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Ascent - Directorial Debut

Ascent follows three intertwining stories; an artist, struggling to gain inspiration and formulate her ideas onto the page; a young man, feeling the pressures of his work; and a young woman, battling alcoholism and undergoing counselling. The story is grounded by one painting, representing navigation and the marks we leave on each other’s lives; Ascent explores the desire to access something higher and out of reach.

The film features several award-winning venues such as the Condé Nast Johansens 2019 and 2020 "Best UK Wedding Venue" The Deer Park Country House, and the Thelma Hulbert Art Gallery

The film surpassed its initial £1000 crowdfunding goal within 48 hours, currently sitting at 258%.

The film has finished production and will have a private premiere on 25th September, 2021. 


Creative Direction​







Deer Park Country House

Thelma Hulbert Art Gallery


Director / Producer / Editor: Daiki Shinomiya

Director / Writer / Editor: Leoni Fretwell

Director of Photography: Alex Giles

Assistant Director: Charlotte Weston

Assistant Director: Isabel Harrison

Audio: Adam Clark

First AC: Deniz Akbayir

Original Score: Robin Wright & Alexei Peters

Musical Director: Chris Sampson

Mastering Engineer: Johnny Hurst

Sound Design: Leoni Fretwell & Daiki Shinomiya

Cast: Angus Thomson, Julia Vredenberg, Anna Goodmaker, Lauren Ewer, Sian Ostler

Casting Directors: Roisin McCay-Hines & Ray Koh

Therapy Consultant: Nik Sutherland

Artists: Laura Garratt and Laura Moody

Deer Park Contact: Mark Godfrey

Thelma Hulbert Staff: Ruth Gooding & Anna Aroussi


To provide students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the film industry

Not your ordinary "student film"

The ultimate aim of this project is to connect young creatives and produce a meaningful piece of cinema that lasts long in memory. Using the creative community I built over the past few years, I decided to bring everyone together and direct an independent short film. 

None of us are film students nor have we attended film school. This film was produced and filmed completely independently from any university or course. 

Despite this being my first narrative film and produced during an ongoing pandemic, I managed to secure stand-out locations, complete production without the need for reshoots, and most importantly, cultivated new creative collaborations.

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Crowdfunding 100% of the goal in under 48 hours

I designed the brand identify of the film to reflect the elegance and subtlety of the story. 

This served as the backbone of the social media and crowdfunding campaign, elevating its production value. 

Elegant and eye-catching graphics paired with a high-quality video greatly contributed to the success of the campaign.

The brand design added to the professionalism of the film, separating it further from a typical "student film".

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Social Assets


Currently in post-production

It was a fulfilling experience taking what was just a simple idea into a real production from scratch, through the power of creative collaboration and ambition. 

The film is currently in post-production where I am editing, doing the sound design, and colouring alongside my co-director Leoni Fretwell. 

I am also learning orchestral composition to support the composers on the team to achieve their best possible work. 

Stay tuned for updates!

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