By Beth Milligan | August 27, 2021
Andrew Hiss, a 10-year faculty member at the Interlochen Center for the Arts’ Film & New Media Department, was killed in a car crash on Friday.
“Andy was a deeply caring human being and a dear teacher, mentor, collaborator and friend,” Interlochen Center for the Arts president Trey Devey said in a statement. “With an unmatched gift for encouraging students to take themselves seriously as artists and tell their stories, Andy has touched the lives of hundreds of emerging artists and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. His legacy will live on. through generations of Interlochen students and colleagues who will forever be inspired by him and his deep sympathy for the human condition. “
The campus community had planned to meet on Friday vigil to honor Hiss. Academy school board staff and members of Northern Lakes Community Mental Health are available to offer support, and students can email [email protected] to connect with counselors.
Hiss joined the faculty of Interlochen in 2010 and has taught courses such as storytelling, directing and screenwriting. “Students from all artistic disciplines have been calling for his history course, which has become fundamental for storytelling through mediums, including illustrated novels, films and musical compositions,” according to a statement from Interlochen. “In his popular directing classes, he worked closely with students to help them understand every rhythm and nuance of their storylines. Thanks to the many successes of his Academy students, Hiss was a medal-winning educator. National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. “
Prior to coming to Interlochen, Hiss taught directing, scriptwriting and film analysis at Cornell University, where he was nominated for the Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award and named Merrill Presidential Scholar Most Influential Teacher. Hiss has written feature film scripts and directed short films. His cinematographic work has been screened at festivals in the United States and Canada and has received funding from Columbia University and a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. His scenario, The Sun King of Eastbrook, Maine was a winner of the Columbia University Film Festival and named quarter finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship. Before turning to film, he worked as a luthier in Maine and Hawaii. Hiss received her MFA in Film from Columbia University School of the Arts and her BA in English and Art History from Tufts University.
Interlochen said Hiss was “deeply committed to his students,” Hiss saying his philosophy was “to inspire [them] with courage, to uplift them to the task at hand and to see themselves as artists with an important job to do – their work.
Additional details on ways to honor Hiss will be shared as they become available.