Sword of Trust
Sword of Trust

Sword of Trust, the latest work by Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton, will be the Opening Night film of the 45th annual Seattle International Film Festival on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Both Shelton and Marc Maron, star of the film, are scheduled to attend.

In Shelton’s latest film, two women (Bell and Watkins) attempt to unload an inherited Civil War sword onto a curmudgeonly pawnshop owner (Maron) and reluctantly enter a world of conspiracy theory and Southern disillusionment.

On the internet, value, as well as beauty, is in the hand of the sword-holder-a truth exploited by the ensemble of characters that inhabit the small-town Southern world of this latest comic gem from Seattle native Lynn Shelton. The titular McGuffin of this shaggy-dog story is an old Civil War sword inherited by lesbian couple Cynthia (Jillian Bell) and Mary (Michaela Watkins), who seek the advice of Alabama pawnshop owner Mel (comedian and podcaster Marc Maron). Disbelieving the claims of Cynthia’s grandfather that the sword had been offered in surrender-by the U.S. Army-Mel offers a paltry $400. However, after some digging through the web’s shadier conspiracy-theory websites, Mel’s dim assistant (Jonathan Bass) uncovers potential buyers who insist the South secretly won the Civil War, and who might be willing to part with 100 times Mel’s offer. Thus begins a farcical odyssey into the underbelly of Southern paranoia and revisionist history. Using her signature improv-style directing technique, Shelton lets her actors react naturalistically to the outlandish situations they encounter, including nefarious backwoods characters who covet the chance to own proof of their own delusions. Full of caustic but never mean-spirited wit, Shelton’s Sword of Trust could be called her uproarious, goofy response to the rise of MAGA culture in America.

Sword of Trust is written and directed by Shelton (Outside In, Laggies) and features Marc Maron (Late Show with David Letterman, WTF with Marc Maron, GLOW), Jon Bass (Baywatch, Molly’s Game), Michaela Watkins (Brigsby Bear, Enough Said), Jillian Bell (Workaholics, 22 Jump Street), and Toby Huss (King of the Hill, Halt and Catch Fire). The film made its world premiere at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival to audience acclaim and IFC Films will open the film in July.

“Lynn is a beloved friend of SIFF, having been part of the festival for over a decade, and we are overjoyed to celebrate her hilarious new feature film as we kick off the 45th year of the festival,” said SIFF Artistic Director Beth Barrett. “In our contemporary landscape where truth is a point of political debate, Sword of Trust invites audiences to find the humor in the phenomenon of historical revisionism.”

“Seattle is my hometown and any time a film of mine screens in the festival, it has a special significance for me,” said Shelton. “But OPENING the festival? I can’t even begin to express how much this means, what a supreme honor and thrill it is.”

As the longest and highest attended film festival in North America, SIFF runs May 16 through June 9, featuring hundreds of films at venues across the greater Seattle area. 

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