Northwest Film Forum Opens Applications for the Second Installment of the Lynn Shelton “Of A Certain Age” Grant
Awards $25,000 To One Woman, Non-Binary, and/or Transgender Filmmaker Age 39 Or Older Working on Their First Narrative Feature
Seattle, WA – August 10, 2021 – In 2020, Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum (NWFF), alongside Duplass Brothers Productions and with major support from COLOR, launched their inaugural Lynn Shelton “Of a Certain Age” Grant to honor the legacy of beloved late filmmaker Lynn Shelton. Shelton often spoke of seeing filmmaker Claire Denis at NWFF and feeling inspired that Denis did not make her first feature until age 40. At age 39, Shelton then went on to make her own first feature film (We Go Way Back); she followed it with a prolific canon of feature and television work which made an indelible mark on the landscape of American cinema.
Now in its second year, the Lynn Shelton “Of a Certain Age” grant awards $25,000 to a US-based woman, non-binary, or transgender filmmaker, age 39 or older, who has yet to direct a narrative feature. The recipient of the 2020 Lynn Shelton “Of A Certain Age” grant was Keisha Rae Witherspoon, a Caribbean-American filmmaker based in Miami.
“After nearly two decades of self-discovery, coursing—most often as a voyeur, through exclusive and often intimidating creative communities—and finally piecing together my career and creative identity from limited optics and examples, I’ve arrived at this new existence as a ‘40-year-old emerging filmmaker,’” explains Keisha Rae Witherspoon in her 2020 letter to the Award Selection Committee. “I’ve often been my own source of strength to push through these spaces, because I had to—because my unheard voice was my community’s, and it deserves more.”
Megan Griffiths, a NWFF board member and Shelton’s longtime friend and collaborator, helped establish the grant last summer. She explains, “As last year’s process revealed, this grant fills a void in our industry. The large number of talented individuals whose materials were viewed by last year’s award selection committee was truly inspiring, and showcased just how overlooked this population of filmmakers has been. Lynn demonstrated through her life and work that great filmmakers can emerge at any age, and this grant seeks to reinforce that idea and put real institutional weight behind helping them do it.”