A NORTH-East born actress is celebrating after her first self-written feature film caught the attention of cinema lovers at film festivals around the world.

Katharine Lee McEwan’s Solitary has gained recognition at several independent film festivals since she finished work on it last year.

Last month (April), the film kicked off The London Independent Film Festival at the Genesis Cinema where it went on to win the Best UK Feature.

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The actress, filmmaker and producer’s career has been based in Los Angeles since she left her hometown of Redcar in 2002 to train at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute after completing a summer programme at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

“As well as acting in the film, I wrote and produced it, so I’m very proud,” she said, speaking from her Los Angeles home. “It is very gratifying when something that you make gets recognition and especially when it is in your home country.”

The filmmaker returned to these shores to shoot Solitary, which centres on the life of party girl Nora who is forced to move back home with her ageing father.

“It was a 16-day shoot and we finished over the summer,” she added. “I would love to come back again and work in this country because the British independent film scene is so strong and it something that I love.”

As well as winning the 'Best UK Feature' at the 2015 London Independent Film Festival, Solitary won 'Best Dramatic Feature' at the 2015 WorldFEST-Houston, and 'Best Screenplay,' 'Best Picture' and 'Best Actress' at the 2015 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema.

Katharine also received two 'Best Actress' nominations at WorldFEST and Idyllwild for her portrayal of Solitary's central character, Nora.

The film is currently doing the rounds of film festivals around the world while she looks for a distributor to give Solitary maximum exposure.

It also stars Sarina Taylor (Tomorrow, A Christmas Carol) and Kevin McGowan (EastEnders, Coronation Street) with a strong supporting cast including Anna Skellern (The Interceptor, Gambit, I Give It a Year); Michael Wildman (The Bourne Ultimatum, Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix); and Anita Dobson (East Enders, Casualty). Boxing legend Joe Calzaghe also plays a supporting role as Prison Officer Flynn.

Queen drummer Roger Taylor, who was one of the executive producers of the film, also composed the original score for the feature film.

The film was shot entirely in Southsea and Portsmouth, and locations included Portsmouth?s historic Kingston Prison, and Southsea?s amusement park, Clarence Pier.