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OSF Presents Short Film ASH LAND Premiering On O!

Short film is part of OSF's ongoing commitment to supporting artists during the pandemic, and its

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced today the premiere of the short film ASH LAND on its digital platform, O!.

Produced by AliAlea Productions, directed by Shariffa Ali, and filmed on location in rural Southern Oregon over just two days, this first-ever independent motion picture production associated with the Festival is written by New York-based playwright and screenwriter Banna Desta . The production was partly funded and developed through OSF's ongoing artist residency programs and digital commissioning initiative "19."

ASH LAND offers a portrait of a Black woman who has turned her back on herself. Afflicted by a quiet, insidious malaise, she finds her once-beloved refuge has become a den for survival, and rituals that were once joyous have become militaristic attempts at de-stressing. Isolated by the global pandemic, she can no longer outrun the internal torment. When an enigmatic spirit finally catches up to her, she cultivates an understanding of true restoration and rebirth that reignites her love of Ashland, Oregon.

"In this film, our proposal to humanity is simple. We are the ones we have been waiting for," says Shariffa Ali, director. "We must heal us. We must cultivate our own joy. We must inhabit spaces in the fullness of our truth, and we must love ourselves inclusive of and not in spite of our mortal wounds."

Ali directed the world premiere of Karen Zacarías's The Copper Children, an American Revolutions commission and part of OSF's 2020 season, before the show had to close just days after opening due to state-mandated COVID-19 restrictions. As the Festival's first-ever O! Resident Artist, Ali continued collaborating locally with fellow artists and BIPOC women, writer Banna Desta, actor and current Managing Director of Play On! Shakespeare Kamilah Long, actor Cyndii Johnson, and Ali's producing partner Adrian Alea, with whom AliAlea Productions was formed to create ASH LAND.

"ASH LAND is just that type of enriching and meaningful collaboration between theatre and film makers, that even a global pandemic couldn't prevent from being accomplished," said Nataki Garrett, OSF artistic director. "I'm grateful to all those involved, including our producing and artistic staff for their ingenious use of limited resources and boundless creative energy that has allowed OSF's newly established artist residency, through Shariffa Ali, to persevere and thrive, despite the incredible challenges to humanity presented by this year."

Several award-winning professional filmmakers, all local to Ashland, Oregon contributed their talents to the ASH LAND production including Courtney Williams (Producer & 1st AD, SOU Digital Cinema Faculty), Gary Kout (Consulting Producer, ELSEWHERE FILMS), Eric Raber (Sound Designer, Re-recording Mixer and Original Score), Tyler Maddox (Director of Photography) and Gary Lundgren (Editor, JOMA FILMS).

All of ASH LAND's filmed locations are in Ashland, Oregon within the ancestral homelands of the Shasta and Takelma peoples who lived there for millennia. These Tribes were displaced between 1851 and 1856. Today, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians identify their members as living descendants of the Takelma and Shasta peoples of this area.

Says Darleen Ortega in her film and theatre column for Portland Observer, "[ASH LAND] offers an opportunity to sit deeply with strength and vulnerability that we rarely see and don't think to be curious about...The film goes deeper in 15 minutes than most full-length films ever attempt to go."

The creative team of ASH LAND will reunite in the spring of 2021 to produce their next film, YOU GO GIRL! with funding provided by the Oregon Made Creative Foundation in conjunction with Travel Oregon.

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