NORTH Yorkshire filmmaker Serena Armitage is celebrating Oscar success after Stutterer won the the Best Short Film (Live Action) prize at Sunday's Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

Serena, from Nun Monkton, near York, was the producer for the British/Irish drama written, directed and edited by Dubliner Benjamin Cleary and created by the Bear Golly Films triumvirate of Cleary, Armitage and fellow producer Shan Christopher Ogilvie, who funded the film themselves.

The 13-minute Stutterer tells the romantic, humorous story of the struggles a young typographer with a cruel speech impediment, but an eloquent inner voice. After falling in love over six months of on-line chat, he has to face his greatest fear: meeting and speaking to his new-found love in person after she suggests they should progress from the cyber to the real world.

Stutterer, starring Matthew Needham and Chloe Pirrie, first came to attention at last November's Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, when festival director Cherie Federico selected Cleary's film for the first-night showcase of "the best of the fest" and it went on to win the Best Drama prize.

“We are absolutely astonished and overwhelmed by the success of Stutterer," said Serena. "The last six months have been absolutely extraordinary.

“I can't believe this little project we were sitting around a dinner table talking about, maybe throwing a few grand into, has gone to Hollywood. It has been an absolutely insane journey.

York Press:

Matthew Needham in Stutterer

“We were just delighted to get into the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York in November. Thanks to their support, we won a Critic's Circle Award in January, and now comes the Oscar. It’s very surreal and very humbling."

Already, Stutterer had been selected for almost 30 film festivals, taking home the Best Foreign Film prize from the Oscar-qualifying Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, the Special Jury Award at Savannah Film Festival and the Best International Short Film Prize at Kerry Film Festival, as well as the Aesthetica prize.

“We didn't set out to make an award-winning film, just hopefully something that might get seen by a few people, but the response has been completely bonkers and I'm just thrilled that we've made something that resonates with its audience," said Serena.

She has worked for ITV for ten years, producing and directing such television shows as Come Dine With Me, Piers Morgan’s Life Stories and Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs. She once spent a week at The Press doing work experience.

Stutterer was one of four films shown at the Aesthetica festival last autumn to be nominated for an Academy Award, the others being Alles Wird Gut, Bear Story and We Can’t Live Without Cosmos.

"Stutterer screened at the BAFTA Qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival in 2015 and, having made a huge impact upon the jury, received the ASFF Best Drama Award. We're absolutely thrilled that the film has now won Best Short Film (Live Action) at the Oscars,” said Cherie.

"For us, to be screening in York four films that went on to be nominated for the Oscars is just an amazing feeling. We're bringing these films to the city and giving audiences in York a chance to experience these filmmakers’ works before they become famous. It makes ASFF a festival for talent spotting.”