Interview: Gary J Hewitt. Writer / Director
Interview conducted via email. Questions by Tony Frame. Answers by Gary J Hewitt.
Please tell us about yourself and what you do…
I am a local Screenwriter and Director from Scotland. I have always been and always will be a lover of film.
When I was young my dream job was to watch films and write up the synopsis on the back of the VHS/DVD cases before they were released into HMV. Of course this job didn’t really exist, so what was I actually going to do?
I come from a huge family with over 30 first cousins, lots of aunts and uncles, but I was the first to put myself through college and university.
This was to study Media before Film-making and Screenwriting. My debut feature film Cleek had its festival run in 2018. It was distributed by Shami Media Group on Amazon Prime and later went to DVD on March 2019.
Following the success of Cleek I 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. Since then, Mia: A Rapture 2.0 Production has been distributed by North American company Meridian Releasing.
I also work for GMAC Film (a creative hub for film-makers) and used to work as a Casting Assistant for Mad Dog 2020 Casting.
My latest short film ‘She Of The Land‘ has just started it’s festival run. I also run the new Film Festival called The HB Film Festival which is currently based in Paisley, Scotland
Who or what are your inspirations for your work?
I am hugely inspired by writers and directors such as Danny Boyle and David Fincher. Growing up I was always a huge fan of horror movies, so when I started a film career I leaned heavily towards that genre.
More recently, however, I have been edging towards thrillers. Danny Boyle and David Fincher are a huge reason for that; their films are so diverse and there are very few film-makers who can claim to have forayed into such a wide range of genres like they have.
What has been the hardest part of doing what you do?
The hardest part about being a film-maker, working out of Scotland, is the lack of funding opportunities which I am hoping is about to change over the next few months with the likes of Short Circuit (a new film talent initiative for Scotland).
Up to this point I’ve had to build up a good working relationship with different actors and crew, who put their trust in me to create a good story, whilst working within a limited budget.
What are your plans for the future in regards to your work?
As ‘She of The Land‘ is currently doing its festival run, and we continue through the current Covid-19 lockdown, I’m using this time wisely – I’m currently working on developing a TV show with a local producer as well as working on a second independent feature film.
The TV show is about a woman’s husband who is murdered and she must come up with the money to pay the killer to save herself.
The film is about a vigilante who has to face her past in order to move on with her life.
As well as this I will be pushing on with The HB Film Festival – whose ethos is as follows:
‘Our main goal is to support Indie Film and to put independent cinema in the spotlight that both films and their makers deserve.
We want to become a cultural gathering for film lovers and professionals, to support the creation of networks between filmmakers and the local communities, and to initiate inspiring exchanges between filmmakers and professionals coming from different artistic disciplines.’
What would be your dream job?
I’ve always wanted to be a Writer/Director so I would say I am currently working in my dream job right now – just at a limited level. I would, however, like to be doing it full-time and build a great reputation as a Film-maker.
I would love to create a gritty version of either a Star Wars or Marvel project – Disney can phone me anytime ha-ha!
Do you have a strange story to tell? This could be a celebrity you have met, a ghostly encounter, a strange coincidence that has happened?
When we were filming ‘Mia: A Rapture 2.0 Production‘ there was a scene in which Elle Watson (who was playing an android) had to pet a dairy cow.
The cow started licking her hand and then decided to try and swallow it – all whilst Elle had to keep a straight face! It was hilarious. Ironically the scene was cut from the final film.
Thanks to Gary for taking the time to answer my questions.
Links to his work can be found below:
Showreel – https://vimeo.com/421577408
She of The Land Teaser – https://vimeo.com/399431620
48 hour film Project – https://vimeo.com/366746973