In the wake of a fatal mistake, a suspended cop continues working the case, following the trail to her forsaken hometown... where she discovers the investigation and her estranged girlfriend are dangerously intertwined. ASHLAND: a modern-day Western about family, drug smuggling, and the ambiguity of justice (and it passes the Bechdel Test).
"I know you think I'm a monster. But isn't a monster just someone who's seen the monster in all of us?"
A LETTER FROM THE DIRECTORS
ASHLAND is a modern-day, female-centric Western about family, drug smuggling and the ambiguity of justice. It's an action/crime film that delves deep into a central question of the human condition: how do we create a positive impact with our lives, both on those we care about and the world?
Like all of our films, this one is intensely personal. The dynamics of our two main characters – Josephine (a city detective) and Susan (a farm owner) – and the themes of redemption, guilt and betrayal are ripped straight from our lives. In all the work we do, we put ourselves into the souls of our characters and use that to ignite the story. This time, we're throwing a bottle of lighter fluid on it.
This is a gritty tale captured with ferocious intensity. The stark landscapes, the moral uncertainty, the conflicted characters: this is noir, but with unique gender reversals, questions of sexual identity, harsher action, and the bleached yellow of the desert replacing the inky black of asphalt.
In JOSEPHINE, we have a tough, independent woman battling for the respect of her peers and, after a tragic incident on the job, forgiveness from herself. Through the course of her primary investigation, she's forced to return to her forsaken hometown, relive the life she long-ago threw away, reconnect with what's left of her estranged family, and exhume the doubt, regret and romantic entanglement she's tried so hard to bury.
SUSAN is stuck. Denying her true self and getting pregnant too young, she was remanded to running the family farm after her parents died. She looks at life through jaded eyes. Wishing for more and futilely grasping at freedom, she's unable to escape... until opportunity knocks in the form of assisting a drug-smuggling operation: they get to use her produce as a cover, she gets to cash in.
DARREN, the small-town kingpin, is driven by grief, rage and vengeance: his brother has been killed and he's on a rampage of retribution. A sociopath with a rigid, skewed set of ethics, he is the polar opposite of Josephine – a worthy antagonist, but also a force through which she must question her ideals. As Josephine's case narrows in on Susan, so does Darren's.
All of our characters yearn for something universal. Whether it's Josephine's redemption, Susan's yearning to break free, her daughter EMILY's quest for moral identity, or Darren's unrepentant revenge, these people fight and stand to lose big. The stakes are high and threat is imminent from page one – death lurks around every corner.
Tonally and visually, think Breaking Bad, No Country for Old Men and The Proposition. But mix with that the thematic richness of Gone Baby Gone and the relationship dynamics of In Her Shoes, High Art and Kyss mig.
We're creating a film with the hooks to get people watching, the universality to make it real, the potent questions of humanity to engage, and the emotional and intellectual weight to keep people talking long after the credits roll.
Our goals are simple. Create quality, exportable, audience-centric experiences with great characters that inspire. Help build and sustain the vibrant Seattle film community. Find audiences through changing distribution channels. Continue to make films. Rinse & Repeat.
We live and dream cinema. If we could, we'd eat, drink and breathe it. We have devoted our lives to this art form, its study and creation, and we're not stopping anytime soon.
We create films that expose constructive truths, truths hidden just beneath the surface of entertainment – engrossing, emotional and engaging experiences.
We are tenacious, innovative and creative. We get the job done. We have been creating media in Seattle since 2004, from shorts to features to non-profit fundraisers to corporate promotions, with clients ranging from The Phoenix Suns to Allied Waste to PhRMA to FareStart to The World Cyber Games. We have inspired audiences to tears, to laughter, to philanthropic action.
THIS IS OURS (Dances with Films 2012), PERFECT 10 (Seattle International Film Festival 2010).
Shorts (writers/directors, producer or editor):
PRACTICAL THINGS (Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, 2012), REVELATION (Flyway 2012), THE SUMMER HOME (Best Drama, FirstGlance Hollywood 2012), SENIOR SHOWCASE (Seattle International Film Festival 2012), CONNECT TO (Dances with Films 2011), PHOTO BOOTH (IFP Spotlight 2011), COLLECT ALL FOUR (Seattle International Film Festival 2007).