Meet Ava, Sparks Film School Student and Dyslexia Awareness Campaigner

Young filmmaker Ava, age 13, is a student at Sparks Film School Hove, where she works as part of the film crew in Studio 4.

Find out more about Ava’s time as a young filmmaker and as a Sparks film school student. 

Can you tell me about when you first joined Sparks Film School? What was it like?

Everyone was really nice and it was so fun getting to use the cameras. Everyone was really welcoming. It was great how everyone listens to you, so if you have an idea, it isn’t just pushed to the side. Everyone takes it on board and everyone is so nice.

What first interested you about filmmaking?

I just really love watching films and seeing how they are made! I love the tech behind a film, and I’d love to be either an actor or a director in the future, that’s what I would like to do. I love acting in the films we make with Sparks.

How has your filmmaking developed with Sparks Film School? What kind of things have you learnt?

I’ve learned lots about different types of shots such as over the shoulder, wide shots, frame within a frame etc. That’s all been really interesting, and I’ve noticed that when I watch films now I notice camera work a lot more and how they produce the shots. It’s given me insider knowledge!

You recently worked on a documentary with Sparks, which aimed to raise awareness of dyslexia, can you tell us all about that?

So this documentary has been my favourite thing I’ve worked on with Sparks so far.

At the beginning of the year we interviewed people for the documentary. We asked them to tell us what they thought dyslexia actually was and most didn’t really know much, even some adults we interviewed. It was so nice to show people what dyslexia is all about.

I got to make the documentary with all my friends and they were all so understanding about the topic. It was interesting to realise how few people really understand or know anything about dyslexia. I loved the chance to spread the word, and seeing everybody’s responses to our interview questions was interesting. If people saw this film and learned something I’d be so happy!

Why did you decide to make this documentary?

Mainly, it was to raise awareness. But as I mentioned before, people at Sparks always listen to your ideas, and simply it seemed like a good idea so we decided to go for it!

Our Sparks leader Craig (Co-Director at Sparks Hove) has an adult friend who is dyslexic who was diagnosed quite young, partly because of his parents’ awareness of it so it was noticed. But it was really interesting as he talked about his experiences at school like for example how the school supplied him with a computer to work from. I really loved the process of interviewing as I found it so interesting to find out how much people knew about it. 

What would your dreams be for this documentary?

I’d love anyone to see it! For example teachers in school might find it useful as schools don’t always fully understand it, and it could hopefully help them understand it better and help other students! I’d love for it to be shown in schools.

Why did you want to do a documentary style for this project? 

I thought it would be fun to do something real and something that had some real meaning! If it helps people understand dyslexia anymore it would make me feel so happy.

The other students I was working with seemed to really enjoy making it too as it wasn’t about making characters or telling a fictional story, it was ‘real’ and none of it was made up. It felt very true and it also gave us some more experience into another genre of filmmaking! For example when we were interviewing we had to just answer on the spot and try not to rehearse anything, like a real interview!

Could you tell me about any other films you have made with Sparks? 

The first one we made was one that got shown in a local cinema in The Lanes! This film was so fun to make and it was really cool getting to see a film I had made be screened in a cinema!

What piece of advice might you have for a new member to Sparks?

Don’t be scared to say any ideas and put them forward. Anything you say will help the group and any feedback will be constructive criticism. Don’t feel afraid to contribute and say any ideas, it’s always listened to!

Find out more…

Take a look at Dissecting Dyslexia – the documentary made by Ava and her Studio 4 crew mates – below…

This documentary was produced during the spring term of filmmaking classes at Sparks Film School Hove.

Find out more about filmmaking classes here >>>

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