Ashley is an award-winning director and producer based in New York. She began making films in 2009 when she joined San Francisco film collective Scary Cow and has worked in casting, directing and producing films, commercials and music videos in SF, LA and NYC. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema and The New School (NYC) with a Master of Arts in Media Studies.
Recent films directed by Ashley include female revenge horror short DIABLA, which premiered at Morbido Film Fest in 2019 and was awarded the Golden Skull for “Best Short Film” — in addition to 2017’s queer coming-of-age 90s short SOMETIMES FOREVER. DIABLA has gone on to screen at many Oscar & BAFTA-qualifying film festivals, earning awards such as “Programmer’s Pick” at Adirondack Film Festival, “Best of Fest” at Boston Underground and “Best Director” at Catalina Film Festival among others. As producer, she’s recently wrapped production on several films and shows including AMERICAN MORNING with Richard Schiff, ALL HAIL BETH for BRIC TV, MOUTHPIECE featuring Jason Sudeikis, Max Clark’s LODESTAR starring James McCaffrey (2020 Nashville Film Festival “Audience Award for Narrative Short”) and Emily Cheeger’s HOLY WOMAN, set in Hasidic Brooklyn, which premiered at the 2020 Toronto Jewish Film Festival and earned the 1st annual Lishma Prize for Best Short.
Her work has received over 6M+ views on YouTube and premiered in Times Square. She’s currently developing feature drama PUNJABI FAMILY DINNER about a Trinidadian woman’s experience at a dinner with her new husband’s eccentric Punjabi family, alongside director Jaselle Martino and writer Jagjiwan Sohal. She is also writing her first feature film WAVE MOTHER, an intimate supernatural horror set in Oregon country, about a woman who heads home for her best friend’s wedding which summons her troubled past and a reunion with her estranged father.
Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
A mix of Isabelle Adjani’s Anna in Possession and Nancy in The Craft.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
Sometimes I just spitball weird stream of consciousness ideas that make complete sense to me but sound like gibberish to others so lots of ideas that kinda crashed and burned because they weren’t super thought out. I guess that’s part of the process though. Sometimes you gotta dig through the bad ideas to find the gold.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Love my fright gang so yes absolutely! I’ve met some incredible new friends & festival family through Diabla’s run. Slowly but surely starting to see more people IRL which is most welcome.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Location is typically a very important character in the work I produce & direct so I give a lot of attention to the local community and their perspectives to gain a stronger understanding of the space, in general. So I look local first — focusing on the people & stories that are rooted in that world (if it actually exists and isn’t a complete fantasy land) – and then pull external references I feel will help really make the story shine.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
I’d probably hold your hand and be your friend. I’ve got you.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Dracula, Christopher Walken’s Headless Horseman, Pinhead from hellraiser, Chucky and the Killer Klowns from Outer Space.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
-Freddy -Lovecraft -Practical -Pre Apocalypse
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
I have a lot of recurring nightmares about being stuck in a Siberian prison in WW2, my family and I being chased by a killer, organ stealing, I’m scared of flying and mildly claustrophobic. None of these fears have been reflected in my films but they should be!
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Dario Argento’s ‘Suspiria’