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LOVE AND BANANAS: AN ELEPHANT STORY Director Ashley Bell

Director's Profile

An actress across film, television and theater, Ashley Bell is most recognizable for her critically acclaimed role in “The Last Exorcism,” for which she earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and an MTV Movie Award nomination. The New York Post praised Bell's acting as “Oscar worthy” and one of the 10 best performances of 2010 for her extraordinary portrayal of the possessed Nell Sweetzer. She reprised her role in “The Last Exorcism Part II” in 2013 and yet again received high praise. Bell has since crossed genres, and in 2014 she made her Broadway debut in the revival of the 1920’s expressionistic drama “Machinal,” alongside Rebecca Hall and directed by Lyndsey Turner. Since then, Bell’s projects have been a staple in the independent film festival circuit, with premieres at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and TIFF.  Bell most recently starred in Mickey Keating’s feature film “Psychopaths” (Tribeca Film Festival 2017,) and the drama “Novitiate” (Sundance 2017). Additionally, Bell has completed production on the indie dramas “Next Door” and “The Swerve,” and the motion capture video game “Scalebound.” In 2016, Bell starred in Mickey Keating’s indie film “Carnage Park,” which premiered at Sundance, and for which she received rave reviews.

Bell directed, wrote and produced the feature documentary entitled “Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story,” which depicts the rescue of a blind Asian elephant from captivity in Thailand and her journey 500 miles to freedom. It will be released nationwide in theaters this April by Abramorama, with a broadcast release on Starz to follow later in the year.  To accompany the project, she is releasing an e-book entitled “Shoot it, Sell it, Show it: How I madean independent film with Grit and Google.”

Additionally, Bell serves as a US Ambassador for Cruelty Free International.  Bell’s expansive list of film credits include the romantic comedy “Love & Air Sex,” directed by fellow Spirit Award nominee Bryan Poser, which premiered at SXSW; the romantic drama “From Above,” co-starring Danny Glover; the post-apocalyptic thriller “The Day,” starring opposite Shawn Ashmore and Dominic Monaghan, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival; the coming of age indie “There’s a New World Somewhere”; the noir feature film “Sparks,” based on the graphic comic; and the WWE’s action film “The Marine: Homefront.” Her television credits include AMC’s “The Walking Dead” webisode series “The Oath,” Lifetime’s “Don’t Wake Mommy,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “The United States of Tara.”

In 2012, Bell lent her voice to the animated series “The LeBrons,” starring NBA player LeBron James. Her voice has also been featured in several top-selling video games, including the lead role of Erline in Sony PlayStation’s “Sorcery” and The White Queen in Disney's “Alice in Wonderland.”  Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bell is the daughter of actor/voice animator Michael Bell and actress and Groundlings co-founder Victoria Carroll. She studied acting and directing at Cambridge University, where she was awarded “Best Actress” for her portrayal of “Ophelia.” Bell later graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts with honors, and was mentored by Oscar nominee Kathleen Turner.