Seattle director Lynn Shelton’s latest film, Outside In, opens at SIFF this Friday, April 6; the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017, and had its U.S. premiere last month at SXSW. It stars Jay Duplass as a convicted felon attempting to reassemble his life after 20 years of wrongful imprisonment and explores his relationship with his former high school teacher, Carol (played by Edie Falco), who was key to securing his freedom.
Critics are praising the performances in the film, particularly Falco’s, as does Outside In producer Lacey Leavitt. “When [Falco] became Carol, she completely transformed, including down to her walk. She’s absolutely captivating on screen and seeing it for the first time on set really took my breath away,” Leavitt says. “All of the actors—Jay, Kaitlyn [Dever], Ben [Schwartz]—they all just completely inhabited the world Lynn and Jay created.”
Leavitt recently started a production company called Electric Dream Factory and has been making films in Seattle for the past decade. She often works closely with Shelton and other local filmmakers, including Megan Griffiths (whose new film Sadie premiered at SXSW as well). Outside In is Shelton’s seventh consecutive feature shot in Washington State.
The film was shot primarily in Granite Falls, a town with a population of about 3,000, shooting for 20 days in October and November of 2016 and totaling over 500 days of work for local crew. Nine out of the film’s fifteen roles were played by Washington actors, and editing and audio post production were completed in Seattle.
Leavitt describes the town of Granite Falls as a character in its own right in Outside In. “Lynn always wanted to make this film in [Washington] state,” says Leavitt. “When she was describing the feel of the script to location manager Dave Drummond, production designer John Lavin, and me, I just knew it was going to end up being Granite Falls. I spent a lot of my childhood there and I just knew that’s what Lynn was describing.”
The small-town, overcast setting helped set the film’s tone, and Leavitt describes a supportive environment on set. This helped the crew get through the strange time in which they were making the film: “Honestly I think the biggest challenge we faced in shooting the film was that the 2016 Presidential Election was going on at the same time. That was a very challenging time to focus on almost anything else but the news, and shooting this film was also one of the best things we could have done.”
“I love living in Seattle and filming in Washington State, as does Lynn,” says Leavitt. “We do it every chance we possibly get.”
Catch Outside In starting this Friday night at SIFF Cinema Uptown.