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St Peter’s Pupil Wins International Film Award

Ava, a Year 11 pupil from St Peter’s School, York, has won an international film award for her original film 'Beth'. Ava was invited to New York as her film 'Beth' had been nominated for best film at the All American High School Film Festival. The Film Festival, which took place from 8-10 October, is the largest film competition in the USA for school students.

Out of 2,500 films, Ava’s film 'Beth' won Best International Film! Ava was also nominated for Best Director, Best Drama and Best Overall Film.

'Beth' was filmed during summer 2020 and 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: "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."

Ava also created a short 3-minute film with local neighbours after the first lockdown in 2020. 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.

Mr Jeremy Walker, Head Master of St Peter’s School, said: “Ava’s achievements are frankly incredible and it is wonderful to see her receiving such recognition, at such a young age. Ava clearly has a great talent and the future holds great promise and excitement.

Congratulations to Ava on her incredible achievements. We look forward to seeing what the future brings!"