This is a sad day for the indie film market, as Lynn Shelton, director of films such as Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister, has passed away. She died due to a blood disorder on Friday, May 15th at the age of 54.
Shelton was known mostly for her work in indie cinema, specifically the mumblecore genre. She started out as an editor on various experimental short films until her first directorial debut We Go Way Back. The film became a hit at Slamdance, but ultimately was overlooked until years later when it received a wider release. Her next film, Humpday, was more ambitious, centering around two straight men who decide to make their own amateur gay porno. The film was very well received when it premiered at Sundance in 2009 and even won the Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Independence award.
Shelton later became known for a lot of her television work including shows like Mad Men and The Mindy Project. So well-received were her films that she even received offers to direct huge blockbusters, including Marvel’s Black Widow. However, Shelton ultimately refused the offer and stuck with directing smaller films due to how complicated it can be working on bigger projects. She also emphasized that smaller films are often more expressive stating, “It’s very easy to have creative freedom when you’re making movies for a very small amount of money.”
Shelton entered the film market at the perfect time, as her improvisation style became imitated in many other films from directors such as Joe Swanberg and the Duplass Brothers. She served as an influence for women all over, paving the way for a lot of artistic freedom that made independent film making so appealing to up and coming filmmakers. May she Rest In Peace.