Ashley McKenzie (she/they) is a filmmaker based in Unama’ki–Cape Breton Island, Canada. She writes and directs films in collaboration with people in her community, compelled by stories near to her that may otherwise be overlooked. Casting locals and shooting on-location brings vitality to her work and high-visibility to the people and textures concealed in a remote place. Her debut feature Werewolf won the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association in 2017, the most generously endowed film prize in Canada. It was theatrically released by Factory 25 in the US and Les Alchimistes in France. Film Comment called Werewolf "an austere, marvelously focused debut feature,” while The New Yorker named it to their “Best Movies of 2018” list. Ashley’s films have screened at the Berlinale, New York Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival, as well as been curated by the Criterion Channel, MUBI, Metrograph, and Anthology Film Archives. Queens of the Qing Dynasty, her latest feature, premiered in the Encounters Competition of the 2022 Berlinale.
photo by Calvin Thomas