Experience and never forget.

OUR STORY


About Us

Our company was established in 2005 and is based in Washington,DC.

NAICS CODES:

512110 (MOTION PICTURE PRODUCTION)
541810  (ADVERTISING AGENCIES)

OWNERSHIP:
100% African American Owned and Operated

It Started With A Childhood Dream...

Founder, Paul Grant circa 1981
Paul Grant, Ascender Films Inc., Founder, circa 1981

Way back in 1981, an eight-year-old boy from rural South Carolina was taken to the movies to see Raiders of the Lost Ark. He was completely enthralled by what he saw: Travel. Adventure. Magic. History and culture.  Even though none of it reflected any aspect of his own rural life, it suggested how much bigger the world was the world was. A few months later, he saw the documentary special on the making of this wonderful film was broadcast on his local PBS station.  It all came together in his mind.

“I want to do that when I grow up,” He turned to his older sister and proclaimed. He imagined that he would spend his life traveling, photographing the world and telling stories. He was told, “You don’t see too many black people doing that type of work. You should consider something more practical.” He turned his head back to the screen, unsure of what she meant and why he wouldn’t fit in among the teams of mostly white males making magic in the desert, and quietly let that dream continue to unfold in his mind.

Ascender Films was established in January 2005, by award-winning filmmaker, motion designer and producer Paul V. Grant after winning $25,000 from Black AIDS Institute and Kaiser Family Foundation to co-produce and direct the documentary short-film ‘Tangy’s Song! For Black Entertainment Television.  For the past 15 years, he as led a talented creative team to produce premium scripted and unscripted, branded content for business, non-profit advocacy groups and governments agencies.  We also produce independent feature length and episodic documentary films. Our work is focused in the areas of history, public health, science, and environment.

We are passionate about the craft of telling great stories. However, talent and technical expertise is not enough. Our approach is simple: We dream with our clients and we work hard to achieve a singular vision that fills every frame of every story that we tell with clear a message, emotional storytelling and memorable visual approaches.

There are no hard-to-reach populations. Only careless messengers.

Over the past 15 years, much of our unscripted / documentary work has told stories about African American foodways and history, education, science, environmental and social justice, science, and public health advocacy and education. We are very proud of this work. As black-owned creative agency we hold a deep responsibility to offer a high level of empathy, creativity, premium broadcast-quality production values and technical approaches in order to tell these stories in a memorable way—especially when it these stories are targeting communities of color. There are no hard-to-reach populations: only careless messengers. As we continue to work in the areas of branded content, including scripted advertising and even feature length creative work we will always lend our support those sincere government and non-governmental agencies who fight to preserve collective history and improve our way of life.

When great stories must be told, let us tell your story.

OUR TEAM

Chief Creative Officer+ Senior Producer

Paul Grant
Chief Creative Officer, Senior Producer

E: pgrant@ascender-c.com
O: (202)-888-3236

Paul Grant is an nationally recognized filmmaker, multimedia designer and serves as the Senior Producer and Chief Creative Officer of Ascender Communications, Inc.  He established the company in 2005, as a result of having won a film production grant from Kaiser Family Foundation and The Black AIDS Institute to produce the award-winning documentary film Tangy’s Song! for Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) national ‘Rap-It-Up’ HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in 2004.

Under his leadership, the company has produced award-winning creative has included radio PSAs, political advocacy commercials, conference presentations, several series of online educational and promotional videos and a host of other interactive content in support of successful marketing and public awareness campaigns. His client list includes, well-known non-profit organizations such as: Robert Wood Johnson FoundationUnited Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); The Balm In Gilead, Inc.Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU Local 689);  and federal agencies including; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Office of HIV/AIDS Policy (OHAP), Office on Women’s Health (OWH) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  Paul has also worked with many private corporations to produce outstanding creative work, specifically targeting communities of color.

He began his career in 1995 as a photojournalist for the Richmond Free Press newspaper and then followed his heart into television production in 1997, working at New Millennium Studios, the first full-service film and video production studio in Virginia, as a production assistant on feature films, commercials and the critically acclaimed Showtime network series ‘Linc’s.’   His work has been featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Paul Grant studied graphic design and film at Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Visual Arts in Richmond, VA.

Tracey Grant
Director of Communications, Project Development

E: tracey@ascender-c.com
O: (202)-888-3237

Tracey Middleton-Grant always had a passion for design and great storytelling. Throughout her career, she has produced numerous radio PSAs, digital advertising and branded online content, conference presentations, several series of online educational and promotional videos as well as a host of other interactive content in support of successful marketing and public awareness campaigns, with a focus on producing culturally and linguistically competent final products.

Over past 7 years, Tracey has blended her skills and understanding of public health and motion-based communications while serving as a Principal and Director of Health Communications for Ascender Communications, Inc.  In this role, she provides oversight for numerous special projects and developing multimedia health literacy and promotional tools for advocacy groups, educators and clinical providers targeting communities of color. In this capacity she has spearheaded exceptional work as the co-senior producer for domestic films and international health campaigns. In 2012, she served as a Co-Producer and lead researcher for Ascender’s first feature-length documentary, ‘The Gospel of Healing: Black Churches Respond to HIV/AIDS.‘  In addition, she co-produced a multi-series video presentation for a faith-based, community-based organization in 2009 serving children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, Africa.

Before making a transition into health marketing and communications, Tracey worked in diverse senior management positions within a variety of public health agencies and federal contractors as a licensed clinical social worker in the Washington, DC area. In these roles, she improved prevention strategies, treatment and care for people living with chronic illnesses, including substance abuse, HIV and AIDS. For 8 years, she served as the Director for a National HIV/AIDS Technical Assistance and Training Program for the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In this role, she provided onsite and web-based training for HIV health service administrators as well as capacity building technical assistance for HRSA’s Ryan White program grantees located across the United States, including Puerto Rico and Guam.


DEREK J. ALLEN
Lead Cinematographer

Sean Simmons
Cinematographer

CHRISTIN BIRCKHEAD
Lead Stylist / Makeup Consultant

JACKSON CLAY
POST-PRODUCTION

LISA FAGER
Social Outreach Consultant