By Howard Pousner
After a long illness, High Museum of Art curator of media arts Linda Dubler passed away Thursday of myelofibrosis, a form of bone marrow cancer.
Dubler worked industriously since 1985 to connect Atlanta with world cinema from countries such as China and Iran that otherwise would not have been represented on the city’s commercial screens, in the process building early bridges between the High and Atlanta’s growing international communities.
“In terms of film programming, she virtually single-handedly turned Atlanta into the international city it aspires to be,” former AJC and current artscriticatl.com film critic Steve Murray wrote in a moving tribute on that Web site.
“This is a huge loss for the High and Atlanta’s film community,” High director Michael Shapiro said in a prepared statement. “Linda worked tirelessly for 26 years to bring our audiences the best films from around the world, including many that would have never been seen in Atlanta. She inspired staff and patrons to expand their film repertoire, many times introducing them to their first foreign film experience and creating life-long fans. … She will truly be missed.”
Former AJC film critic Eleanor Ringel Cater, a friend of Dubler’s, said, simply, “Linda was the best friend the Atlanta film community ever had.”
Dubler’s legacies at the High include the Latin American Film Festival, which will mark its 26th edition this fall. She also helped organize the “100 Years of World Cinema” program in conjunction with the Centennial Games’ Cultural Olympiad, and curated two video installations as part of the museum’s Art at the Edge series: “Eingang” by Daniel Reeves (1989) and “Buried in Light” by Jem Cohen (1995).
Before joining the High, Dubler, appreciated by friends and colleagues for her quiet intelligence, served as program and festival director of IMAGE Film and Video Center, helping guide the Atlanta Film Festival, which celebrated its 35th anniversary this year.
In his artscriticatl.com tribute, Murray suggests that the Woodruff Arts Center rename the Rich Auditorium in Dubler’s honor. “That would be a suitable memorial,” he writes. “But it would be so much better, for Atlanta film lovers, if she were still here among us, leading us like the world’s smartest usher to an aisle seat for a fantastic night at the cinema.”
Memorial plans are pending, and the AJC will provide additional coverage as they become clear.