Film Festival Founded by UWS Alumnus Celebrates its 4th Year

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An independent film festival founded by a UWS alumnus has celebrated its fourth year. The festival which took place in Paisley over a weekend in October is designed to shine a light on filmmakers who don’t have the budget to compete with funded productions.

Gary Hewitt, BA (Hons) Filmmaking & Screenwriting 2012

UWS Filmmaking and Screenwriting graduate Gary Hewitt who originally set up HB Film Fest to recognise the work of independent filmmakers, has saw the festival go from strength to strength and this year received over 200 submissions and screened over 70 films from contributors from all over the UK and as far as Canada and new Zealand.

Talking about why he set it up, Gary told the Daily Record: “There isn’t a lot of funding for films, especially short films in Scotland, and I guess the UK as a whole. So, a lot of independent filmmakers make films off their own bat with their own money, or very little money, and when they submit to film festivals, they might be up for some award against a film that’s maybe got a few grand behind it.

“I thought that wasn’t very fair. So, that’s when I came up with the idea of running a film festival that supports independent filmmakers, who are quite often unfunded.”

As well as screening various genres from family friendly through to horror and Sci-Fi, the weekend festival which took place in the Wynd Centre in Paisley, included acting workshops and offered opportunity for networking and knowledge exchange.

“It’s for everyone,” said Gary. “The films are all engaging and entertaining and everybody loves an awards ceremony.”

Talking about his time at UWS Gary added: “After leaving Cardonald College I went on to study filmmaking and screenwriting at UWS. I had already picked up a lot of knowledge regarding the practical skills of filmmaking but my time at UWS allowed me learn more about writing for film and television. I learned how a writers room worked as well as building character and story arcs. I used my time at UWS wisely and made the most of the free film equipment rented to me to make short films and sharpen my craft. During my 2 years at UWS I learned how to network, built up a database of creatives and how to collaborate with others on projects and work closely with different people on a creative level.”

Graduating in 2012 from UWS Ayr Campus Gary’s first feature film Cleek was released on DVD and Amazon Prime. Following the success of Cleek Gary directed the multi award-winning film ‘Mia: A Rapture 2.0 Production.’ The film won over 10 awards including Best British Film, Best Film and the IAC Diamond award at BIAFF (British International Amateur ​Film Festival).

The film was also selected for the BAFTA-recognised Glasgow Film Festival and the Portobello Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Golden Trellick award.

Gary also works for GMAC Film, a charity based in Glasgow. GMAC is an open access media centre that delivers a creative and artistic programme for all people, regardless of age, background or income to acquire the skills, knowledge, resources and confidence to realise their ambitions in film and elsewhere in the creative sector.

For more information about the HB Film Festival go to

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