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Lynn Shelton Talks ‘SWORD OF TRUST’ And The Politics of Conspiracy

”I wanted to give myself permission to make a comedy caper.”

Seattle native Lynn Shelton has been steadily making films since the mid-aughts, championing mumblecore tenements, giving her performers a vast opportunity for creation in the moment. Films like Humpday and We Go Way Back set the stage for her burgeoning talent but the writer-director touched a nerve in the independent film community with her 2011 film Your Sister’s Sister, which starred Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, and Rosemarie DeWitt and involved a messy familial love triangle triage in a far-flung cabin. Shelton cranked out Touchy Feely, a comedy about the powers of physical touch, and Laggies, about late-onset adulthood, working with actors like Ellen Page, Sam Rockwell, Chloe Moretz, and Keira Knightley. Over the second half of the decade, Shelton has poured herself into television work, directing episodes for shows like GLOW, The Good Place, Maron, Master of None, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Shameless, and a long stretch on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. Read More

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SIFF ’19: ‘SWORD OF TRUST’ is Exactly the Undemanding Indie Tailor-Made for Festivals

Lynn Shelton’s most recent foray into feature film stands upon the mumblecore tenement of character reigning supreme above plot. The circular narrative about a couple (Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins) who enlist a pawn shop owner (Marc Maron) to help sell a Civil War-era sword is a closed loop of somewhat vacuous plotting. Shelton’s breezy, unchallenging story highlights the underlying tension of legacy and the damage of past selves that we’re forced to carry around with us. Maron is stealthily funny even if Sword of Trust is rarely – if ever – laugh out loud comical but Shelton’s barbed dialogue and empathetic scene setting made for a fine pairing of snide and pathos that, when employed in harmony, make this absurdist satire of the American south stand tall and punch back. Softly though it may be. (C+) 

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SIFF ’19: Bone Dry ‘FRANCES FERGUSON’ Demands Acquired Tastes

Bob Byington’s latest sparsely funny dark-comedy is a mannered step back from mainstream appeal. The Infinity Baby director follows a woman (Kaley Wheless, monotonous but arresting) who’s so dissatisfied with her marriage that she throws her life in the toilet by sleeping with a student. What follows is a quirky bureaucratic procedural from the POV of said sex offender that somewhat jumbles its satirical take on the monotony of punishment. At 74 minutes, it’s extremely slight and uses quirky “nomnipotent” narration from Nick Offerman to offer a sardonic birds-eye approach to storytelling. The characters’ apathy is reflected in Byington’s almost narcissistic touch, making his decidedly festival-circuit exclusive more niche than ever. (C+) Read More

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Seattle International Film Festival 2019 Announces Complete Lineup

SEATTLE – Wednesday, May 1, 2019— The Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States, announced today the complete lineup of films, guests, and events for the 45th annual 25-day Festival that runs May 16 – June 9, 2019. This year, SIFF will screen 410 films representing 86 countries and will include: 147 features (plus 4 secret films), 71 documentaries, 12 archival films, and 176 shorts. The lineup includes 33 World premieres (12 features, 21 shorts), 42 North American premieres (27 features, 15 shorts), and 19 US premieres (11 features, 8 shorts). Read More

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Lynn Shelton’s ‘SWORD OF TRUST’ To Open 45th Seattle International Film Festival

In their 45th year, the Seattle International Film Festival continues their trend of picking up the scraps from SXSW declaring their opening night film to be Sword of Trust from Seattle native Lynn Shelton. The film received mostly positive marks at its Austin, TX debut where critics commented on its performances and timely political bent, though many rewarded the film with their approval rather than outright admiration. The full press release from the Seattle International Film Festival follows. Read More