The Art of Documentary Filmmaking with Ashton John [Interview]

Welcome to another insightful episode of the Attract Sell Nurture™ podcast.

Today, we are privileged to have Ashton John, a celebrated documentary filmmaker known for his poignant and thought-provoking work.

This interview delves deep into Ashton’s journey, his projects, and the ethos that drives his creative process.

So, please grab a cup of your favourite beverage and join us as we explore the world of documentary filmmaking with Ashton.

Meeting Ashton John

I first met Ashton at one of my brother’s OurHse events, where he exuded a certain charisma that made an indelible impression on me.

Since then, I’ve known him affectionately as Ash.

His story is as compelling as his work, and I knew I had to interview him for our podcast.

“There was just something about Ashton, and a little bit we talked about to do with his story, which you’re going to hear more about during this episode.”

– Kase Dean

From Passion to Profession

Ashton John is a documentary filmmaker with a rich background in short films and branded documentaries.

His work has been commissioned by notable clients like the Barbican, Netflix, and various festivals, and has been screened on prominent channels such as Channel 4 and ITV.

He’s also the founder of Ashton John Films, with his flagship project being the Home Film Project.

Early Interest and Education

Ashton’s journey into filmmaking started with a deep-seated interest in people and their stories.

He studied broadcasting at Ravensbourne, focusing on factual content in his third year.

His first documentary was about trainer collectors, a project that opened his eyes to the myriad possibilities of storytelling through film.

“The camera allowed me to go into that world… I just loved it. I thought it was super cool.”

– Ashton John

The Importance of Realism

Ashton’s inclination towards realism set him apart from others who might be more interested in scripted dramas or studio entertainment.

His fascination with shows like MTV’s “The Real World” further solidified his desire to capture genuine, unscripted moments.

“Reality TV for real, for real… It was like this world that I had never seen before.”

– Ashton John

Anna Scher’s Influence

A pivotal moment in Ashton’s early life was attending Anna Scher’s drama school.

This experience was instrumental in building his confidence and honing his storytelling skills.

The values and tough love he received there prepared him for the challenges he would face in the documentary world.

“As a kid, you get the opportunity to go to this place, and you realise, this is what I need to be doing.”

– Ashton John

The Home Film Project

One of Ashton’s standout projects is the Home Film Project, a series of short films exploring the lives of residents in various London boroughs.

The project aims to document and preserve these areas’ changing landscapes and communities.

The Genesis of the Home Film Project

The idea for the Home Film Project was born out of Ashton’s observations of the rapid changes occurring in his hometown of Hackney post-Olympics.

He noticed new demographics moving in and felt compelled to capture the perspectives of both the original and new residents.

“I wanted to create some work that expressed the way I felt about new people coming into an area.”

– Ashton John

Sharing Perspectives

The home project not only highlights the change but also serves as a platform for dialogue among residents.

It brings together people who might otherwise remain strangers, fostering a sense of community.

“The common thing is that everyone’s living in the same space, but we’re not connecting with each other.”

– Kase Dean

Challenges and Successes

Ashton candidly shares the struggles of being from a working-class background and pursuing a career in the arts.

The journey is fraught with financial constraints and the constant battle to keep going despite the odds.

“The struggle is real… It’s not going to happen overnight.”

– Ashton John

Overcoming Doubts

Despite the challenges, Ashton’s determination and the encouragement of his family kept him on his path. The turning point came when he began to see his work’s impact and received positive feedback from his audience.

“You’re on a journey, keep going.”

– Ashton John

The Future of Real Things

Ashton’s production company, Real Things, aims to continue producing impactful documentaries that elevate unheard voices and stories.

He envisions expanding the Home Film Project to other cities and involving more young filmmakers in the process.

“It’s not just about the films; it’s about creating a platform for other storytellers.”

– Ashton John

The Ideal Customer

Real Things seeks to collaborate with streamers, broadcasters, and cinemas to bring these powerful stories to a wider audience.

The goal is to provoke thought, spark conversations, and ultimately drive change.

“We’re looking to activate projects that serve us all and that feel real.”

– Ashton John

Thank You, Ashton!

Ashton John’s journey is a testament to the power of storytelling and the impact of documentary filmmaking.

His work not only documents the changing world around us but also brings communities together and fosters a deeper understanding of our shared experiences.

“If I can use documentary as that vehicle to spark change or to spark conversation and make people think about things, then I’ve done my job.”

– Ashton John

For more about Ashton John and his projects, visit Ashton John’s Website or follow him on Instagram.

Thank you for joining us on this episode with Ashton John.

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories on the Attract Sell Nurture™ podcast.

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