Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 08/07/2020
Running Time: 120
Rated: R
Cast: Liam Neeson, Micheál Richardson, Valeria Bilello and Lindsay Duncan.
Crew: Director: James D'Arcy. Producers: Michael S. Constable, Pippa Cross, Alessandro Mascheroni, Alberto Monte and Sam Tipper-Hale. Executive Producers: Janette Day, Anders Erden, Tara Finegan, Marie Gabrielle Stewart and Peter Touche. Screenwriter: James D'Arcy. Cinematographer: Mike Eley.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Liam Neeson, best known as the tough guy with the “special set of skills” in actioners like “Taken,” “Run All Night” and “Non-Stop,” shows a softer and compassionate side in his latest movie, “Made In Italy.”

Directed and written by actor James D’Arcy (“Avengers: Endgame” and “Dunkirk”), “Made in Italy” is a slow moving, yet gripping drama set in beautiful Tuscany, Italy.

Neeson plays a well-renowned London artist named Robert who tries to reconnect with his estranged 25-year-old son Jack (Neeson’s real-life son, Michael Richardson, TV’s “Big Dogs”).

A family tragedy has left them miserable and they haven’t spoken to each other since Jack was a kid.
Now, Jack is forced to reach out to his father when Jack’s wife Raffaella (Helena Antonio, “Sunburn”) tells him that not only is she buying the British art gallery he’s been managing so well, but that she’s also ready to finalize their divorce.

She gives Jack one month to come up with his portion of the money. Jack and his dad own the family house in Tuscany and Robert had been planning to sell it. When they return to their old stomping ground, Jack is stunned to see that the house he grew up in and had so many wonderful memories, is completely rundown. He’s mad that his father just let the place go.

They’ll need the Property Brothers, Chip and Joanna Gaines and a whole lot of divine intervention before they can get this place on the market and turn-key ready. The clock is ticking.

Despite its appearance, the house still has plenty of character according their local real estate agent Kate (Lindsay Duncan, “Gifted”). Plus, it’s all about location and Tuscany is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Then again, Kate might say anything just to get in good and next to Robert. She really does give them some good advice about the place and before long some local handymen who have admired the house for years jump in and help with the renovations.

Meanwhile, Jack’s anger toward his father subsides a bit when he meets restaurant owner and chef Natalia (Valeria Bilello, TV’s “Curon”).

Although Natalia proves to be a calming force for Jack, she also has a young daughter and her husband is still in the picture which leaves Jack in limbo again.

As Jack and Robert work to paint and restore the house, they slowly begin to honestly and tearfully opens up and talk about the pain and anguish that has consumed them for so many years. It helps and begins to mend their relationship.

“Made in Italy” is a thoughtful father and son movie. It’s good to see Neeson step away from all the wild, action stuff. Fans don’t need to worry though. Neeson will be back to his old ways busting things up again in his upcoming movie “Honest Thief.” Until then, “Made in Italy” is a nice departure.

“Made in Italy” is available on VOD starting Aug. 7.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Look At This Trailer For "MADE IN ITALY"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.

Rated: R
Opens: 08/07/2020
She Dies Tomorrow

Rated: R
Opens: 08/07/2020
Skin Walker

Rated: PG
Opens: 07/31/2020
The Secret: Dare To Dream

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 07/31/2020
The Cuban

Rated: R
Opens: 07/24/2020
The Rental

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 07/16/2020
Fatal Affair


<b>“The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.”</b> Title: “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.”
Year Released: 1977
Running Time: 110
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: John Badham
Director of Photography: Bill Butler
Screenwriter: William Brashler
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: It must have been my recent chance meeting with former Dodger legend Dusty Baker that turned my attention to the Dodgers and baseball in particular. Then again, baseball season is right around the corner, so this review was just meant to me.

The truth is, I realized I hadn’t reviewed any baseball movies in a long time. One of my favorite...

Bombshell <b> (March 10)</b> Title: Bombshell (March 10)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 109
Production Company: Summit Inc/Lionsgate
Director: Jay Roach
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


In “Bombshell” director Jay Roach (“Trumbo”) doesn’t pull many punches and rips the skin right off to expose the Fox News organization for its alleged involvement in a shocking sexual harassment scandal in 2016 that nearly toppled the network and spawned the #MeToo movement.

Charlize Theron is spot on as newscaster Megyn Kelly. So is Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Gretchen Carlson, Margot Robbie plays a fictional character and John Lithgow channels former Fox CEO Roger Ailes.

