St Albans pupils’ “wonderful time” at national film awards

Heathlands pupils at the Into Film awards.

Heathlands pupils at the Into Film awards. - Credit: Archant

Pupils from Heathlands school for the deaf were pipped to the post last night at the 2017 Into Film awards.

Pupils at Heathlands making SSL. Supplied by the school.

Pupils at Heathlands making SSL. Supplied by the school. - Credit: Archant

Their film, SSL, had been nominated for the Best Live Action (12 and under) category.

Unfortunately, it did not win the award, losing out to a school from Wales.

But headteacher Deborah Jones-Stevens said the film was a success in itself.

She said: “The project is a phenomenal success. We were approached by a deaf filmmaker called Louis Neethling after we had installed filming equipment and received a grant from arts society Nadfas, so it was the perfect time.”

SSL is about a police force called Stop Sign Language (SSL), who arrest a head teacher for teaching British Sign Language, insisting only speaking is allowed.

It was made by a group of Year 5 to Year 7 pupils, who each had their own role in the production.

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SSL premiered at the Odyssey cinema in St Albans, and shortly afterwards the school found out it had been shortlisted for the award.

Mrs Jones-Stevens said: “To find that, out of hundreds of others, we had been shortlisted was a very special experience.”

The children were invited to the glittering ceremony, held in Leicester Square, which was attended by big name stars like Daniel Craig and Eddie Redmayne.

Mrs Jones-Stevens, said: “We had a wonderful time and it was such a brilliant opportunity for the children.

“It was wonderful to see how deaf children could achieve positive outcomes on equal ground with other children.”