Last night, the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, founded in memory of the murdered director of this year's sleeper hit, Waitress, (which could potentially get Keri Russell some nominations) had its inaugural gala with a reading of Adrienne's screenplay, The Morgan Stories. Celebs scheduled to appear included: Alanis Morissette, Matt Dillon, Edie Falco, Mary-Louise Parker, Gina Gershon, Jason Patric, Leelee Sobieski, Nathan Dean, Jake Hoffman and Maria Tucci.
Women & Hollywood posed some questions to Adrienne's husband, and foundation founder, Andy Ostroy, about why he started the foundation in his late wife's name:
Women & Hollywood: Why did you start the Adrienne Shelly Foundation?
Andy Ostroy: Following Adrienne's death, I was asked by many people where they could donate money in her name. Once I was able to think clearly about this, and consider Adrienne's passion for filmmaking, especially as a woman, the idea for the foundation was born. I knew that it would be a very worthwhile cause that we could champion in her honor.
W&H: Why is it important to support female filmmakers?
AO: Overall, women are the true underdogs in filmmaking. Perhaps just seven percent or so of all features are directed by women. This is an embarrassing statistic. Female filmmakers have a strong passion and a distinct message...and that voice needs to be heard more loudly. The Adrienne Shelly Foundation exists to help support these incredibly talented women as they strive to produce their work.
W&H: What type of grants will the foundation be giving out?
AO: We've provide a variety of financial awards that include film school scholarships, production grants, finishing funds and living stipends, ranging from $5,000-$10,000.
W&H: What do you want people who are interested in women and film know about Adrienne Shelly?
AO: Adrienne was a one-of-a-kind human being with a unique voice that sadly is no longer with us. She brought a rare, magical blend of comedy, drama and unpredictability to her writing, all of which had ass-kicking female empowerment as its ultimate central theme. Had she lived, she would've undoubtedly gone on to become one of America's most prolific filmmakers. Waitress proved that.
This post first appeared on Women and Hollywood.