-founder of the pioneering production company October Films. He was named the Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society in October, two months after the previous director, Graham Leggat, died of cancer at age 51.
The San Francisco Film Society runs the annual San Franciso Film Festival.
The board of directors and staff of the Film Society are stunned and deeply saddened by the untimely death of our executive director Bingham Ray. 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, San Francisco Film Society board president Pat McBaine said in a statement to Variety.
When Bingham took the job, we were ecstatic, SFFS board co-vice president and film producer Jen Chaiken told Variety. It was an enormous vote of confidence for the organization that he was compelled to uproot his life to come run the Film Society. Bingham felt this job honored and tapped into the experience he'd garnered over the past 30 years. Bingham was one of those rare few who everyone knew on a first name only basis.
Ray was president of United Artists from 2001 to 2007, and held senior posts at Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. He has served in the juries of numerous film festivals, including Sundance, Rotterdam, and Edinburgh. He was an adjunct professor at New York University.
Ray was at the helm of UA when it won Oscars for No Man's Land in 2001 and Bowling For Columbine in 2002.
Bowling for Columbine director Michael Moore mourned the loss on Twitter: I will deeply miss Bingham Ray who died today. He bought & distributed BowlingforColumbine [sic] when no one else would. He stood by me all the way.
Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan experienced health problems at Sundance, but has since recovered.