An interview with Ashley Brim, writer/director of The Goldfish.

Writer/Director Ashley Brim is an alumna of Ryan Murphy’s Television Director Mentorship Program, the FOX Global Inclusion Directors Lab, and the Alliance of Women Directors’ Directing the Actor Workshop. Her newest project is coming to a film fest in LA and I cannot wait for everyone to see it! I met her just before the pandemic while she was in development on THE GOLDFISH, I loved the script then and I love the film now.

Writer/Director Ashley Brim: “I got into filmmaking kind of accidentally. My background is in photography and I was pursuing that in NC when I got a call to be the director’s assistant on a pilot for Showtime called HOMELAND. I had a little experience with production – had worked on some commercials and done some editing at a production company in Charlotte – but I’d never seen anything like a big budget Hollywood movie get made. So I said yes. And that’s how I fell in love with filmmaking.
I worked on HOMELAND until the very end of the series and it was in every way my film school. After a couple of years working on the show, I decided to try my hand at directing and as soon as I finished my first short, I knew I had found my calling. 
THE GOLDFISH is my third short film and my most personal. I am adopted but I didn’t ever think I would make a film about it. I was honestly surprised when I realized that was what I was writing about. And now I can’t stop. I’m actually in the process of developing THE GOLDFISH into a half hour drama series now and writing a feature about another adoptee and a birth mother.”

I am so excited to have been offered an early screener. Diarra Kilpatrick (PERRY MASON, THE LAST O.G.) as “Audre” and Cedric Sanders (FUTURE MAN, THE SOCIAL NETWORK) as “Jason” are intimate and genuine with each other. Their relationship sustains us, we love them right away and root for them through their mess. Kilpatrick must be the queen of chemistry, because we instantly feel connected to Murisa Harba (MOROK, DEADLY CRUSH) as her sister, they have an obvious love between them.

Filming in March of 2020, ya THAT March of 2020, put them onto a completely different path than they had originally imagined.

Brim: “…Within a week of production the entire world was shut down and we were living through a global pandemic. But also, we had a movie to cut. My editor Melanie and I live 10 minutes away from each other (something that never happens in LA) but we had to do the entire edit on zoom. And I think having her as a daily presence on the other side of the screen and the movie to work on was really what anchored me during those first weeks of the quarantine when none of us knew what was going on with the Coronavirus.
I consider myself super lucky that I was able to get the film in the can before the world stopped and I’m very very grateful that I had such a generous and patient editor to work with once it did.”

In this beautiful short film, writer/director Ashley Brim invites us to consider race, procreation, birth culture, and braids throughout their backyard daytime baby shower. Parties are hard to depict with ease. The grounded tone, flow of time, and spacial relationships shows that Brim can tell a well-paced and clear story. But more importantly, this film asks some important questions about identity, adoption, and parenthood. There is no judgement, just people being people. (Except some ignorant white people, that’s in there too.)

Brim surrounded herself with a stellar team. In filmmaking, the collaborators carry so much of the weight of the project that it’s difficult to ever decide who to highlight.

Brim: “My friend the wonderfully talented filmmaker Jackie Stone felt certain she knew exactly who should be playing Audre from the first time she read the script. And she was right! Jackie introduced me to Diarra Kilpatrick (who I was already a fan of from her ABC Digital series AMERICAN KOKO) and we hit it off from the start. It was a total pleasure to work with her to bring Audre to life and it was actually Diarra who brought Cedric Sanders (who plays Jason) into the mix. A great reminder that when you find the right people, many pieces fall into place.
Another amazing director friend, Natalie Fält, introduced me to my producer Diana Ward and I’m so grateful. Not only was Diana game to get started right away and great company as we scouted all over looking for one location where we could shoot the whole film – including the Basement which was quite hard to find in LA – she also had an amazing team of collaborators from her time as a Film Independent Project Involve Fellow. Our Cinematographer Bongani Mlambo, Production Designer Brittany Ingram and Editor Melanie Annan had all worked with Diana many times before and it was very helpful that they all had a shorthand with each other.
And my personal secret weapon is my husband Chris Riddle who was our 1st AD, happiest problem solver, prepping dinner chef, and introduced me to VFX master David Fogg who made my goldfish dreams come true.”

THE GOLDFISH, Narrative short (2021) Written and Directed by Ashley Brim. An adopted woman is forced to confront her darkest fear about motherhood at her sister’s baby shower.


Beloved by filmmakers and alumni, Salute Your Shorts curates a collection of the best short films from around the world in every genre showcasing them to a community of artists seeking inspiration and conversation. Selected films will enjoy an audience of working entertainment industry professionals and compete for a cash prize.  Notable alumni include Jim Cummings (Thunder Road), Maggie Levin (Labyrinth), and Danny Madden (Beast Beast).

Salute Your Shorts website

If you can’t make it to the event on Saturday, be sure and follow here for when the film is available for you to check out:

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