ELEVEN SIX WOMEN | ELLIE CONNELL
Photos courtesy of Ellie Connell & Shawn Connell
Meet Ellie Connell of Reeling Films a long time friend and brand collaborator who shoots the most beautiful, captivating movie 'shorts'. Ellie has made many ELEVEN SIX movie feature, designed our original brand logo and letter pressed hang-tags I also travelled with Ellie to Peru and Bolivia to record a about 8 of our artisan workshops and my travels which was featured in Vogue. We also had the honor of Ellie making us a cherished movie 'short' of our Tuscan wedding in 2012. Now, Ellie is in demand more than ever for her stunning wedding videography and travels constantly to dreamy destinations to capture couples most intimate and happy life moments. With her brilliant visual sensibility and acute editing, Ellie creates some of most joyful and emotion provoking footage I have ever seen. We talk to Ellie about her path to film, the thrill of shooting film at weddings, the pandemic pause on the industry and the real juggle of being a mama of two young boys! Ellie took some of her favorite Spring ELEVEN SIX pieces on-location, wedding job trips and had her wedding photographer husband: Shawn Connell capture a few in Jamaica and then made some selfie (and drone) captures of a few other pieces on the Amalfi coast! Now, let's start dreaming...
Ellie wears the Tia Crochet Tunic in Jamaica
Can you share with us your background and career paths and how you came to start reeling films?
Hiii Catherine, thank you for sending these, this is fun! Well! I founded Reeling Films in 2011 and originally filmed exclusively with real super 8 film - aka no digital cameras. I was inspired by my grandparents’ family films from the 1930s/40s. I studied art history and graphic design, but shooting and editing films is more about having intuition and having strong feelings about what is important to keep (and what to leave out).
In a normal year I film mostly destination weddings and edit them into a very dreamy ‘shorts’, and I also do editorial and commercial projects that come my way to mix things up a bit.
You partner with your husband and renowned wedding photographer: Shawn Connell How do you collaborate, co-exist, conquer-and-divide with booking’s etc.
Shawn and I don’t shoot too many weddings together, but we’re really supportive of each other in all the day to day (stuff). He is such a dreamer and always making goals and lists, whether it’s to make a new art collection or teach the boys how to surf - as soon as he writes it down I know it’s going to happen. So just being near that energy makes me also do it. I remember to dream bigger or make a real concrete objectives. On or around the first of the month we have an extra long morning coffee together and write out new goals. Sometimes half the paper is about family life and the other is photography/the business. The Decembers are always super specific and more fun, we had “take the boys to the Macy’s Santa, skate in Bryant Park, eat candy canes” when other times it’s like “offset our carbon footprint, try to instagram” or more self absorbed intentions. The check-in helps us feel like we’re going in one direction
The pandemic took a big hit on weddings and events , how did this initially effect you and then how has the business come back?
It was really hard, really hard. Having my kids at home and trying to get them to focus on zoom screens while getting a million emails from couples postponing and asking our availability for different future weekends was such an extreme and intense feat. I’d like to say I took it in stride and acted like Snow White, but I was stressed and scared. THEN it turned out everyone did end up getting married eventually, weddings are still happening, event planners still trust and love Shawn and myself - we are fin!. Phew! I ended up taking on new weddings and finishing up postponements and shooting wayyy more weddings than I would have taken on in a normal year.
You travel to weddings on location to fantastic destinations must be exciting – what are some of your favorite destinations to date and why?
Il Pellicano (on the amalfi coast?) most recently, everyone was so friendly and the hotel was stunning. Round Hill Resort in Jamaica for the same reasons! Most places where I shoot for a few days in a row and I am staying on site, I feel like I know everyone and I’m family by the time I’m covering Sunday brunch.
Cartagena is another one of my favorite cities, I go to Avignon in Provence quite a bit, gah just thinking about all these beautiful places is making me feel really lucky!
Ellie wears the Skye Sweater in in Jamaica
Ellie wears the Skye Sweater in in Jamaica - captured by a drone camera.
