Beloved Indie Filmmaker Lynn Shelton Dies at Age 54
It is with great sadness that ComingSoon.net (via Deadline) must report the untimely passing of filmmaker and indie darling Lynn Shelton at age 54 from a rare blood disorder.
She began her career as an editor before transitioning to directing with the low budget indie We Go Way Back, which won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival. She broke out with her 2008 comedy Humpday, starring Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard as two straight friends who decide to have filmed gay sex on a dare, which earned a Special Jury Prize at Sundance and was later given a French-language remake titled Do Not Disturb.
Other films included Your Sister’s Sister starring Emily Blunt, Touchy Feely starring Rosemarie DeWitt, Laggies starring Keira Knightley, and Outside In starring Edie Falco. She was at one time approached by Marvel Studios to potentially direct Black Widow, but turned the offer down. Shelton also acted in several films for herself and others, including Colin Trevorrow’s breakout hit Safety Not Guaranteed.
Her many high-profile television directing credits include episodes of Mad Men, The Mindy Project, Master of None, Shameless, The Morning Show, and most recently four episodes of Little Fires Everywhere.
Shelton was a frequent collaborator with comedian Marc Maron, with whom she was in a relationship at the time of her death. The two were at work on a dramatic screenplay, and she had previously directed him in episodes of Maron and GLOW, the standup special Marc Maron: Too Real, and her final feature film Sword of Trust, for which we interviewed Maron in 2019.
“I have some awful news,” Maron said in a statement. “Lynn passed away last night. She collapsed yesterday morning after having been ill for a week. There was a previously unknown, underlying condition. It was not COVID-19. The doctors could not save her. They tried. Hard. I loved her very much as I know many of you did as well. It’s devastating. I am leveled, heartbroken and in complete shock and don’t really know how to move forward in this moment. I needed you all to know. I don’t know some of you. Some I do. I’m just trying to let the people who were important to her know. She was a beautiful, kind, loving, charismatic artist. Her spirit was pure joy. She made me happy. I made her happy. We were happy. I made her laugh all the time. We laughed a lot. We were starting a life together. I really can’t believe what is happening. This is a horrendous, sad loss.”
We lost our dear friend Lynn Shelton. We made so many things together. I wish we had made more. Her boundless creative energy and infectious spirit were unrivaled. She made me better. We butted heads, made up, laughed, pushed each other. Like family. What a deep loss. pic.twitter.com/LcowmbGqum
— Mark Duplass (@MarkDuplass) May 16, 2020
Lynn Shelton was one of the wonderful advisors I had the Sundance Labs. I am so sad and in such shock to hear the news of her passing. Her work and her mentorship was deeply affecting to me. Love to her friends and family. RIP, Lynn.
— Nia DaCosta (@NiaDaCosta) May 16, 2020
I am truly shocked at the passing of Lynn Shelton. She was a friend, a kind heart, so talented & only just getting started, despite her stellar work so far. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones. She’s left us too soon. I can’t believe I’ll never hear her laugh again.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) May 16, 2020
Lynn Shelton changed my life when she handed me the Directing Award at Sundance in 2012. She announced my name with pride. Handed it to me with love. Rooted for me long after. I can’t believe I’m typing this. Rest In Peace, Beauty. Thank you for your films. And for your kindness. pic.twitter.com/KySqgIdqQd
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 16, 2020
A few years ago I was doing karaoke with a group of people in Seattle when suddenly, something shifted. I thought: did they turn the lights on? Is it someone’s birthday? No, the only thing that was different was that Lynn Shelton had walked into the room
— Melanie Lynskey (@melanielynskey) May 16, 2020
Rest peacefully, Lynn Shelton. Damn. A singular talent and a really nice person. This is awful and so, so sad.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) May 16, 2020
— Karina Longworth (@KarinaLongworth) May 16, 2020
Devastating news. I was lucky enough to play a small role in a Lynn Shelton film & she treated her cast & crew like a family. I learned about directing from watching her. The kindness with which she treated people. The room she left for spontaneity. We’ve lost a great one. https://t.co/vzMwhL0yic
— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) May 16, 2020
(Photo Credi: Getty Images)