IF YOU’VE seen apparitions from the past around Nundle, Tamworth or Inverell, there’s no need to be alarmed.
But you can be excited about an upcoming film featuring local places, faces and history, as filming continues on Ashton’s.
The story of the pioneering circus family and its links to the area, the film is hoped to be ready for cinemas by the end of next year.
Director Leonie Kelly, of Farm Gate Production, said she was inspired to tell the story after a visit to Hanging Rock.
She came across the memorial for Mary Ashton, 19, who died after giving birth in the village in 1852.
She was the wife of circus founder James Ashton, who brought his show to town for a 14-date run during the gold rush.
“I thought it was such a fascinating story and one that needed to be told: it’s Australian history,” Ms Kelly said.
“The story shows the family endurance and stamina required to keep the circus dream alive.”
Ms Kelly, who also wrote the script, said her research started about four years ago; she scoured old newspapers and documents, and talked to Ashton family members.
She even learnt that famed bushranger Ned Kelly had been in the audience a few times and had even had tea with the performers after the show.
Sixth-generation descendant Chantel Ashton-Rodriguez, a performer and manager with Ashton Entertainment, said many family members had been involved in providing and fact-checking information.
And they had been “more than happy” to support the project.
“There’s been lots of documentaries done on our family but never an actual film,” she said.
“We were all excited about it; it’s never been done before and we’re interested to see how it’s going to come out.”
Ms Kelly said she’d sourced cast and crew members mostly from the region.
The actors also include Steve Jager from 2017 film The Legend of Ben Hall and TV series Lawless; and singer-songwriter Matt Cornell.