Lindsay Utz (’03) didn’t originally plan to study filmmaking. She came to Tucson from her native Chicago “craving sunshine and mountains” and planned to be a creative writing major.
But a few years in, she took a class from Beverly Seckinger on the history of documentary.
“We watched a lot of classics: Salesmen, Night and Fog,” Utz says. “I got swept up in those older, beautiful films. I couldn’t believe they existed. Such a discovery! They introduced me to cinema verité.”
Utz was hooked. She switched her major to media arts, and she started shooting documentaries.
Her first short, about a dog park in Tucson, was “a cut above the other students’ work,” Seckinger says. “She clearly had a feel for it.” Utz loved editing films too, so much so that she’d stay at school working until the wee hours. “I was always there super late — there’s so much freedom in the form.”
In the industry, Lindsay soon made a name for herself, notably for editing films like the 2017 documentary Quest, a story about race and class that followed 10 years in the lives of one Black family in Philadelphia. And 2020 saw Utz join documentary filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert onstage at the Academy Awards to collect the Oscar for Best Documentary for American Factory.
Since she finished her work on American Factory, Utz has edited the Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana, a serious work that delves into Swift’s decision to speak out on political issues, and Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, a documentary on the skyrocketing young singer-songwriter.
“Lindsay is now a top-shelf editor,” Seckinger says proudly. “She has her pick of any project.”Read more at Arizona Alumni Magazine