Lynn Shelton and I once took a ride on a Memphis riverboat. We sat on flimsy chairs day drinking, watching the mighty Mississippi drag by. There we were, amidst a mix of filmmakers, critics, festival heads and loveable weirdos all clumped together making pleasantries, talking about where they were from, their latest films, where the best BBQ was hiding in Tennessee.
But that whole journey, Lynn was trying to get me pregnant. I had one of the best, deepest, most honest conversations of my life with her—a person I’d only met the day before, mind you—as she told me her story, the story of her young son, and basically convinced me that as soon as I got home, I needed to get to work and get to the good stuff of becoming a mom. I told her that I worried that I’d just started a new job, had finally gotten back to New York, had just started producing my first feature film. She handed me another drink, enlisted two additional filmmaker mom friends named Alison to pull up chairs, and somehow, they convinced me to stop worrying and go for what I really wanted, consequences be damned.
We had our son 10 months later. This was a woman who made amazing things come to life.
Lynn shockingly passed away this week at the age of 54 after a storied, but all too short career in film and television. Although all of Lynn’s work is wonderfully memorable—from her recent Little Fires Everywhere to my personal favorite, the totally bizarre and loveable, Humpday—she’s one of the rare people in our business actually equally admired for her talents as she was for being a stellar human being. Many knew her epic kindness, warmth, laughter, and rare ability to bring out the best from everyone she met. She made folks feel cherished. Lynn meant so much to so many struggling to find their place in this world and she meant so much to me. I can’t recommend highly enough getting to know this incredible creator and honoring the memory of this beloved writer, director, and editor, woman, mother, and oh, so much more.