June 18, 2013/For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) mourns the loss
of Daniel George McKinny, founding faculty member of the School of
Filmmaking. Following is the text of his obituary from the Winston-Salem
Daniel George McKinny October 5, 1946 - June 9, 2013
Daniel George McKinny, devoted husband, father, son, brother, teacher, mentor, filmmaker, pet owner and friend, passed away on June 9th at the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Daniel is survived by his loving wife, Laura Hart McKinny, his sons Ryan (and wife Tonya), John and Daniel B. McKinny, grandchildren, Emma and Louis McKinny, his mother, Donna Jeanne McKinny, sister Kathleen McKinny, sister Mary Jo McKinny, sister-in-law Candy McKinny, sister- and brother-in-law Jo-Anne Hart and David Weitz, brother- and sister-in-law James and Irene Hart, and nieces and nephews Jessica, Michael, Heather, Jake, Kathleen and Kallie, all of whom he adored. Dan was preceded in death by his brother, Thomas Paul McKinny, as well as his father, US Air Force Col. Alexander McKinny, uncles US Navy Lt. Commander John McKinny and US Navy Lt. Jg. Douglas McKinny, all three of whom survived active service in World War II.
Having grown up in a military family, Dan went from college into ROTC and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army in Nebraska. Dan was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC and was honorably discharged as a 1st Lieutenant after serving in Vietnam. For his outstanding service, leadership and injuries as a forward artillery observer with the 9th Infantry Division, Dan was awarded the Parachutist Badge, Bronze Star w/ "V" Device, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal w/Bronze Service Star, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/ "60" Device, and National Defense Service Medal.
When he returned from Vietnam, Dan followed his great love of music -- starting several rock bands as lead guitarist and singer, and studying classical guitar at the University of Southern California with Pepe Romero. At USC, Dan discovered his love of film while playing music for budding filmmakers. Dan walked onto the Fox movie lot, and was first hired as "grip." From there he progressed to camera operator, director of photography and then director. Dan's credits include movies-of-the-week, theatrical motion pictures, documentaries, and TV series, "Perry Mason" and "90210," five-time member of the Emmy Awards Blue Ribbon Judging Panels, and Member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
In 1993, Dan and his screenwriter wife, Laura, moved their family to Winston-Salem as founding faculty of the North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking.
The McKinny family settled in Pfafftown, in the beauty of a natural setting, with the friendship of great neighbors and the adoration of many four-legged friends. They enjoyed and faithfully participated in the Scottish Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain, which Danny Boy dearly loved.
Personally and professionally, Dan believed in the power of creativity and the power of creative people. He helped make the film school a place for artists to meet, collaborate and take risks. He was a mentor and a father figure to his students. David Gordon Green wrote of the "amazing joyous memories we have of Dan and the tools he taught us that we use every day." Jordan Kerner, former School of Filmmaking Dean, wrote, "You know I loved Dan. Loved him from the first time we met. He was just so clear and genuine. He was so kind and observant. He was a person of honor."
Dan and Laura founded Stone's Throw Films as their vehicle to contribute to the community, their profession and the school. The projects of Stone's Throw Films support and employ students, former students and school of filmmaking colleagues. In 2013, Stone's Throw Films was a producer of "Susie's Hope," which screened at River Run International Film Festival, and won awards at the Cape Fear Film Independent Festival and the Greenville International Film Festival.
Since the McKinnys arrived in 1993, the film school student body has grown from 60 to over 200 students annually -- inspired in part by Dan's devoted leadership which brought other talented filmmakers to the faculty, who have launched hundreds of alumni now actively making films all over the world. Dan stood up for students and colleagues alike -- even abiding "faculty meetings" in his room at Hospice at the end.
We will always treasure his memory and miss his sweetness, his friendship, his professionalism, his mischief, his generosity with his time and attention, his gentle nature, his humor, the sparkle in his beautiful blue eyes, his smile and his love.
Daniel's life will be celebrated at a memorial service on Friday, June 28 at 5:00 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston-Salem, 4055 Robinhood Road, Winston-Salem 27106. His family will greet friends at the Fellowship after the service. The McKinny family are forever grateful for the outpouring of condolences, praises, stories, pictures, care and love from former students, colleagues and friends of Dan McKinny. In lieu of flowers, donations to honor Dan's memory may be made for a Scholarship in Directing to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) Foundation, Inc., 1533 S. Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27127 or online at www.uncsa.edu/donate (donations should indicate "in memory of Dan McKinny.")
As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.