• Ashley Gilmour

Swift Undercurrents

Updated: Feb 21, 2019




Lately I've found my mind drifting to images of undercurrents. Water flowing freely, naturally, and unapologetically.


A few nights ago, I woke up from a dream where I was standing in a shallow stream. The pebbles were moving quickly beneath my feet, and I felt anxious. I woke up fearing that something precious was escaping me. 


I feel that my mind often gets stuck at the surface level of the stories that I try to tell. Am I underestimating the uniqueness of this character? Am I overlooking a small detail that could drastically alter the viewer's ability to connect with this narrative? Has my artistic process exchanged technical skills for innovative creativity?


Any and all filmmaking opportunities that come my way are a real honour and something that I am truly grateful for. But in the midst of juggling the needs and hopes of my directors and clients, I struggle to find room to go beneath the surface, to reach down and carefully select a pebble and marvel at it until I feel refreshed. 


My own artistic voice is still very quiet. It forms soft ripples and waves in the dark and makes a few sounds here and there but ever so softly.


Why?


Perhaps because I haven't leaned in to listen to it. 


One thing I'm learning is the importance of giving myself time to be inspired, to collect my thoughts, to discover what captures my attention.


This might sound like a frivolous luxury, but I cannot produce good art when I'm standing at the altar of business. 


I need time to wander through an art gallery filled with paintings of ships at sea, to listen to a Celtic song that takes me back to that tropical rain storm in the middle of that metropolitan jungle, to listen to Ludovico Einaudi alone in the dark while my neighbourhood quietly goes to sleep, and to contemplate the blessed delight of being able to point a camera at a total stranger to uncover a moving story. 


It seems to me that I need to learn to listen to myself if I want to become gifted at listening to others. 


And so, on that note, I'm going to shut off my iMac and let myself wander the streets in the hopes of stumbling upon a new source of inspiration.


PS: I'm excited to begin directing a new series of documentary portraits and a short documentary film funded by Canadian Heritage for YES Montreal. Stay tuned for updates as I move along my humble pilgrimage in the world of film.  

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