Written by Audrey Lin:
Spent an enlivening afternoon filming our upcoming "To My People" music video yesterday. Gotta give it up to our sister Ellie, whose captivating spirit, magnetic heart, and dancing smile has literally lit up our last few days in DC.
Last Fall, Ellie travelled to India on a Fulbright to capture the stories of women in the state of Gujarat who had chosen to finish their educations, after having to leave it for extended periods of time. Through a friend of a friend, she stumbled into the Gandhi Ashram service family and effortlessly jumped in to film a bunch of labor-of-love projects, including our Grateful music video and Empty Hands Pilgrimage short.
Walking around the US capital with her is like embracing the world through streams of stories. While on a 15-minute walk, we stumble and stop and say hello to at least 4 different friends/neighbors-turned-family. Her open-minded care, bouncing creativity, and faith in humanity makes everyone and everything around her full of possibility.
As a group of us walk to Malcolm X Park for some music video filming yesterday, we're stopped at the crosswalk by a delighted shout, "Ellie Walton!" We meet a subject of one of her films, an all-smiles man who spent over 1.5 years in solitary confinement during which he read a book that reignited a passion for sailing, became pen pals with a UNH maritime historian, and eventually led to a career as a merchant mariner. After several red and green lights come and go, we talk-peek-laugh into the driver's side window of this man's car, say our see-you-laters, and head over to the park reverberating to the beat of a weekly drum jam, and thronged with joggers, dancers, drummers, musicians, artists, sports games, yoga classes, picnics, children, and other splashes of life, ages infant to elder in all shades, shapes, sizes, and spirit.
There, Ellie greets a fellow filmmaking friend, and spend then next few hours tucked behind her camera, spotting beauty in all forms-- from children hiding under their mother's skirts to decades-long dancers, strangers who spontaneously dance with us to the beat of "To My People" and beyond. All throughout, she's got a giddy grin on her face, and often breaks into a tiptoe-tappin' happy dance when she catches a moment that'll make your heart soar.
Thank you Ellie, for your humility, playful grace, open heart, depth of diligence, and commitment to bringing light to all the beauty in the peaks and valleys of human existence. It is a blessing for us all to know and work and walk the path alongside your radiant company.
More bout Ellie on her website.