“Bombshell” earned three Oscar nominations at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, “Best Actress” (Theron), “Best Supporting Actress” (Robbie) and it won for “Best Makeup and Hairstyling.”

The movie focuses on the women reporters and the sexist environment they stated they were subjected to. When Carlson (Kidman) is fired, she sues Ailes for sexual harassment and that sets this drama into motion.

While “Bombshell” is a film with an important message, it also feels rushed and limited and doesn’t go deep enough into the issues. Still, it shines a much-needed spotlight on women standing up, speaking up and refusing to be bullied and sexually harassed in the newsroom and beyond.

Editor’s Note: Here are the “Bombshell” Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Special Features:

1. "No Easy Truths: The Making of Bombshell" 7-Part Documentary:
2. "Convergence: Genesis of the Film" Featurette
3. "Quid Pro Quo: Charlize, Nicole, Margot, John" Featurette
4. "Human Dynamics: The Ensemble Cast" Featurette
5. "Breaking the Fourth Wall: Visual Design" Featurette
6. "Layer by Layer: Makeup, Hair & Clothing" Featurette
7. "A Unique Skill Set: Jay Roach" Featurette
8. "Catalyst for Change: Parting Thoughts" Featurette.

Uncut Gems <b>(March 10) </b> Title: Uncut Gems (March 10)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 135
Production Company: A24 Productions
Director: Benny And Josh Safdie
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


In “Uncut Gems,” Adam Sandler gets serious and ditches his goofball comedy routine for a serious and impressive, hard-core turn as a slick, New York City jeweler and compulsive gambler.

Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie (“Good Time”), “Uncut Gems” is set in 2012 in New York City’s Diamond District. It’s here that Howard Ratner (Sandler) has a popular jewelry store that’s frequented by regular folks but mostly high-end clientele; pro athletes like NBA star Kevin Garnett who loves that bling.

When Howard’s right-hand man, Demany (Lakeith Stanfield, “The Photograph”) convinces KG to come in and see a rare opal stone that Howard somehow managed to hide in a dead fish and smuggle from Ethiopia, Kevin accepts the invite.

Once Kevin sees the piece, he wants to hold on to it as a good luck charm for his upcoming game. He offers to give Howard his championship in return.
Talk about tit for tat. Howard is a gambler. So, his instincts kick in and he hocks the ring and bets on it hoping to use his winnings to purchase the ring back.

Nothing quite goes the way Howard plans. Not only is Howard a bad gambler, but a terrible liar too.
His sleazy lifestyle has taken a toll on his wife, Dinah (Idina Menzel, “Frozen II”) who has had enough of him and his side chick Julia (Julia Fox, “PVT Chat”). The loan sharks are circling too because Howard owes them tons of money.

These goons are only going to wait so long before they make him pay one way or the other. The smartest thing Howard ever did was bullet proof his office glass doors and hire some intimidating guards out front to keep out the riffraff. However, trouble, still manages to find Howard at most every turn. The guy just never learns.

You know it’s just a matter of time before Howard runs out of luck. But the buildup to how it’s all going to come crashing down on him and watching as he tries to weasel his way out of every predicament, is what makes “Uncut Gems” a real gem.

The Lion King <b>(Oct. 22)</b> Title: The Lion King (Oct. 22)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 118
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Jon Favreau
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Disney’s “The Lion King” is a stunning re-imagining of the 1994 original movie.

Directed and produced by Jon Favreau (“Spider-Man: Far from Home”) who also helmed 2016’s outstanding movie, “The Jungle Book.”

When it comes to a classic like the original “Lion King,” sentimentality among fans runs deep. But, for those experiencing “The Lion King” for the first time, there is plenty of magic and wonder to be found in this beautifully rendered version.

Aside from the live setting, Favreau didn’t change much from the original. Even the dialogue is pretty much word for word.

What makes “The Lion King” really roar is how spectacular it looks and how realistic the animals are. It’s as if while watching the film you’re transported to an African Savanna.

Favreau and his talented filmmaking crew utilized state of the art motion capture technology and it’s a seamless transition that makes it appear as if the lions: Mufasa (voiced by the legendary James Earl Jones, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), young Simba, played by JD McCrary (“Little” and TV’s “American Soul”) and Donald Glover (TV’s “Atlanta,”), Nala (a terrific Beyoncé), Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave” ) really can talk.

