Chris Ashwell

Community Leader / Director / Producer

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Chris, a native of Cincinnati, OH, while working in restaurant management had a revelation to quit his job (several jobs in fact before it stuck) and pursue what truly made him happy. For him that meant dedicating himself to filmmaking, journalism and above all storytelling. While he knew he wanted to focus on documentary as an art, he had no idea where that desire would lead. After co-founding the non-profit Cincy Stories, he realized how his love of true stories could be utilized in practical ways to improve his city. A few short documentaries about local residents turned into a large scale multimedia project and that turned into multiple large scale projects, a weekly radio show and a much happier and fulfilled Chris. Now, in addition to his passion for all things storytelling, he has a new passion for giving a voice to those whose experiences are often overlooked in his community and creating new ways to activate those stories for real change. His work with Cincy Stories has gained him nine regional Emmy Awards from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Recommended Resources:

Rebel Without a Crew

While well known and often recommended to filmmakers starting out, this was the first book I read on the topic of filmmaking, and it greatly inspired me to do ... well anything I could. Waiting for (insert perceived need) often leads to never creating.

War of Art

I feel certain aspects of filmmaking are unteachable. I don't believe creativity itself is one of those aspects. This book will help you build a foundation for whatever your creative challenge may be.

Shut Up and Shoot

Combining inspiration to actually create with tangible information on how to create, this book is a guide to your first film. While intended for those interested in creating documentaries, and while much of the advice on gear is outdated, it's an outstanding resource for anyone who is hoping to bridge their desire with the how.

This Much is True

A collection of 15 essays by documentary filmmakers, this book is not only an incredible insight into the inner workings of the industry, it's also a fascinating look at the personalities behind the films.