Ornella Hawthorn Gardez, London born director and writer in development with her first narrative feature, has just finished her new short film ‘Slow-Down’, a raw dramatic thriller based on a true event that happened to a close friend. Her previous short film, ‘Ride Like Mourning’, screened at the Short Film Corner, Cannes Film Festival 2017. Her work as an extreme sports filmmaker and director earned her the Emerging Talent Award at the London Surf Film Festival in 2013. From an artist and musician background, Ornella spent 7 years at Arts Educational School and a summer at RADA training as an actor originally, before realising directing was her true calling, 'Whilst acting scenes, plays and performances I would think about how it looked for the audience, how the lighting and music would impact on the cut between scenes. I thought of everything in addition to the script. It was on seeing work from women directors, such as Lynne Ramsay, Kathryn Bigelow, Andrea Arnold that I realised it wasn't just a mans sport and this is what I really wanted to do.' These influences are reflected in her work and style as a director.