“The Lion King” is just a fabulous story. You’d have to go to great lengths to mess this up which is why I appreciate the few subtle liberties the filmmakers did take with it.

I like its dark moments that play out especially among the hyenas which are led by Kamari (a terrific Keegan-Michael Key, “Toy Story 4”). Ejiofer is also outstanding as Scar, the low-down dirty brother of Mufasa and the uncle of Simba. Scar manipulates his way to become king of the Pride Lands.

Seth Rogan as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon the meerkat are hilarious and have scene stealing moments. Although I would have enjoyed seeing and hearing more from Sarabi (Alfre Woodard, TV’s “Luke Cage”).

Simba also reconnects with his childhood friend Nala first voiced by (Shahadi Wright Joseph, “Us”) and later as Beyoncé who shines. They all convince Simba of his rightful place and that he must retain control of the Kingdom which is everything the light touches.

The music of “The Lion King” is unforgettable this time around too. When Nala/Beyoncé and Simba/Glover belt out “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” it’s palpable.

Equally moving is McCrary and Wright Joseph’s snappy, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and McCrary holds nothing back on “Hakuna Matata.”

Elton John’s new track “Never too Late” is a winner too.

It really is possible to love the original “Lion King” and this one too. It stands on its own and is a classic for a new generation.
(Highly Recommended).

Editor’s Note: The Blu-ray and Digital DVDs of “The Lion King” offers viewers bonus features:

AUDIO COMMENTARY – By Director Jon Favreau.

PROTECT THE PRIDE – Director Jon Favreau, the Lion Recovery Fund and conservationists highlight efforts to protect the majestic lions and their home.

PERFECTING THE PRIDE – Join the filmmakers on their research trip to Africa as they immerse themselves in the real world of “The Lion King.” From the animals in the pride, to the smallest of insects and the grasslands in the savanna, experience the attention to detail that brought the film to life.

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE-- Pride Lands Pedia —Dung beetle shares the importance of his “roll” in the African Savanna in a fun, bug’s eye view of the land and its inhabitants.

BLU-RAY & DIGITAL BONUS: The Journey to “The Lion King”

THE MUSIC-- Go inside the studio with the cast and crew as they work to honor and elevate The Lion King’s beloved music.

THE MAGIC– Discover how the filmmakers blended the traditional filmmaking techniques with virtual reality technology to create amazing movie magic.

The Timeless Tale– Filmmakers and cast reflect on the story that has moved generations and share how this Lion King carries a proud legacy forward.

MORE TO BE SCENE – Recording studio and layer-by-layer progressions of some of most iconic moments in “The Lion King.”

“CIRCLE OF LIFE”– Peel back the layers of effects and go behind the scenes of this iconic musical moment from the film.

“I JUST CAN’T WAIT TO BE KING”-- See all the effects, talent and fun that went into creating this vibrant version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” for the movie.

“HAKUNA MATATA”-- Join Donald Glover (Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon) in the studio for the making of this memorable scene.

MUSIC VIDEOS: “Never Too Late” (lyric video) by Elton John and “Spirit” performed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

SONG SELECTION: “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” “Be Prepared,” “Hakuna Matata,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Spirit” and “Never Too Late.”

Stuber <b> (Oct. 22)</b> Title: Stuber (Oct. 22)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 93
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Michael Dowse
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


The outlandish dramedy“Stuber” is an over-the-top, violent, actioner that features a hilarious star turn from Kumail Nanjiani (TV’s “Silicon Valley”) and Dave Bautista (Drax The Destroyer, “Avengers: Endgame”/”Guardians of the Galaxy”).

Nanjiani plays a mild-mannered Uber driver named Stu. When you put Stu and Uber together you get “Stuber.”
By day, Stu works as a sales associate at a sporting goods store run by his jerk boss Richie Sandusky (Jimmy Tatro, TV’s “Modern Family”). Stu hates him and the lame job. He drives an Uber to make ends meet, but it’s really to try and get next to the girl of his dreams, Becca (Betty Gilpin, TV’s “GLOW”).

Although they had a one-night stand, their relationship hasn’t taken off and it’s driving Stu crazy. He loves Becca, wants more than a friendship and is willing to take things to the next level. So much so, he even invested a chunk of his money in a new “Spinster” cycling-class business Becca is launching.

However, Becca is kind of in a relationship with a pro basketball player who has agreed to be a spokesperson for her new company. Despite his best intentions, Stu is pretty much an afterthought for Becca.

