Ashley co-runs indie Green Lions with creative partner David Bond. They produce, direct and develop feature documentary projects. Green Lion’s first feature Erasing David is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.
What kind of projects attract you?
Documentaries with a bold premise, a strong narrative, and awesome music. Erasing David is a classic issue-based doc, but cranked up so it plays like a thriller. For our next film, David and I are looking to take this even further. The only way to make long-form docs today is with a do-it-yourself, punk ethos. Take funding from whoever will give it to you and make a film only you can make.
You can produce the film of your dreams. What and who would that entail?
I am living the dream right now, only it’s a very low budget one. It’s important to live in the moment. If I got more sleep then my dreams would be shot on 35mm with a voiceover by Christopher Walken.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a producer?
Just get on and make your film. Write a script of what you hope will happen, and start shooting. The end result will not be anything like your script. but the exercise will have opened up your head to the possibilities and hopefully save you from shooting unnecessary footage. The other piece of advice was to remember that when you finish your film, that is when the hard work starts. It’s true.
Tell us the most significant moment in your career so far
Meeting my wife, scriptwriter Melanie Martinez, on the set of a Michael Moore shoot. She’s always an inspiration and has totally transformed my view of storytelling and character. More recently, it was the day Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation chose to fund Erasing David. From inception, through pitching, shooting, editing and making it into the Sheffield Doc/Fest last year, each moment has been huge. This is testament to a good idea but it is also down to C4 BRITDOC’s belief in the project, and us. Premiering in the US at the SXSW Film Festival was a massive deal. I almost played there a few years ago as a musician, but, to be honest, filmmaking suits me better now I have less hair! Erasing David is about to open nationwide. I’m hoping that will be pretty significant.
You’ll die happy when…
I get to work on a project with Ira Glass, the best living radio doc maker. Although ideally I would not die immediately after that.