Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been nominated for the Best Production Design BAFTA this year, and one of our alumni – Alex Hutchings – played a part in the creation of the film. Alex worked as a model maker in the Art Department at Lucasfilm, the production company behind Star Wars.
Alex graduated from UCA Rochester with a degree in Model Making in 2005, and has spoken to us about his experiences of working on the iconic Star Wars franchise and meeting the concept artists that inspired him when he was growing up.
Alex Hutchings, Art Department Model Maker, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
“It was a childhood dream of mine to work on Star Wars! From a young age I used to sit and draw images of spaceships and monsters, and build and create models from the films. Being involved in Star Wars was a truly amazing and utterly gratifying experience.
"The opportunity came about from a conversation I had with an old friend from UCA who was working on a project called All You Need is Kill, which was later renamed Edge of Tomorrow. I was asked to cover for an Art Department assistant who was away on holiday. That led me to meeting a supervising art director called Neil Lamont, who would later go on to run the Star Wars Episode VII Art Department.
"On the film, I worked alongside the Concept Model Maker to produce working models of sets and vehicles. We had a small workshop which we used to produce the models using the infamous Star Wars tradition of ‘Kit Bashing’ for detail.
"Star Wars is so special to so many people that Lucasfilm wanted to make sure nothing was spoiled, so security was exceptionally tight throughout. The talent on the production was fantastic and everyone just bounced off one another.
"One of the most memorable parts of working on the production was getting to meet some of the concept artists I looked up to when I was younger – notably, Doug Chang and Ryan Church. To meet them was a big moment.
"I’m now working on The Mummy reboot which is due to be released in 2017, and I’ve just completed work on the next Star Wars film, Rogue One.”
Three other UCA graduates have also worked on this latest Star Wars film - as a Sound Assistant, the Producer's Assistant, and by contributing music to the film's trailer. You can read more about their experiences and achievements here.
The winner of the Best Production Design BAFTA will be announced at the British Academy Film Awards ceremony on Sunday 14 February, where Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be competing with Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, and Carol for the award.