Adrienne Shelly's new film opens after actress's tragic death

A film directed by a slain New York actress had its Sundance Film Festival premiere and her widowed husband announced that he was setting up a foundation in her name.

Adrienne Shelly's film "Waitress" opened Sunday to both cheers and weeping, as its producers and the audience reflected on the grim circumstances surrounding the project.

"This is not in any way a screening that is meant to be a wake," said the festival's executive director, Geoffrey Gilmore as he introduced the film.

Shelly wrote, directed and starred in the movie which was accepted into the festival only a short time before she was discovered slain in her Manhattan apartment. A 19-year-old Ecuadorean immigrant, Diego Pillco, was charged in the killing.

The 40-year-old filmmaker was a veteran of independent films. Shelly appeared in the 2005 movie "Factotum" with Matt Dillon. She also appeared in "The Unbelievable Truth" in 1989 and "Trust" in 1990. She made her directorial debut with "Sudden Manhattan" in 1996, reports AP.

"Waitress" tells the story of a pregnant waitress who has an affair with her doctor to escape an abusive relationship. The central role of the film is played by Keri Russell.

Shelly's husband, Andy Ostoy used the premiere to announce the creation of the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which will offer scholarships to female independent filmmakers.

"Through the foundation, Adrienne's legacy will continue to grow," Ostoy said.

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