The Legacy Sessions

Arlington, Virginia | Film Short


David Ashton

1 Campaigns | Virginia, United States

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This campaign raised $18,140 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

213 supporters | followers

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The Legacy Sessions is a dramatic short film about two “seniors,” a troubled seventeen-year-old high school student, Darby, and a ninety-five-year-old retirement home resident, Flora, who are brought together when Darby has to perform a monologue as Flora for a theater class.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

The Legacy Sessions is a story about an unlikely friendship between two characters often marginalized in society due to their gender and age. We are proud to create a film that gives a voice to strong female characters, both young and old.

The Story

At a certain point, I think we have all stopped to think about the impact our lives have on other people. We've all asked ourselves the big questions: what will our legacy be? How will we be remembered? What will we leave behind?


I was inspired by my relationship with my grandmothers to tell a story that wrestles with these questions. One of them, Arlene, passed away in 2013 from Alzheimer's. My other grandmother, Marie, is a breast cancer survivor and thankfully living well in Virginia Beach, the town where the movie is being filmed. I've spent a considerable amount of time with both of them in hospitals, treatment centers, and retirement homes, the later of which was especially eye opening for me. I learned something about elderly people in retirement homes that really resonated: their home shrinks, their body shrinks, but it doesnt mean their life has to shrink. It doesnt mean their life is any less valuable or meaningful. 



Since having those experiences, I've been motivated to make a movie that takes place at a retirement home. It's a world we don't often see in movies, certainly not in a way that's realistic. Elderly characters are, generally speaking, often the supporting role, and even more often they are portrayed in a very stereotypical way. The same can be said for youth characters in film and television. There are many parallels between the youth and elderly, notably that both groups are often devalued and pushed to the side in our society. To put it simply, their voices are silenced. Even more so considering that both lead characters are female. This is a movie that fights to break that trend and give a voice to two indviduals whom, both in movies and in our culture, are not often permitted one. 



So what exactly is the story we are telling? The Legacy Sessions tells the story of a troubled high school senior named Darby and a passionate ninety-five year old senior named Flora. After her mother passes away from cancer, Darby is sent to live with her biological father in Virginia Beach. She's in and out of trouble at school, and has only one real interest in life: punk rock music. After another verbal confronation with a teacher, Darby finds herself in a counselor's office trying to prevent her suspension. It is in that office where the film begins. 


After a brief negotiation with the counselor, Darby agrees to switch into a theater class in order to avoid further trouble. The theater class, she learns, has partnered with a retirement home in order for the students to learn about monologues. Each student will be paired with a senior at the home and given three meetings - or sessions - to learn as much about the senior as possible. The project will culminate with the theater student performing a monologue as the senior in front of the all retirement home residents. 


Fun fact: this exact event happened last year in Virginia Beach between Marian Manor assisted living home and Salem High School, where my sister graduated from. When I learned of this event, I realized it was the perfect framework for the themes and storylines I had been developing. Both Salem High School and Marian Manor have been kind enough to let us use their locations in the film, and many students and Marian Manor residents have volunteered to appear in the film as extras. 



This is a film about overcoming grief. This is a film about unlikely friendship. This is a film about discovering what it truly means to be "punk." This is a film, as the title would allude to, about legacy. As a writer and director, it's been nearly a decade since I made a personal film like this. And that's not to say that I have not tried. I've had a lot of starts and stops with diifferent films, projects that had financing fall through, scripts that never got made, etc. This is, for me, a return to WHY I want to make films in the first place. Which is tell personal stories centered around characters rooted in authenticity. And we get to film in a beautiful location that has a lot of personal meaning for me as well: Virginia Beach. 



Thank you so much for your support in getting this film made. It is not exaggeration when I say that we can't do it without you. 


-David Ashton





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Cash Pledge

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Costs $9,350

Nobody likes working for free - this is our budget for our production crew for a six day shoot.


Costs $2,500

This is our total budget for payments for our cast of talented actors.

Art Department

Costs $420

Budget that covers wardrobe and props for your production design team.


Costs $400

This covers travel costs for all our cast and crew for six days.


Costs $800

Covers rental cost for set of Cooke cinema lenses.


Costs $1,400

This covers our hotels and Airbnb rental for the cast and crew.


