A YORKSHIRE based female filmmaking duo are celebrating the news that their film - shot partly on location in the Worth Valley - has won the grand prize in a major Short Movie Awards competition in the United States.
Abbe Robinson and Maria Pavlou front Mad Cat Films, and their latest production, "Private Life", took the top slot at the Planet Out awards - the most prestigious gay and lesbian filmmaking prize in the world.
You really couldn't shoot Private Life anywhere else. The audience would spot it straight away. It just had to be Yorkshire
Maria Pavlou - Film Producer
The news was announced at the Sundance film festival in Utah last week. Abbe and Maria will travel to the US to collect their $10,000 cash prize at the Miami International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in April, the official host of the awards.
Past winners of the grand prize include Angela Robinson who went on to direct feature films "Debs" and "Herbie Fully Loaded".
Director Abbe says: "It feels like a fantastic reward for surviving the long journey to get the film made. I know other directors who have won the Planet Out Short Movie Award have gone on to direct feature films, so I hope I will also be able to further my career in that way….the $10,000 prize money will certainly come in handy for future projects!"
"Private Life" was funded through Screen Yorkshire's 'Up Short' Lottery programme, which awards £20,000 to filmmakers who already have some experience.
Producer Maria says: "Gaining Screen Yorkshire's Up Short Award really was an honour. It has given us an amazing opportunity to develop our skills and learn so much more about the art of filmmaking from script development to all the technical aspects that are involved.
"Winning the Planet Out award will no doubt open many doors for us and the people who were involved in making the film."
Private Life was shot and produced almost entirely in the region, where the story is set. The film features stunning locations such as the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and Bolling Hall and Industrial Museum in Bradford. It is set in 1952 and features some striking costumes from the period.
''Being a Yorkshire based company we wanted to utilise the fantastic local facilities, locations and crew that the region has to offer. You really couldn't shoot Private Life anywhere else. The audience would spot it straight away. It just had to be Yorkshire.'' says Maria.
"When I first read the script I could see it's potential straight away. It's a romance about two women's love in a time where homosexuality wasn't acceptable and their journey to take those small steps into leading the lifestyle that they choose. The script's subtlety and innocent light humour adds to the nostalgia of the period, helping us make a wonderful film that I'm really proud of."
Watch the film online at: www.planetout.com