A FILMMAKER from Bournemouth has created a short film about Percy Bysshe Shelley's first marriage.

Hail Maria! is the work of Mikel Iriarte and stars Lauren Ashley Carter who has previously appeared in films Imitation Girl and Premium Rush.

The film, which was shot in Bournemouth, tells the story of Harriet Westbrook, the first wife of Percy Shelley and has been released 202 years after her death.

Mikel Iriarte said the film recounted “the often untold true story with an all too familiar tale of how the decisions of powerful men can destroy even the most resilient of innocent women.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English romantic poets. Aged 19, he and Harriet eloped to Scotland with Harriet when she was just 16-years-old in 1811.

Percy went on to marry Frankenstein creator Mary Godwin in 1816 after Harriet took her own life at the age of 21 while pregnant with her third child.

In the film, the story is told by a sex worker called Maria, played by Lauren Ashley Carter.

Mikel, who was assistant director on horror film K-Shop which was also shot in Bournemouth, said: “Comprising of a single monologue, the script was constructed around quotes and dialogue taken verbatim from sex workers living and working around the world who have publicly shared and spoken about their experiences.”

He added: “Hail Maria! seeks to share the lesser known, yet blindingly tragic story of Harriet Westbrook in an effort to shed light on what is potentially a different side to highly adored romanticist Percy Bysshe Shelley than what is publicly known or acknowledged today.”

In unearthing the little-known story of Harriet Westbrook, the filmmaker said he hoped to raise awareness and draw parallels “with the ongoing sexual harassment cases being brought to light not only in the media and entertainment industries but across the professional world”.

The film is available to watch at https://vimeo.com/305138816