Joe Sweet Dies at 43

Joe Sweet, the copywriter who was instrumental in developing the BMW Films idea at Fallon before spending the past year working on his own movie, died Oct. 4 while vacationing in Paris. He was 43.

The results of an autopsy were pending. Sweet had suffered from heart problems.

Sweet left the Minneapolis shop, where he had been a group creative director, earlier this year. But it was there that his interest in film was sparked while working with director Tim Burton on Timex and, later, in his work for BMW, associates said.

BMW had asked for something unique and geared to the Web, said Fallon creative director Bruce Bildsten. The next day, Sweet and art director David Carter suggested an action movie in serial form. “Even things like BMW Films, in the end it comes down to two guys in a room putting it all down,” Bildsten said.

Sweet helped write the first year’s films, and one of his scripts is included in the series that debuts next week.

Bildsten and Carter said Sweet was an incessant explorer on shoots, finding out-of-the-way shops, museums and cafés in Mexico and Europe. “Joe wasn’t the guy who spent a lot of time with award books. He spent time going to films, and he was a great photographer,” Bildsten said. “He had a broader view of the world.”

Sweet’s film, How to Kill a Mockingbird, was shown just a few weeks ago in Minneapolis. “It’s pretty much about life and death and his philosophy of it—that death shouldn’t be feared,” Carter said.

Sweet is survived by his wife, Germaine Deagan-Sweet. She plans to start a memorial fund, Joe Sweet Film Fund, for aspiring filmmakers.