The Global Search for Education: Ava Bounds’ Players Explores Humanity and Futurism

C. M. Rubin
3 min readJan 12, 2024

This month, audiences can screen Players on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.

Players is directed by Ava Bounds, and stars Bryan Bounds and Thea Procter. The film unveils a compelling sci-fi narrative where a young girl wields inexplicable control over an idyllic village. Through enigmatic elements like a mysterious cigar box, microchip knowledge, and a dead bird, the film challenges perceptions of humanity and futurism, provoking profound introspection.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Ava Bounds.

Ava, in Players, Thea’s character possesses an uncanny ability to control both people and animals. What inspired the choice to portray this power dynamic, and how does it reflect the clash between humanity and futuristic elements that you aimed to explore?

I made this film during lockdown when I was 14. As with my other films that I made at that time, I was interested in Victorian/Edwardian England: its people, architecture, and history (I also live in a house built in 1880). As a bored teen, I began to play around with SIRI on my phone and then wondered what a clash it would be to have Victorian characters speaking in a computerized voice. How would they feel living in our society? Or, even better, with the technology of our future. The idea for Thea came from two areas: firstly, I needed a central character (otherwise it would be just a bunch of people ‘Siri’ talking). As it was lockdown, the only choice I had was my neighbor’s daughter — Thea.

Could you elaborate on the symbolism behind the cigar box and the book, and their roles in illustrating the intersection between the past and future in the film?

The Players cigarette box was found along with a lot of football betting slips in our attic from the years between 1910 and 1930, so I thought they’d make great props.

How did you approach crafting Thea’s character, and what themes about humanity did you intend to convey through her portrayal?

I wanted the character of Thea to be kind and thoughtful. Someone young who had the power to make our lives wonderful.

How did you navigate the storytelling to maintain suspense while delving into the deeper exploration of humanity encountering futuristic elements?

I did this mainly with sound — I borrowed a bit of Lynch — again the suspense needed to be there; otherwise, it would just be a random film — and the story needs to be at the heart of everything.

Thanks Ava!

C.M. Rubin with Ava Bounds

Don’t Miss Players, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated by Planet Classroom.