The University of Arizona Alumni Association named Lindsay Utz (BA ’03, Media Arts) the College of Fine Arts’ 2021 Alumna of the Year.
Utz is an award-winning documentary film editor and a founding member of the School of Theatre, Film & Television’s Industry Council. She edited American Factory, the film that won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, along with the well-received docs, Bully and Quest. She also edited Miss Americana and The World’s A Little Blurry, films about the pop superstars Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish. Utz earned Emmy Award nominations for both American Factory and the Billie Eilish doc.
“Lindsay Utz has had an outstanding career as one of this generation’s most influential documentary film editors and her Wildcat pride is evident in her ongoing connection to faculty and through her mentorship of those following in her footsteps at the School of Theatre, Film & Television,” said Andy Schulz, dean of the College of Fine Arts and vice president for the arts at the University of Arizona.
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“Our alumni lead vibrant, interesting lives and Lindsay Utz is a perfect example,” he said. “She is very deserving of this honor as our Alumna of the Year.”
Utz unable to attend today’s Alumni of the Year Awards Ceremony at the Student Union Grand Ballroom, but she sent a video message.
“I want to thank the College of Fine Arts and the School of Theatre, Film & Television for this incredible honor. It’s so meaningful to be recognized in this way. I want to particularly thank Professor Beverly Seckinger, whose History of Documentary class introduced me to all of the classics of non-fiction film and ever since then, I have been in love with the art form. Bev’s classes inspired and challenged me at a formative moment in my life, and I am so grateful to her and the entire department for giving me a filmmaking foundation that helped me transition into my career today. I will always cherish my time at U of A and the incredible friendships that I made there. Thank you again.”
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Utz recalled that introduction to documentaries in an article from last winter’s Arizona Alumni magazine.
“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.”
Seckinger proudly says: “Lindsay is now a top-shelf editor. She has her pick of any project.”