St Peter's 13-18
Fourth Form pupil Ava has enjoyed a series of filmmaking successes over the last year.
Ava created a short 3-minute film with local neigbours after the first lockdown, and the film has captured the imagination of film goers globally. Despite being just 2.5 minutes long, the micro short film Players has earned Ava a global reputation. It has been screened at 17 Festivals in around 10 countries and has won numerous awards, including Best Young Filmmaker at the Bafta-qualifying Bolton Festival and Audience Choice at the Marcellus Movie Festival, New York.
The film has also resulted in Ava being just one of five people shortlisted for the IMDb new Filmmaker Award 2020. She is also the youngest ever person to be shortlisted in the history of this global and very prestigious award.
Ava also made an epic film entitled Beth during summer 2020 which was premiered in Ilkley in January 2021. Beth was written, directed and edited by Ava with a large cast and crew, and follows the true story of an asylum patient's struggle as her focus on returning home does not go as she planned. The period piece, set in in 1898, is based around true events at The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in Wakefield, later renamed High Royd.
Speaking of her film Beth, Ava said: “This is a film that dodged 2020 COVID restrictions every step of the way - it was clearly meant to be made.
"I've always been interested in historical drama and the story of the UK's Victorian Mental Asylums is a piece of forgotten history that is full of fascinating stories. The ending came to me first. Then began my research into the admittance records of actual patients at The West Yorkshire Pauper Lunatic Asylum (now Highroyds). Elizabeth Hannah Martin's story struck me as one that should be told and it fitted perfectly with my script concept. I reminded the cast constantly that Beth was a real person and we should always respect her and her struggle. This is what helped the film to flow so beautifully I think.
"Coming out of COVID lockdown, I was very lucky to find brilliant crew who were furloughed from the UK TV industry who were all delighted to be working again!
"Locations were all within Yorkshire, UK - a Workhouse Museum, local woods, grand period home and Highroyds Asylum Cemetery. The bedroom scene was filmed in an old woodshed that I cleared and painted. Costumes were difficult to find as all costume hire places were closed but one came to the rescue at the final hour.
"We shot with strict COVID restrictions. The weather for Northern England was unusually wonderful!"