Fires roar and horses run...
Project type: Nonfiction Feature
Project status: Post-Production
Director: Wyatt Maw
Co-Producer/Editor: James Carson
Cinematographer: Hatti Beanland
Executive Producer: Julian Cautherley
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Ashland is a feature length documentary about a diverse group of young people living on the plains of Eastern Montana. Their hopes and dreams for the future laid bare in a wild landscape full of history and mystery where the past still dances with the present.
It’s fire season and the skies are the color of a ripe peach. In SE Montana, near the Little Bighorn, where 5 languages are spoken, the eyes of the next generation scan the horizon. Cassandra, a sixteen-year-old Amish girl, dreams of training and selling horses on the sagebrush prairie forever. Meanwhile, nineteen-year-old Bekah, the fourth oldest in a family of thirteen, lost the family home to fire and her beloved pony to a mountain lion. She strives to overcome these setbacks. Ten-year-old Laney, of the Northern Cheyenne, grew up on horseback ranching alongside her father Rowdy. She’s already a working cowgirl and has even opened a savings account. Stetson, fourteen, is a bronc riding rodeo star. Calm, cool, collected, with wavy blonde hair, he welds in his shop and trains on his wooden bull. Trinity, only four, is left with her three older sisters to milk the cows and feed the hens. Though she can barely reach the reins, she rides her mother’s horse with ease. Ashland is a film brimming with energy, hope, and compassion for people. The kids march forward through their obstacles, hellbent on honoring their traditions and lifeways. There’s loveliness in the loneliness and stars in the nighttime sky.
Meet the Filmmakers
Wyatt Maw — Director
Wyatt Maw is an award winning filmmaker and photographer originally hailing from the mountains of Montana, now based in Los Angeles. A directing graduate of the prestigious American Film Institute Conservatory, his thesis film played in festivals worldwide and was a semi-finalist for the Student Academy Awards. Also an accomplished musician, he has won the national fiddling championship in Weiser, Idaho and recorded with renowned old-time and bluegrass artists.
Since 2015, he has spent considerable time in Eastern Montana researching and gathering information for a series of films about the modern day conflicts between the Northern Cheyenne, white ranchers, and the land. The first of these films, Ashland, is currently in production with support from Film Independent and the Big Sky Film Grant.
James Carson — Co-Producer/Editor
James Carson is a pianist and filmmaker who divides his time between rural Alberta and New York City. After graduating from the New England Conservatory, James walked away from music, backpacked from Spain to Japan, then built a cabin in Northern Alberta to create a new form of music. He subsequently produced and directed his first feature documentary film, Cabin Music, to initiate viewers into the cabin and the myriad global cultures and spiritual forces that cross paths within it. The film premiered at DOC NYC to critical acclaim and is on the festival circuit.
Julian Cautherley — Executive Producer
Julian Cautherley is an Emmy and Sundance award-winning filmmaker whose projects have participated at Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, SXSW, Tribeca Film Festivals and have been twice shortlisted for the Academy Awards. His projects have been distributed by Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Neon, among others. His recent releases include the Netflix 4-part documentary series How to Change Your Mind based on the New York Times bestseller written by Michael Pollan, and Bring Your Own Brigade which premiered at Sundance and was distributed by Paramount and CBS Films; Why Did You Kill Me, a Netflix Original, received over 30m views in it’s first 28 days in release; and Clemency starring Alfre Woodard, won the Grand Jury Dramatic Prize at Sundance and was released theatrically by Neon in 2019, receiving nominations for a BAFTA and four Independent Spirit Awards including Best Picture. Julian is an adjunct professor at USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Hatti Beanland — Cinematographer
Hatti is a Director of Photography originally from Suffolk, England, now living and working in the USA. Known for shooting in rugged environments, she lived on an island in the middle of the Bering Sea, Alaska, filming for the Discovery Channel for two winters. She started her career in London working as a camera assistant on TV dramas, feature films, commercials and music videos and also trained as a Steadicam operator, shooting all over Europe. Due to her understanding of digital formats, she worked as an onset digital imaging technician supporting and providing onset color management for some of the best cinematographers in the business. Past films include Oscar winning Gravity(Emmanuel Lubezki AMC, ASC), Rush (Anthony Dod Mantle BSC, ASC) and the opening of the 2012 London Olympics. She counts among her mentors Alwin Küchler BSC, and Seamus McGarvey BSC ASC.
Hatti studied Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art and a sponsorship from Actor/Director Ralph Fiennes allowed her to attend the American Film Institute Conservatory, cinematography MFA program in Los Angeles. Hatti was recently selected as a BAFTA Newcomer and is also one of the founding members of the International Collective of Female Cinematographers.
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