Can life possibly get any worse for poor Stu?

Oh yes, it can.

What should have been just another routine day of driving customers around in his nice, leased Nissan Leaf, becomes a real nightmare.

That’s because LAPD police detective Victor "Vic" Manning, (Bautista) got a lead on a heroin dealer named Tedjo (Iko Uwais, “The Raid 2”). He’s been after this guy for years. Tedjo killed Vic’s partner Sarah Morris (Karen Gillan, “Avengers: Endgame”) so it’s payback time.

Here’s the thing. Vic just had Lasik eye surgery and can barely see. The doctor told him he can’t really do anything for a few days until his vision is fully restored.

Vic refuses to just sit around and let Tedjo get away again. Plus, he has a lot to prove to his boss Angie (Mia Sorvino, TV’s “The Code”). So, Vic hops in his car, all blurry eyed and runs over his neighbor’s yards and ultimately lands in a ditch. He finally realizes he can’t drive. He decides to call an Uber. It’s a good thing his art sculptor daughter Nicole (Natalie Morales, TV’s “Abby’s) set up the app on his phone.

When Stu gets the call, he picks up Vic not knowing the wild ride he’s about to take. Really all Stu is worried about is getting that coveted 5-Star Uber rating.

Vic and Stu are such opposites. They bicker back and forth about pursuing Tedjo, you expect they’ll kill each other before they catch him.

Yet, watching Vic’s brash, super masculine persona clash with Stu’s meek and calm demeanor as they get into one dangerous and crazy predicament after the other, is when the film really revs into high gear.
Which Of The Following Stars of "The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings" Won A Tony Award As "Best Supporting Actor In A Musical?"
"Ted Ross"
"Richard Pryor"
"Billy Dee Williams'"
" James Earl Jones"


The Critics’ Choice Association (CCA) announced that starting (July 21) early bird submissions are being accepted for the Fifth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards, which will honor the finest achievements in documentaries released in theaters, on TV, and on major digital platforms, as determined by the voting of qualified CCA members.

Nominations will be announced on Monday, October 19. Due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the final date and format of the awards ceremony is still to be determined. Nevertheless, the year’s finest documentary achievements will be given the recognition they so deeply deserve.

Fifth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards Timeline:

Early Bird Submissions Open: Monday, July 20 -

End of Early Bird Submissions Discount: Monday, August 31

Final Deadline for Submissions: Friday, September 25

Nominations Announced: Monday, October 19 Critics Choice Documentary Awards: TBD

Critics Choice Association CEO Joey Berlin adds, “We are looking forward to celebrating the incredible work of these filmmakers who have released tremendous documentaries over the past year. It has become even more clear during these challenging times, the cultural significance that documentaries have, and how they can enlighten and educate our society.”

In order to be eligible, the documentary will have premiered between November 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020. Documentaries may have premiered theatrically (or be scheduled to premiere) during that period, or been made available via broadcast, cable, or digital services.

At last year’s fourth annual CCDA event, “Apollo 11” took home the evening’s most prestigious award for Best Documentary, along with four other awards, making it the most decorated of the evening. There was a tie for Best Director between Peter Jackson for “They Shall Not Grow Old,” and Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar for “American Factory.”

Award Categories for the Fifth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards will include:

Best Documentary Feature, Best Director, Best First Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, Best Narration, Best Score, Best Editing, Best Archival Documentary, Best Political Documentary, Best Biographical Documentary, Best Science and Nature Documentary, Best Sports Documentary, Best Music Documentary, Best Documentary Short and Most Compelling Living Subject.


The Critics Choice Documentary Awards are an off-shoot of The Critics Choice Awards, which are bestowed annually by CCA to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. Historically, the Critics Choice Awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.


The Critics’ Choice Association is the largest critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 400 television, radio and online critics and entertainment reporters. It was organized last year with the formal merger of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, recognizing the blurring of the distinctions between film, television, and streaming content.

For more information, visit:

Information used in this report obtained from The Critics' Choice Association.

ACADEMY GOLD By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is proud to announce commitments from 19 partner companies in its fourth year of "Academy Gold,” an entertainment industry internship enhancement and mentorship program for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities.

Participating partners include AMC Networks, Bron Studios, Circle of Confusion, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), The Walt Disney Company, Dolby Laboratories, DTS (part of Xperi Corporation), FotoKem, HBO, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Evolve Entertainment Fund, Moving Picture Institute, Panavision/Light Iron, Paradigm Talent Agency, Paramount Pictures, Participant Media, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Telsey + Company, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and Warner Bros.

