Building an Ambitious World: A Conversation with The Wall of Lyon Creator Ashleigh Harley Ahead of December 26 Release
Ashleigh Harley is an award winning young Writer, Filmmaker and Musical Artist best known for her work with 'The Wall of Lyon' a new and exciting fantasy series for films, books and music. Ashleigh's exciting career began at the young age of 12, writing and crafting the first instalment to her epic saga, a unique, blockbuster science fiction trilogy set to be released succeeding The Wall of Lyon.
An ambitious artist, Ashleigh has already received a BAFTA Mentorship, won awards for Best Music and Best Fantasy for her work in The Wall of Lyon, been selected for a much sought after place with the National Film and Television School, mixed at Real World Studios - producing her own music, received an internship with the BBC, danced on Channel 4 and appeared in various film and stage performances.
About The Wall of Lyon
“Divided from the truth by ancient, towering walls, and abused by the reign of an outdated society; outlandish fantasist ‘CASSINI’ seeks asylum in an unknown world beyond the man-made walls of an authoritarian regime.”
Allegorical fantasy drama from debut writer and director Ashleigh Harley, ‘The Wall of Lyon’ considers the divisions of society and our discernment of belief - when ultimately all our lives are only ever governed by our own convictions.
In our interview, Ashleigh tells us about the inspiration behind The Wall of Lyon, where she fits into the story and her plans for the story...
If we go back to the beginning, was there a defining moment for you to get into the Film Industry?
I have always been a great believer in the notion of hard work cultivates good luck. Film has always been a part of me. I can’t recall a single day that has gone by where I have not picked up the camera or put pen to paper; so in that respect, a natural progression is the only way I could define my induction into filmmaking. I was unfortunate to fall ill as a child, and as a result was unable to further mainstream schooling and thus I became lost in the world of fiction. At the age of 12 I started cultivating the plot for The Wall of Lyon and it’s universal setting to paper.
You could say I put my 10,000 hours in early, I have literally spent my entire teenage years, and well over half my life cultivating my ambitions in film. Turning my work in to a reality has been my absolute focus, and I was determined to take any opportunity that may turn that dream into actuality. I was fortunate to be accepted in to my local BFI Academy, where I later met BAFTA Winner Geoff Thompson who was a great champion of following dreams and conquering fear. He was the first to invite me on to a professional film set, The Pyramid Texts, where I paid my dues as a runner and loved every second. Later, I received a BAFTA mentorship, got an internship with the BBC, won a much sought-after place at the National Film and Television School’s BFI scheme, acted in a few films, won awards for my work in music and films, and even got the chance to mix my own music at the world renowned ‘Real World Studios’. It’s been a real blast to say the least.
What was it about The Wall of Lyon that enticed you to make it, can you tell us about the inspiration behind it?
I have always believed filmmaking to be the greatest form of storytelling, a newer and more modern form of philosophical thought to further our practice as a society. A greater form of capturing a person’s heart, we as filmmakers are awarded the unique opportunity to both entertain and to enlighten simultaneously and broadly – and thus because of this it is my belief that it is the duty of filmmakers and writers to look upon the world and promote the changes that need to be made.
When I embarked on my journey with The Wall of Lyon I saw discrepancies in the world that I wished to change, notions by which we govern our lives that needed to be reflected upon, and thus I sought to promote my observations and my ideas in the form of a fantasy.
It was necessity inspired the creation of The Wall of Lyon; in two senses. I was not the model teen, illness and some pretty extreme bullying had caused me to drop out of school, and it was the perfect picture of someone who’s life was not going to plan. However, one day my life completely changed and suddenly I knew exactly what I needed to do. I had a story to write, films to make; and quickly found myself capable at things that previously had been beyond my comprehension and ability. Quickly a science fiction trilogy evolved, and in writing the final chapters of that saga The Wall of Lyon emerged.
A prelude set thousands of years in advance to our civilisation, a story linked to my previous trilogy but could stand alone on it’s own mythos; The Wall of Lyon was to set the scene of an epic time-spanning saga of hope and mystery; to answer us all the unanswered question.
Though I have found influence for The Wall of Lyon through mythology, the likes of the Popul Vuh, The Epic Gilgamesh, the Greek classics etc, The Wall of Lyon created itself of its own accord, as did all it’s subsequent volumes. Therefore, I could not ignore its insistence to be made.
Top Raindance Photo taken by Andy Barnes
THE WALL OF LYON IS RELEASED ON FACEBOOK ON DECEMBER 26