Shelly group greenlights film grants

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NEW YORK -- The Adrienne Shelly Foundation has announced a series of awards and initiatives dedicated to help female filmmakers and honor the memory of the slain actress-director.

The American Film Institute's Los Angeles-based Directing Workshop for Women is launching the ASF Production Grant in the spring. ASF will underwrite an Adrienne Shelly Master Class in Directing as part of the program.

The Columbia University School of the Arts Film Division is launching an annual Adrienne Shelly Award for best female director to new filmmakers. The group New York Women in Film & Television also is initiating an annual ASF Finishing Funds Grant. Each award will be launched in the spring.

In the fall, the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television division of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts will begin an annual ASF scholarship for a sophomore student.

No figures were disclosed for each award, but the total funds allocated for all of them represent 40% of the six-figure ASF fund raised and pledged since the organization was founded in December.

The awards were developed at the first ASF meeting, which included board members Rosanna Arquette, Emily Deschanel, Sasha Eden, Annette Insdorf, Hal Hartley, Andrew Hollander, Ted Hope, John Logigian, Bennett Miller, Peter Newman, Reid Rosefelt, Paul Rudd, Keri Russell, Jen Small, Fisher Stevens and Jeremy Walker.

The members of ASF's board of directors are Shelly's widower Andy Ostroy, Liz Benjamin, Michelle Byrd and Dan Katcher.

Shelly's final directorial effort, "Waitress," was acquired by Fox Searchlight after its January premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and will be released in theaters in May.
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