The summer program will be virtual due to the on-going global COVID-19 pandemic, and there will be an extension program in the fall for those students whose summer internships were put on hold due to the health crisis.

“We are so thankful for our industry partners, who share the Academy’s commitment to creating meaningful opportunities that move the needle on inclusion in our community,” said Academy governor and Education and Outreach Committee chair Nancy Utley. “Their support is integral to the success of Academy Gold, and we commend them on finding innovative ways to continue their internship programs during this challenging and uncertain time.”

“In the face of a pandemic and our continued efforts to drive equity in our industry, the decision on whether or not to proceed with the Academy Gold program this summer was very clear,” said Academy COO Christine Simmons. “Our pipeline program is even more critical at a time when underrepresented communities are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The needs are heightened, and we are dedicated to delivering an educational, fun and rewarding virtual experience for these students and young professionals that will change their trajectory in our industry.”

Each of the partners will sponsor up to three of their interns for the program, which kicks off today (6/17) with a two-day orientation that includes Academy governors, members and other industry speakers, studio and agency panels, and virtual tours of the Academy’s Film Archive, Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

This summer, 74 students (including 19 interns placed within the Academy) from across the United States and abroad will participate in Academy Gold. The eight-week program, which concludes with a graduation ceremony on August 8, offers participants networking opportunities with Academy members and industry professionals, a variety of panel discussions on every aspect of filmmaking, and career preparation sessions.

The program also has a production track with online technical workshops and masterclasses for students interested in cinematography, costume design, production design, film editing and sound. In the fall, once production in Los Angeles has resumed and guidelines permit, these 30 students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience shooting scenes on a soundstage and spend time on active productions shadowing various departments.

Participants include students from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Evolve Entertainment Fund, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Pasadena Community College, Santa Monica College, Los Angeles Film School, New York Film Academy, Exceptional Minds and the Ruderman Family Foundation.

Academy members and industry professionals will participate in panels discussing their crafts, including: Stephanie Allain (producer); Victoria Alonso (EVP, Production, Marvel Studios); Annie Chang (VP, Creative Technologies, Universal Pictures); Oscar winner Matthew Cherry (writer-director, “Hair Love”); Jon M. Chu (director, “Crazy Rich Asians”); Julie Ann Crommett (VP, Multicultural Audience Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios); Michael Goi (cinematographer); Tiffany Haddish (actor); Reginald Hudlin (producer-director); Franklin Leonard (founder and CEO, The Black List); Patrushkha Mierzwa (sound technician); Rachel Morrison (cinematographer, “Black Panther”); Daryn Okada (cinematographer); Academy President David Rubin (casting director); Kimberly Snyder (CEO, Panavision); Wynn P. Thomas (production designer); Karen Rupert Toliver (EVP, Creative, Sony Pictures Animation); Mark Ulano (sound mixer); and Mary Vogt (costume designer), among others.

Upon completion of the program, all Gold interns will be paired with an Academy member for an eight-month mentorship. This past year, members from every branch volunteered their time and support to the program, including such mentors as Bobbi Banks, Sterling K. Brown, Bruce Cohen, Joyce Cox, Michael Goi, Jane Jenkins, Eric Roth, Taura Stinson and Virgil Williams.

Academy Gold affords top film entertainment, technology, production services and digital media companies an opportunity to recruit and educate a nationwide pool of diverse talent. To date, there are nearly 300 past Academy Gold program participants, more than 85% of whom have moved into positions within the industry, with 27% in positions higher than entry level, and represent 74% people of color, 64% women, 30% LGBTQ+ and 6% with disability.

An alumni program has been established to provide a continuum of support for all participants in the Academy’s talent development programs, including the Academy Gold internship program, Student Academy Awards, Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, and the Academy Gold Fellowship for Women. The Gold Alumni Program will provide networking opportunities, access and career advancement services and offer affinity groups for Black and African American, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+ and women alumni to network with others who share similar identities, backgrounds and experiences. The program will also track participants’ career progression and successes through a database, offering a diverse talent pipeline for the industry.

The Academy Gold Production Track is made possible in part by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Additional support for Academy Gold is provided by The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., Ruderman Family Foundation, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Leon Silverman, and Charles de Limur.

