A year after she was murdered, Adrienne Shelly has become one of New York’s leading indie-film brands, thanks to her husband, Andy Ostroy, a marketing exec who has dedicated himself to her memory through branding. “I’m just trying to capitalize on every opportunity,” he says. “It’s all to channel her.” Shelly’s film Waitress premiered at Sundance in January and went on to gross $19 million at the box office. This fall, Ostroy handpicked Waitress co-star Cheryl Hines—she’s Cheryl David on Curb Your Enthusiasm—to direct Shelly’s Serious Moonlight. And on November 12, the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, the nonprofit he created to support female filmmakers, will hold its inaugural benefit at NYU’s Skirball Center, featuring Matt Dillon, Edie Falco, and Mary-Louise Parker reading one of her unproduced screenplays and a solo set by Alanis Morissette. Ostroy found sponsors to provide grants—from $5,000 to $10,000—for women directors in Shelly’s name, and in May, CoverGirl—Waitress star Keri Russell is a spokesmodel—donated $15,000 to the foundation. Ostroy knows that this work is, as much as anything, about perpetuating Shelly’s ideals. “Like most icons who die way before they should have, there’s this mythical aura around her,” he says. “That’s really what I’ve been trying to do for her.” Call it marketing as catharsis. “If Adrienne was still here, they’d be wondering what she’s doing next,” Hines says. “And in a way, she’s still doing something next.”
The afterlife of a filmmaker.
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