17 May 2020
Lynn Shelton, an independent filmmaker who directed Humpday and Little Fires Everywhere, has died aged 54.
Her publicist Adam Kersh said she died on Friday in Los Angeles from an unidentified blood disorder.
Shelton had become the leading voice of the new American independent cinema movement. She caused waves with her low-budget films, then made splashes through her work on television including Mad Men, Fresh Off The Boat, The Mindy Project and GLOW.
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
She directed four episodes of the miniseries Little Fires Everywhere, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.
Actor Mark Duplass was a frequent collaborator with Shelton and starred in her 2009 film Humpday, which was a depiction of male sexuality through a female lens.
The actor said he had lost a “dear friend” and admired her creativity.
He wrote on Twitter: “We made so many things together. I wish we had made more.
“Her boundless creative energy and infectious spirit were unrivalled. She made me better. We butted heads, made up, laughed, pushed each other. Like family. What a deep loss.”
Shelton began her filmmaking career in her mid-30s after initially being an aspiring actor and photographer.
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
She went on to write and direct eight feature films in 14 years.
The statement from her publicist said she had an “infectious laugh, was full of life and had an esprit de corps that touched many”.
Director Ava DuVernay said Shelton changed her life after handing her an award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.
“She announced my name with pride,” said DuVernay, who posted a photo on Twitter that included both filmmakers.
“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.”