Seven years ago my wife, the actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, was brutally murdered in her office in Manhattan's West Village. She was best known for her starring roles in indie auteur Hal Hartley's The Unbelievable Truth and Trust, as well as for the smash hit Waitress, which she wrote, directed and starred in. The many television shows and twenty-six films in which she appeared, as well as the beautiful daughter Sophie we brought into this world together, is surely enough of a legacy that will keep her memory alive forever.
But that legacy continues to grow even more, further impacting the filmmaking community through The Adrienne Shelly Foundation (www.adrienneshellyfoundation.org), which achieved a very special milestone this week. Formed shortly after her death, ASF, with its simple but critical mission of supporting women filmmakers, awarded its 50th production grant to Meredith Danluck for her film State Like Sleep. The grant is in partnership with the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program.
Danluck is an artist and filmmaker whose work has screened at major art institutions internationally including MoMA, PS1, Venice Biennale and Liverpool Biennial, as well as various film festivals including SXSW, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival. In State Like Sleep, a young American widow in northern Europe reluctantly revisits her past when her mother is hospitalized in Brussels. Danluck and her project participated in the Sundance Institute Directors Lab and Screenwriter Lab last year.
Earlier in the month ASF awarded its 49th grant to Boston University film student Julia Iglesias, who'll soon be shooting her short film Aida's 85th.
Just 6% of all feature films are directed by women. That's an embarrassing statistic.
"I can't stress enough the importance of ASF's mission of supporting women filmmakers," said Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe winning actress Michelle Williams, an ASF Advisory Board member. "Reaching its 50th grant just demonstrates the impact ASF has on the indie film community."
"I knew and worked with Adrienne, and have been involved with ASF since its inception," said actor Paul Rudd, a member of the Advisory Board. "This is an organization with a critical mission, and I'm thrilled to see it achieve such an incredible milestone."
That we can turn such a horrible tragedy into something so meaningful and positive is a true testament to our Board of Directors, Advisory Board and the generosity and support of so many people. We're of course very proud of the work we do, and the lives we've touched in honor of Adrienne.