Visual Arts Past Faculty

Lynne Sachs

Lynne Sachs headshot


Lynne Sachs makes films, installations, performances and web projects that explore the intricate relationship between personal observations and broader historical experiences by weaving together poetry, collage, painting, politics and layered sound design. Strongly committed to a dialogue between cinematic theory and practice, she searches for a rigorous play between image and sound, pushing the visual and aural textures in her work with every new project.  Her five essay films took her to Vietnam, Bosnia, Israel, Italy and Germany — sites affected by international war – where she looked at the space between a community’s collective memory and her own subjective perceptions. Recently, after 25 years of making experimental documentaries, Sachs learned something that turned her filmmaking upside down. While working on Your Day is My Night (2013) in NYC’s Chinatown, she saw that her subjects were performing for her rather than revealing something completely honest about their lives. The process of recording guaranteed that some aspect of the project would be artificial. This moved Sachs toward a new type of filmmaking — she invited her subjects to become her collaborators — to work with her to make the film about their lives.  

Sachs has made over 25 films, supported by fellowships from the Rockefeller and Jerome Foundations and the New York State Council on the Arts.  Her films have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto’s Images Festival. Her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, Walker Art Center, Wexner Center for the Arts and other venues nationally and internationally. Both the Buenos Aires International Film Festival and the China Women’s Film Festival presented retrospectives of Sachs’ films. Sachs was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2014).  Since 2006, Sachs has collaborated with her partner, filmmaker Mark Street, in a series of playful, mixed-media performances called “The XY Chromosome Project.” Sachs’ publications include a co-edited Millennium Film Journal issue on “Experiments in Documentary.” Recently, she produced Your Day is My Night (2013) and Every Fold Matters (2016) as live film performances in alternative theaters around New York City.  

Sachs begins teaching at Princeton in Fall 2016.  She holds an MFA in Film from the San Francisco Art Institute, an MA in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and a BA in History from Brown University. She has taught at NYU since 2002, and her previous teaching experience includes the institutions of Hunter College, The New School, Maryland Institute, College of Art, and the University of California, Berkeley.

Campus Address

Program in Visual Arts
185 Nassau Street
Room 315

Email Address