Ashlei Hardenburg-Cartagena is a name to watch in the film industry, thanks to her unique perspective as a queer German-Puerto Rican and thoroughbred Jersey Girl. She writes and directs musical shorts, bringing her unique vision and talent to the screen with every project.

But what sets her apart from others in the industry is her dedication to working with queer artists and telling stories that celebrate queer joy. In an industry that has historically catered to cis-straight-white-men, Ashlei is carving out a space for queer artists both in front of and behind the camera.

Finding Inspiration in HAIR

Ashlei knew she wanted to direct after working on the musical HAIR at Vassar College. The energy of the room and the emotion of the performers and audience inspired her to pursue her passion for creating powerful moments that move people.

But it hasn’t always been easy. One of the biggest challenges Ashlei has faced is the cost of making movies. However, she’s found ways to overcome this challenge through networking, crowdfunding, and collaborating with talented artists.

The Importance of Collaboration and Flexibility

Ashlei advises other filmmakers to stay true to their vision but be open to collaboration. She believes that flexibility is key to creating the best possible version of a project.

Looking to the Future

As for the future, Ashlei has her sights set on working with Jennifer Lopez, Ewan McGregor, and anyone who worked on IT’S A SIN. These are individuals who have inspired her with their commitment and dedication to their craft.

For Ashlei, the film industry is more than just a job – it’s a way to celebrate queer joy and create meaningful moments that move people.

And with her talent, passion, and unique perspective, it’s clear that she’s well on her way to making a big impact in the industry.

Connect with Ashlei

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