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Lynn Shelton (1965–2020), “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Humpday” director

by Linnea Crowther

Lynn Shelton was a writer, director, and producer known for films including “Humpday” (2009), as well as for directing episodes of TV shows including “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Mad Men,” and “GLOW.”

Indie films and TV success

Shelton got her start writing and directing indie films, beginning with 2006’s “We Go Way Back.” She received attention for “Humpday,” which was a winner at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and Gijon International Film Festival. Her other films include “Touchy Feely” (2013), “Sword of Trust” (2019), and “Laggies” (2014), the only film she directed but didn’t write. As she worked on indie films, Shelton initially got into TV directing to help pay the bills, later discovering she liked the different medium. She directed episodes of TV shows including “Mad Men,” “New Girl,” “The Mindy Project,” “Master of None,” and “GLOW.” Her most recent project was directing four episodes of the Hulu miniseries “Little Fires Everywhere,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

Shelton on the challenges of directing indie films

“Because of the massive, massive quantity of content [out there], just an ocean of content, unless you have a machine behind you to wave flags in the air that nobody can ignore, you can make the best work you’ve ever made in your life and the vast majority of the people in the world will not see it. That’s a little heartbreaking.” —from a 2019 interview with Vanity Fair

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What people said about her

Full obituary: The New York Times

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