For more information about the Academy Gold program, visit


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 9,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

Editor's Note: Information used in this report obtained from the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

LYNN SHELTON By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


To honor the legacy of beloved filmmaker Lynn Shelton, Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum, alongside Duplass Brothers Productions, are launching the Lynn Shelton “Of a Certain Age” Grant.

The $25,000 unrestricted cash grant will be awarded each year to a US-based woman or non-binary filmmaker, age 39 or older, who has yet to direct a narrative feature.

Shelton often spoke of feeling inspired after seeing filmmaker Claire Denis speak at Northwest Film Forum and learning that Denis did not make her first feature until age 40. Shelton went on to make her own first feature film (“We Go Way Back”) at the age of 39. In the years since, she built a prolific canon of feature and television work and made an indelible mark on the landscape of American cinema.

“This grant seeks to reinforce that great filmmakers can emerge at any age, and to elevate the voices of a segment of the filmmaking community who have precious few resources dedicated to supporting them yet plenty of stories to tell,” explains Megan Griffiths, Shelton’s longtime friend and collaborator, who is working in her capacity as a member of the board of Northwest Film Forum to help establish the grant. “Lynn was 39 when I met her on her first feature, and I watched her grow as an artist and become more certain in her path with every passing year. She wore her ‘late bloomer’ status as a badge of honor and we know she would be thrilled that this grant exists in her name.”

The grant fund was spearheaded by Duplass Brothers Productions, which includes: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass and Mel Eslyn, and has since been bolstered by many others, including Washington-based production company COLOR, Tracy Rector, Eliza Flug, Marc Maron, Joshua Leonard & Alison Pill, Michaela Watkins & Fred Kramer, CB Shamah, Chris & Philip Wohlstetter, and Jennessa & Robert West.

It will be stewarded by Northwest Film Forum, one of Shelton’s favorite non-profit organizations and a community film center that supported her in her early years and throughout her career.

"In an industry where women, non-binary, and trans individuals have historically had less success and visibility, hearing Lynn Shelton's story of coming into film at an older age has been extremely inspiring," says Vivian Hua, Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum. "The scope of this grant will ensure a positive impact on the lives of future recipients for years to come."

Mel Eslyn, president of Duplass Brothers Productions, adds, "There was an appreciation and an immediacy to the way Lynn approached her film and TV career, which she openly credited to her ‘late start.’ Now finding myself approaching the same age Lynn got started, I find it comical to think we call 39 a ‘late start.’ But the reality is there is just not enough representation of women over a ‘certain age’ in media, in front of, but even more so, behind the camera. We hope that this grant can be a meaningful step towards helping to change that."

Nominations for the Lynn Shelton “Of a Certain Age” Grant are being sought from a national Advisory Committee made up of film programmers, filmmakers, and arts leaders, demonstrating expertise on the current filmmaking landscape and knowledge of emerging filmmakers from around the country.

Some of these names are: Beth Barrett (Seattle International Film Festival), Emily Best (Seed & Spark), Effie Brown (Gamechanger Films), Kat Candler (filmmaker), Amy Dotson (Northwest Film Center), Miranda July (filmmaker), Mynette Louie (producer), Leah Meyerhoff (Film Fatales), Lucy Mukerjee (Tribeca Film Festival), Janet Pierson (SXSW Film Festival), Mike Plante (Sundance Film Festival), Rishi Rajani (Hillman Grad), and Tracy Rector (filmmaker/activist), among others. An Award Selection Committee will determine the recipient of the grant. Northwest Film Forum will award the inaugural grant in 2020.

Shelton emerged from her hometown of Seattle to become a major force in American independent cinema and a prolific television director. She was a vibrant, kind, creative human being. Her work drew acclaim for its compassion, humor, unique voice and wonderful performances. Shelton directed eight features including: “Humpday” (2009), “Your Sister's Sister” (2011), “Outside” in (2018), and last year's “Sword of Trust.” Shelton also worked in television, directing memorable episodes of acclaimed series such as “Mad Men,” “GLOW,” “The Mindy Project,” and “Little Fires Everywhere.”

For those looking to give in her honor, donations to the Shelton/Seal Family Fund for the Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children, or Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum are encouraged.


Northwest Film Forum incites public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences.A nonprofit film and arts center located in Seattle, Northwest Film Forum presents hundreds of films, festivals, community events, multidisciplinary performances, and public discussions each year. A comprehensive visual media organization, the Forum offers educational workshops and artist services.

Editor’s Note Information used in this report obtained from Northwest Film Forum publicity.