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An artist seeks inspiration to formulate her ideas onto the page, a young man struggles to find balance with his work, and a young woman battles alcoholism.

Ascent follows three intertwining journeys, grounded by one painting and the marks we leave on each other’s lives.

  • Daiki Shinomiya
  • Leoni Fretwell
  • Leoni Fretwell
  • Daiki Shinomiya
  • Angus Thomson
    Key Cast
  • Anna Goodmaker
    Key Cast
  • Julia Martine Vrendenberg
    Key Cast
  • Lauren Ewer
    Key Cast
  • Sian Ostler
    Key Cast
  • Lucas A. Ferrara
    Executive Producer
  • Joseph Richmond
    Executive Producer
  • Kelley Daniel
    Executive Producer
  • Chris Langley
    Executive Producer
  • Dora Reisser
    Executive Producer
  • Alex Giles
    Director of Photography
  • Charlotte Weston
    1st AD
  • Isabel Harrison
    2nd AD
  • Alexei Peters
  • Robin Wright
  • Johnny Hurst
    Mastering Engineer
  • Chris Sampson
    Musical Director
  • Adam Clark
    Audio Engineer
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 35 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 17, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    2,300 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Exeter
Director Biography - Daiki Shinomiya, Leoni Fretwell

Daiki Shinomiya is a multi-disciplinary designer and strategist, having worked alongside startups and multinational corporations in three continents. "Ascent" is his first short film, which he co-directed and produced while completing his psychology bachelors. He is now taking a masters in Strategic Marketing at Imperial College London.

Leoni Fretwell is a recent English BA graduate, drawn to the connections between storytelling and creative change-making. With experience as a copywriter, creative strategist and screenwriter, she loves bringing projects to life and has made several visual narratives exploring subjectivity, memory and home.

See more of their work here:

- daikishinomiya.com
- leonifretwell.com

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Director Statement

"Ascent" explores the intertwining stories of three young people, grounded by one painting and the marks we leave on each other’s lives. The narrative embodies its own journey to creation – an accumulation of diverse human connections on the same path.

Our project started as an initiative by Daiki Shinomiya to support students with a passion for film. With the support we received during our crowdfunder, our team gained hands-on experience in film production - outside our degrees and in the midst of the pandemic in 2021.

And within a year, the project grew exponentially, filmed in award-winning venues and featuring a completely original score and live orchestral recording.

Our unlikely team included students from courses ranging from psychology to engineering - all united by our passion for storytelling. Without a traditional background in film, we wanted to prove that filmmakers can come from anywhere.

Ultimately, we aspire to inspire fellow filmmakers to tell their stories.

We hope you enjoy your viewing of our short film.