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Into The Sunset
"Baby don't you cry, gonna make you a pie.” --Jenna

WAITRESS was shot in Canyon Country, CA, which served as a perfect stand-in for the small-town South of Joe's Diner. The production whizzed by in just 20 non-stop days, with cinematographer Matthew Irving shooting the film entirely on 35mm film, which he finished with a traditional photochemical, rather than digital, process, lending an elegance to the homespun comedy. The picture had been through post-production and was locked before Adrienne Shelly passed away.

For Shelly, the fast-and-furious pace and micro-budget pressures of indie filmmaking were all part of the fun and challenge of WAITRESS, which she relished. "I often work on low budget films,” Shelly said at the time. "I was kind of raised in the film industry that way. I think I was 21 when I made my first film. We made it for $75,000 and shot it on 35mm in ten days. I was the lead actress and I got only one take per scene. We sort of all slept in the same room -- the makeup girl on the floor and the continuity lady and me -- and we all camped out in sleeping bags. I've done ridiculously small films and you can really get very creative on them. So I know how to make compromises and make things work.”

Yet it seems that few creative comprises were made on WAITRESS, which stands as Shelly's most accomplished film and a tribute to her irreverent and vibrant view of life. In one of the final interviews done with Shelly on the set, the writer, director and actress looks into a camera with a slightly dirty lens, which on tape accentuates the bright morning sunlight of a cloudless day. As Shelly talks, a slight wind blows and a few golden leaves dance through the frame.

"I feel like there are a hundred people around me all the time, all rooting for this thing to go well,” she says. "And it's a beautiful feeling and I'm going to be really sad when it's over, you know, ‘cause there's -- this is gonna sound real hokey -- there's a lot of love on this set.”

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