To call twin sister dynamic duo - Ashley & Leslie Saunders - filmmakers, would dramatically underplay all they do on their projects. From writing to directing, acting to editing...they do it all, and then some, and have won praise & awards for their work along the way, screening their shorts for the festival likes of SXSW and the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto.
Recently completing, "The Places You Will Go", a Texas-sized spot (literally) for Hari Mari, we put the Saunders Sisters' feet (and flops) to the fire with a little Q & A of our own.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND "THE PLACES YOU'LL GO"?
We knew we wanted to highlight Texas and the spirit of Hari Mari. Our thought process went from flip-flops to steps to where those steps can take you. We knew a road trip would be the perfect narrative so we took off on a seven-day journey across Texas, hoping to make something that inspired people to heed the call of adventure.
YOU'RE BOTH FROM AUSTIN, IS THERE SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT SHOOTING IN TEXAS FOR YOU?
Absolutely. There's something uniquely captivating about Texas' beauty that we don't think we'll ever grow tired of. From Palo Duro Canyon (the second largest canyon in the U.S.), to the Texas Gulf Coast, there's such a variety of landscape that makes it an amazing experience to shoot! Texas also holds so much memory for us. For this video we actually shot at a field we used in our first ever project ten years ago in our hometown of Allen, Texas. It was very cool combining all of our favorite Texas locations, both old and new, into one video. A true full-circle moment for us.
DURING YOUR TEXAS ROAD TRIP, WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE STOP?
We were shooting in the Texas Hill Country during the August floods. With a tight shooting schedule and a full shot list, we had no choice but to risk the rainy weather and summit Enchanted Rock to get the shots we needed. Embracing the moody cloud-filled look, we shot until the sky opened up and absolutely poured on us. Leslie and I hunkered down in a cave while our DP Allen literally had to shelter in-place protecting the camera equipment. The clouds eventually parted and we found some ace puddles to splash around in our Hari Mari’s. Drenched, sunburnt and exhausted, we rested up that night at a seriously awesome 1850's historical ranch outside Fredericksburg.
YOU ALL WRITE, PRODUCE & DIRECT AND RECENTLY MOVED TO L.A., SO WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE SAUNDERS SISTERS?
We just got on the directing roster for Austin-based commercial production company Two Shot West, which is super exciting. It’s nice to have our roots still growing in our home state. Out here, we're in the process of getting our debut feature film The Townsend Twins off the ground and shopping our manuscript A Living Rebellion, about twin sisters born into a future One-Child Policy America. And of course, we’re always searching for our next adventure, like our year-long goal of summiting SoCal's six highest mountain peaks.
OK, SERIOUS QUESTION TIME, TEXAS BRISKET OR CALIFORNIA TACOS?
Well, this question makes us homesick! Texas brisket all the way. Los Angeles has not yet discovered the divine art of breakfast tacos and it’s been less than two months and we’ve already had our “WHERE’S MY QUESO?!” breakdown. Level 10 alert: California has no queso.