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Top Hollywood director Gareth Edwards returns to University for the Creative Arts

Leading Hollywood filmmaker and UCA alumnus Gareth Edwards has said that there has never been a more exciting time to be a filmmaker than now, during a return visit to UCA Farnham to talk to students about his experiences in the film industry.

The Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Godzilla director graduated with a BA in Film and Video from UCA Farnham – then the Surrey Institute of Art & Design – in 1996. He received an Honorary Master’s Degree from UCA in 2012 in recognition of his work in film, before returning to the campus on Friday (27 October) to share invaluable industry insight with current film students.

Speaking on Friday, Gareth said that up until recently, the film industry had remained relatively unchanged for a long period, with the way that films were made at the beginning of the twentieth century being fairly similar to the way that they were still being created a hundred years later. However, he explained that the pace of change in recent years has been extensive due to the digital explosion and the revolution that’s been brought about by the quality of cameras and home computers that are available.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a filmmaker," Gareth said. "It’s becoming democratized. You don’t need to have millions and millions of pounds to make a movie, you just need talent and time, and that’s what students have in spades. I’m sort of jealous of this generation, because I think things are going to change and they are going to inherit the world.”

During his visit, Gareth also talked about how collaborating with individuals on other courses during his time at UCA helped him to develop as a filmmaker by exposing him to a range of creative disciplines.

“I feel like I met a lot of my best friends and it opened my mind to the potential of what you can do in filmmaking, and I know for a fact that with my career, I got into visual effects and I would not have done that if I hadn’t come to Farnham,” he said.

“My best friend, who I met here, was studying Computer Animation – I was doing Film – and we combined our graduation films together. I honestly think it might have been one of the first student films to be a mixture of live action and digital effects. If I hadn’t met him and if I hadn’t interacted with the other students who were here and discovered the other aspects of filmmaking, I definitely, 100 percent, would not have got into visual effects and I wouldn’t have ended up having the career I’ve had.”

Following university, Gareth worked on visual effects projects for the BBC. His big break came in 2010 with the budget sci-fi film Monsters, which he wrote, directed and created all the special effects for. The film went on to earn him a nomination for an Outstanding Debut award at the BAFTAs.

After the success of Monsters, Gareth was lined up to direct the 2014 big budget remake of Godzilla and later, the Star Wars spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016.  

Find out more about Film at UCA, here.

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