Successful short film fuelled by personal story

Claudia Orriols 2

Article by: Laura Blackmore

Publication date:


BA (Hons) Digital Film Production graduate Claudia Orriols earned herself a nomination in the Best Early Career Filmmaker Category at the Oxford Shorts 2023 awards for her final major project. 

Her successful short film ‘Sola’ is inspired by a deeply personal family story, which she has finally been able to share through film.

The recent graduate is now based between her hometown of Barcelona and London, as she focuses on forging a career as film director.

We caught up with her to find out what it was like to write and direct such an intimate film and her recent nomination at the Oxford Shorts Film Festival 2023.



Claudia Orriols

Claudia, what initially motivated you to study Digital Film Production at Ravensbourne University London? 

I grew up in Barcelona in Spain and I always knew I wanted to study film. At first, I thought I was going to study theatre but then came across the world of cinema and fell in love with it.

You couldn’t study film as a degree in Barcelona, so I started studying a media degree. However, I knew I wanted to study film, so I decided to move to the UK, specifically London, to pursue this career.

Coming from abroad, I didn’t have a lot of information about where would be the best place to study, so I attended a few open days at different universities.

I had a couple of friends that were studying film at Ravensbourne University London and they only had positive reviews about the course, so it felt like the right choice for me.

For your final major project, you wrote and directed a short film called ‘Sola’. Can you share with us the inspiration behind this project?    

As part of my final major project, we had to write a script and direct it as a short film. My tutors asked us  to write about a topic we cared about, so I chose something that was personal to me.

I was really close to my grandmother, and I came across this story about her a few years ago. I had no idea about this part of her life until after she passed away. My mum told me my grandmother was trapped in an unhappy marriage and she decided to escape and get her freedom back.

‘Sola’, which means ‘alone’ in Spanish, is inspired by my grandmother’s story about overcoming your own fears and having to face your own decisions even if they are contradictory to your own beliefs or morals – especially as an elderly religious woman and dealing with the idea of getting a divorce.

After I heard her story, I could see the cinematic vision and how it could translate in a film. I had this story on my mind for a couple of years, and it felt like the right opportunity to tell it.

Sola Short Film

Can you take us through some of your responsibilities as the director of this short film?

I have always wanted to direct, but it was something that I had never done before. I had never read a script and taken it to film, so this was a major challenge for me.

As the director, I felt like I was an orchestra conductor. You have all these elements you need to make work together. You need to be able to explain what your vision is for the film and how you see it coming together.

Whether it’s the filming or the lighting or the editing, everyone is going to have their own ideas, so hopefully that’s going to match your own vision and it will all come together. 

Were there any challenges you had to overcome as the director? And how did you work through them?

The biggest challenge for me was making sure that I was following my original vision. I was focused on translating what was in my mind into the film when I was directing and watching it come to life.

There’s always going to be smaller challenges along the way when you’re filming that you will have to overcome. For example, it could be managing the money involved with the budgets, people not showing up, unpredictable weather or we even had someone graffiti the van we rented. You have to be quick and adapt to anything that might happen on the day.

There was definitely a lot of sweat and tears producing this short film. It was the first time I had worked on a project where other people’s money was involved – this requires a lot of trust. As much as I was doing the short film for myself and not for an audience, I still didn’t want it to disappoint.

Claudia Orriols 3

You were recently nominated for Best Early Career Filmmaker category for director of ‘Sola’. How did it feel to be recognised for your craft by these prestigious awards?

Obviously, you want to think the best can happen, but I didn’t expect to receive a nomination. Sometimes you don’t get selected to the film festival and sometimes you do, so it was really positive news.

I was really excited to be nominated and my main actress, Teresa Del Olmo, was also nominated for Best Actress and she actually won the award!

I tend not to watch the film too much, as you only see the mistakes or where you could improve and there’s a never-ending list of retouches I wanted to make.

But it was interesting to go and watch it with an audience at the Oxford Film Festival and to see how they reacted to the film as it is a very personal story talking about loneliness.

There isn’t much dialogue because it supposed to be an intentional reflection of the woman’s marriage and how she felt during the relationship.


What are your future career aspirations? Are you working on any other projects at the moment? 

I’m currently working at a company in the production team part-time and as a freelancer, so I am focusing on my own projects and writing scripts.

I have also got a few music videos lined up, so I am working on pre-production for them and hopefully we will start filming them soon.

Claudia Orriols 2

What’s your best piece of advice for  future students who are starting the Digital Film Production course?

Take advantage of all the equipment you can hire from the team at Ravensbourne. It’s an invaluable opportunity to be able to use so many different types of equipment and to have access to the post production rooms, because once you leave the University, you have to start paying to hire equipment.

Secondly, don’t waste your time trying to make the best project. I always thought I had to shoot the perfect film, but you learn so much from creating. Just go out and film different projects, which will envitability build your skillset.

Find out more about the BA (Hons) Digital Film Production course.