Costs $1,200

Covers meals and plenty of coffee for our hard working crew and cast members.


Costs $300

To keep our team safe from any unforeseen accidents while on set.


Costs $250

Funds needed to secure the location at the high school.

External Hard Drives

Costs $280

Two 4TB external hard drives to store all the footage.


Costs $800

Covers rentals for a dolly, steadicam, monitor, and other camera accesory needs.

About This Team

David Ashton

Writer and Director

David is an independent filmmaker based in Washington D.C. His first film was an ultra-low budget feature about homelessness in the District, Mysterious Prison, was a finalist for CINE’S “Pitchfest presented by A&E.” His most recent work, A Celebrity, was an experimental short film chosen to the Alexandria Film Festival and Richmond International Film Festival, among others. David is also a seasoned music video director whose videos have been featured on Pitchfork, Brightest Young Things, Consequence of Sound, and Spin. 


Stratton Bailey

Director of Photography

Stratton is a New York City based filmmaker with a decade of work in film and television. He got his start working on a James Franco student film and has started work as key grip on handful of Franco directed films including Maladies, Child of God, As I Lay Dying, and The Sound and the Fury. Some commercial cinematography work includes national spots for Polar watches, Citizen watches, and the history channel. As a cinematographer for plastic tree productions his corporate regional spots have been Enterprise, budget, century link, and many more. And most recently, Stratton worked as an underwater camera operator on the upcoming Ben Zeitlin feature, Wendy.


Ruben Rios

First Asisstant Director

Ruben is a highly experienced AD who has been living and working in the Mid-Atlantic Region for two decades. As a second assistant director, he has worked on Lincoln, The Good Shepherd, Flags of our Fathers, John Adams, and Turn: Washington’s Spies. Most recently, he has worked as a first assistant director on Affairs of State, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Mercy Street, and the television movie, Killing Lincoln.


Taylor Keating 

Art Director

Jacqueline “ Taylor” Keating is a filmmaker based in Baltimore, Maryland. Taylor is an actress, production designer, and costume designer on productions you probably watch and many more you have absolutely never heard of. Taylor graduated from Towson University with a degree in Business Law and Economics and almost immediately upon leaving university decided the stressful uncertainty of a career filmmaker better suited her true identity. Her lifelong tenure as a self-taught seamstress came in handy when she finally shared her creations with her film friends who promptly scolded her for holding out on them in the wardrobe department. She’s been chasing the high of the coveted “set life” ever since. Taylor continues to hone her craft and hopes to continue her fortune of sharing work with others because as humans have demonstrated for basically eternity, that’s what makes it all worth it.  


Zachary Amundson

Producer/First Assistant Camera

Zachary is a midwestern transplant hailing from the exotic land known as "Ohio," and has been living in New York City as a producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer for more than five years now. In 2018, his first feature ("Dwarves of Dragon Mountain") gained distribution in more than 10 countries around the world (including the U.S.) and since, has continued his love for filmmking shooting anything he can get his hands on.


Silas Brigham


Silas is really excited to be a part of this wonderful team that is bringing THE LEGACY SESSIONS to life! He has had the pleasure of working with David Ashton on several projects, most recently, A CELEBRITY. Silas is an actor, writer, producer and voice coach based in Washington, D.C. Silas' most recent stage work was with First Maria Ensemble in NYC as an actor and voice coach in a production of Macbeth. In D.C., he has been in two world premiere plays, Unexplored Interior (Mosaic Theater Company), and The Wolfe Twins (Studio Theatre). ULTRASONIC, a film in which he starred, won “Best In Fest” at the DC International Film Festival in 2012. Silas holds a degree in Theatre Studies from Guilford College and is a graduate of The Studio Acting Conservatory. After studying Voice and Speech with Patsy Rodenburg, Silas is now a Registered Rodenburg Teacher (RRT) . He inherited his love of movies and theater from his family and is immensely grateful to his family and friends for their love and support:

"For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my place with kings."


Sebastian Levy Polat 

Sound Recorder/Mixer

Originally from Argentina, Sebastian Levy Polat is an Audio Producer based in DC specialising in delivering the best results in both production and post production for Film & TV. Best known for his work in the Oscars Academy Award Winner 'The Silent Child' and Netflix's 'Perdida' & 'Edha'.


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