‘Aurora is a fierce campaigner for disability rights and she wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power’
When BBC3 was looking for directors to work with emerging disabled writers and actors on the fifth series of its short film strand The Break, Aurora Fearnley was “an immediate yes”, recalls executive producer Caroline Levy.
Impressed by Fearnley’s “astute, passionate and exciting” response to the scripts, the BBC handed her two of the five films to direct – one of which, Rude, was nominated for a Broadcast Digital Award for Best Short-Form Scripted.
Levy was struck not only by Fearnley’s “well-considered and rigorous notes”, but that she “communicated clearly and worked incredibly hard analysing the material with careful thought and a heartfelt approach”.
The Northern Film School graduate first came to prominence as an actor, playing a methamphetamine addict in the 2010 movie Confession, before putting herself on the scene as a film-maker with 2014 short Life On The Line. A year later, she was named Best Emerging Filmmaker at The Smalls Film Festival for her psychological thriller Murmur.
After winning The Pitch at Pinewood, Fearnley made the 2018 sci-fi short Pulsar, and is staying with the genre as she steps up to features with Tipping Point. Fearnley has also written for audio episodes of Doctor Who, has folk horror feature Speak Its Name in the works, and has secured her second block of Hollyoaks.
The Break producer Esther Springer says Fearnley’s clarity and commitment, coupled with her calm and supportive presence on set, are to be treasured.
“She is a fierce campaigner for disability rights and she wasn’t afraid to speak truth to power, which is something I respected,” says Springer. “I believe that if we, as an industry, want to take diversity and inclusion seriously, then directors like Aurora must be championed.”