Director Biography – Astrid Harrison (ARIANA: A FOLK MUSICAL)

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Astrid is a recent graduate from the Film Studies program at Ryerson University. During her studies, she specialized in writing, directing, and composing.

Astrid has also remained consistent with her work outside of school, engaging in a wide range of projects including: feature films, short films, short documentaries, children’s television, and music videos.

Director Statement

Ariana is based on a true story.

When I was 18, I experienced an unexplainable amount of grief from the sudden passing of a loved one. The tragic experience lead to a long and painful transition into deep rooted feelings of self-doubt, confusion, and distrust in myself. After a few months, a friend saw the loss of spirit in me, and wrote a song of comfort and support.

Hesitant to use my actual name, Astrid, in the song, he used the name “Ariana” instead. This is the song that is played in the film.

Four years later, when I got the chance to make this film through Ryerson University, in memory of my lost one, I began writing the story around the history of that song. After establishing the story and moving into the pre-production stage, I decided I wanted the film to be two things: simple and powerful. My crew and I based our entire production process around those qualities.

Surprisingly, those qualities also reflected our emotional process of creating the film. Working as a team, our low-budget, five day shoot, couldn’t have been more powerful for cast and crew alike.

On set, there was an overall sense of creative vulnerability and connectedness between cast and crew. As the director, it was one of the biggest pleasures of my life to have created an environment where we could speak openly, and collaborate about our thoughts, feelings, and creative opinions. It deeply reflected how I felt about the song the first time I heard it… a sense of peace, openness, and the possibility of finding the motivation to express myself again.

There is something beautiful about creating a space through film in which every member of the process is committed to the end result, by committing to the therapy that the process provides them. It’s through this idea that filmmaking has truly become a dedicated passion of mine. I use this idea to provide myself and others with relatable stories, themes, and music that can hopefully get even one person through a hard time. This film certainly did for me.

The film is dedicated to the man I lost. He provided me with inspiration during his time with me, and he continues to inspire after his passing. My crew and I are proud to present “Ariana” to the world.

We hope it can be as powerful to some as it was to us.

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