Irwin “Butch” Wallace Young, the chairman of DuArt Film Laboratories who supported New York filmmakers for decades, died Jan. 20 in Manhattan. He was 94.
An important part of New York City’s film scene, DuArt was founded by his father, Al Young, in 1922.
Irwin Young worked with filmmakers including Spike Lee, Joel and Ethan Coen and Barbara Kopple. Much of the history of independent film “could not have happened without him,” Ira Deutchman wrote in an Indiewire remembrance.
“During the ‘80s and ‘90s, DuArt was doing so much of this work that an enormous percentage of films that premiered at Sundance were going through the lab at the same time with the same deadlines. It became part of the job to prioritize the films so that none of them missed their premiere dates,” Deutchman remembered.
“In the early years of Sundance, Irwin threw condo parties that were perhaps the largest gatherings of indie filmmakers, both above and below the line, anywhere — certainly larger than any official Sundance party. It was such a gigantic networking opportunity that, over the years, the parties got so big that Irwin finally decided enough was enough,” Deutchman wrote.
He received industry awards including a 2000 Oscar for technological contributions to the motion picture industry, and in 1988 the New York State Governor’s Arts Award to those “who made significant contributions to the cultural life of New York State.”
Young was a past-president of The Film Society of Lincoln Center, and of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), and served as Chairman of the Board of Film Forum. He was a member of the board of the Independent Features Project (now the Gotham Film & Media Institute) and the NY State Council on the Arts.
He also produced several award-winning films.
He is survived by two daughters, Linda, Nancy and granddaughters, Samantha, Michelle, Lindsey and Mia. He is also survived by his brother, the filmmaker, Robert M. Young.