Weddings are such a happy occasion... can you share with us how it feels to be capturing some of people’s most special and intimate life memories from behind the camera?
I know I’ve succeeded when people tell me they watched their wedding day and cried, I live for this! I totally imagine the couple’s children’s children watching these and being like: “my grandparents were gorgeous” I mean, Catherine, hello, you on your wedding day 🤌 so so stunning! When you’re 80 you will be like <<old granny voice>> “kids, come sit and look at my hot husband Nick in Sienna” ha ha!
I love Instagram stories and making creative short pieces for brands - but making a film that will be obsessed over in sixty years is a really unique opportunity.
You recently relocated from New York to your home-town: Austin, Texas during the peak pandemic - can you share with us some more about that transition for yourself, the business and the family?
I’m originally from Austin and it was a perfect spot to go mid-pandemic, especially with super young kids. Now we are figuring out where we live, Shawn is in NY almost every weekend and we drive everyone (which now includes our huge dog!) upstate for the entire summer. We get to stay connected to our friends and all the New York energy, it’s been the best of all worlds. But it’s an exciting time for Austin, it has grown so quickly and is working out its identity - it isn’t LA and isn’t NY, but it definitely isn’t “weird” like it used to be.
Ellie has a moment in her hotel room @ Il Pellicano wearing Aria Polo Sweater
You are a mama of two young boys which must be challenging in your peak seasons with boy you and your husband traveling- how do you manage that with your husband and yourself both having such intense schedules?
It is insanity. The boys miss us both so much, it is really hard. I’m not going to gloss over that part, I feel really guilty leaving them even when it’s to an exotic location. I bring back things like foreign sugar packets, coins and sea glass from the beach.
Trying to face-time and connect in different time-zones is usually a big failure, they’re too young for a phone conversation to be comforting. I send really silly videos where I pretend to catch goldfish in the hotel lobby pond and I say ridiculous things. Apparently, they watch them over and over. I act like a total loon, they love it!
What do you like to do to unwind in your free time.
What free time?! No wait, I have that sometimes. Hmm I love a tart mezcal margarita and laying on the ground and playing airplane with the boys.
I got really into growing vines and planting things, I wouldn’t call it gardening because its like a Jackson Pollock of plants in our yard.
What are your favorite 3 things to do/to go in Austin?
I take Shawn for drinks at The Carpenter Hotel, I’m trying to find a favorite bar that isn’t in a hotel and haven’t succeeded yet. swimming is a year-round thing in Texas, we love Deep Eddy Pool and Barton Springs. Eventually it will be going to see live music but I’m not quite ready to get in the middle of sweaty germy bodies yet.
Ellie @ Il Pellicano wearing the Simone knit dress w/ Isla Stripe Cardi layered over
What does the ELEVEN SIX brand mean to you?
I am forever connected to Eleven Six! I will never forget meeting the women crafting these pieces and how much their lives are improved by having these jobs. The workshop in Bolivia was unbelievable, their own clothes and all the knots and care in making those crochet dresses… and it meant so much for them to meet you Catherine and talk with you about your process. The photos that went into the Andean Artisanship: Vogue article almost did it justice.
Maybe this is too heavy, but I’ll never forget the story one of the managers told us where a woman’s husband hid her project from her, he couldn’t have dominance over her because she was bringing in the steady income. You’ve given all these women power Catherine, they get to have strength and know they’re valuable. Every time I put on an Eleven Six sweater I think about the women whose lives have been improved by your company.
What are your favorite ELEVEN SIX knitwear pieces from the current Spring collection and why?
I never travel without the Layla sweater. It is so chic. I pair it with everything I own - I put it on when I’m cold in an airplane, casually drape it over my shoulders when I don’t know if it will be cold at breakfasts in hotels… I'm also obsessed with the crochet striped Skye Sweater, the lightweight cotton is lovely and wearing all black is a bit too goth (which you only notice when you leave New York!). The blue, Simone knit dress is stunning, I’m going to wear it everywhere this summer. The whole spring collection is so ideal for European traveling, many of the light knits are perfect for summer travels and layering when you’re not sure what the weather will be like.