The Disappearance of John Ashby

Produced, written & directed by Neal Livingston, 1990

The Disappearance of John Ashby, still

Photographer John Ashby had lived and worked on Cape Breton Island in eastern Nova Scotia, Canada. Struggling to keep ahead, photography had taken a back seat to house building. Just when Ashby had created a successful construction business he abruptly disappeared to New York City.

The Disappearance of John Ashby, still

His friends and neighbors began to immediately speculate on his whereabouts and the cause of his disappearance. Was it work, ... or a woman?

The Disappearance of John Ashby, still

Meanwhile, we catch up to John Ashby on the streets of New York City, musing on life, his past and his future. Though the mystery is never completely resolved, the film uses humor to explore the serious side of contemporary life in rural Atlantic Canada, where leaving ones' community because of the harshness of life has become the norm.

"Livingston, in cinematic pursuit of a local character who has disappeared, retraces the steps of the absent subject to create a mystery without a murder and one of the more engaging documentaries in recent Canadian filmmaking." – Festival of Festivals (Toronto, Canada), September, 1992.

The Disappearance of John Ashby from Neal Livingston on Vimeo.