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Q&A with the Saunders Sisters


Ashley and Leslie Saunders are twin sister filmmakers based in Austin, TX. Their award winning short films have played internationally at festivals including SXSW, Los Angles Reel Film Festival, Action on Film Festival, and the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. The sisters place a strong value on telling a story that is distinctly their own voice; to be bold, to keep reaching and to never fear chasing after exactly what they want.

Ashley and Leslie have produced this short video that combines their love of film with Penfield’s spirit, eagerness and energy for adventure. We asked the sisters about their experience shooting for Penfield and where their passion for filmmaking came from.


How did you first get into filmmaking?

We both knew from an early age that we wanted to become filmmakers. Before the dawn of smartphones and Wi-Fi, sandwiched between our two older brothers on family road trips, we would stare out the car window dreaming up music videos and stories to make the time go by. At the age of thirteen, when we saw the behind-the-scenes footage of The Lord of The Rings, the light bulb fully went off you could say. We were hooked. And we’ve been collaborating together ever since.


Where are some of the most interesting places you’ve shot?

Definitely Redwood National Park (the tallest trees!), West Texas (it's a whole other world), and, most recently, Enchanted Rock in the Texas Hill Country, where Native American legend attributes magical and spiritual powers to the enormous pink rock. Under the blanket of a thousand stars with coyotes howling all around us, we captured the time-lapse sequence for the "I'm crazy about Tiffany's" bit in the spec commercial. It was truly magical.


Where in the world would you most like to film?

Alberta, Canada. The glacier-fed turquoise rivers and lakes, the stunning Canadian Rockies and the unspoiled, wild forests are like something out of a dream.


What was the inspiration behind the Penfield film?

We really wanted to combine our love of film and the get-out-there-and-explore spirit of our generation. We thought it would have an interesting effect to take famous old Hollywood quotes, and what they meant to viewers of the past, and turn them on their heads with a modern take. We knew Penfield was the perfect brand to represent this spirit, eagerness and energy for adventure.


What were your most memorable moments whilst filming the Penfield film?

Hiking a combined thirty-five miles over the course of shooting is an overall memorable moment that makes our feet hurt thinking back on it now, but still brings the inevitable smile to our faces. A particular highlight was when we hiked to Fern Canyon in the Redwood National Park where scenes from Jurassic Park and Star Wars were shot. The peace, the beauty. Unforgettable.


And finally, what’s your favorite Penfield piece?

We fight over who gets to wear our Penfield Kasson Parka Jacket. The red is a fantastic pop of color and the pocket game is on point!

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