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The Sword of Trust
by Karen Pecota

Directed by Lynn Shelton

Written by Lynn Shelton and Mike O'Brien

Filmmaker Lynn Shelton has a different bent to her projects, she says, "Many of my films originate out of a desire to work with a particular actor, and in this case that actor was Marc Maron." As the story progressed Shelton knew that the composer for the film's music needed to have a certain style that would address the films character and theme in which she found in Maron's musical talent as well. Shelton's style is unique and bold which allows her to rely on her expertise and sixth-sense for casting every part of the her projects.

In addition Shelton talks about the process of assembling her cast of actors and explains, "With Sword of Trust, I was extremely excited to return to my roots of working off of a highly structured 'script-ment' and letting the actors improvise much, if not most, of the dialogue."  In all her years of filmmaking Shelton notes that there are very few performers who are great at working this way and adds, " needs to cast very specifically if well-written, funny-yet-grounded improvisation is the goal." In her research, Shelton is always on the-look-out for actors who are good at improvisation and keeps a running list of these people for future reference. Shelton continues, "Jillian Bell, Jon Bass, Tim Paul and Whitmer Thomas were all new actors to me, but highly vetted by others. I am unbelievably grateful for the presence of each and everyone these folks along with the various local actors who played smaller roles." Shelton reminisces, "It's an obvious things to say, but without this particular cast, this movie never ever would have worked."


Mel (Marc Maron), a small-town pawnshop owner in Alabama spends a good deal of his time swindling customers, keeping track of his employee, Nathaniel (Jon Bass), trying to make amends with ex-wife and addict, Deirdre (Lynn Shelton), as well as, building relationships with the local towns people.

Cynthia (Jillian Bell) and her wife Mary (Michaela Watkins) bring in a Civil War-era sword inherited from Cynthia's recently deceased grandfather to Mel's pawn shop. Mel sees an opportunity to take these two women to the cleaners and makes them an offer for the sword. The women find Mel's offer more than insulting because of the story behind the Sword which is strange.

The women claim the relic is proof the South actually won the war. Civil War conspiracy theorists find out about the coveted sword online when Nathaniel puts the sword up for auction. He finds out the sword has extreme monetary value.  Mel, Nathaniel, Cynthia and Mary are ready to deal but they need each other to make a sale. Thus the four find themselves reluctantly collaborating to sell the sword to the highest bidder. Their journey takes them on a wild-goose chase as they pursue the value, importance and significance of a treasured inheritance.