Coleg Menai Art and Design students received a very exclusive visit recently when award-winning screenwriter and director Russell Owen dropped in on them at the college’s Parc Menai site.
Russell - a former Coleg Menai Art and Design student himself - was thrilled to come back to his roots in North Wales, and give current students an exclusive screening of his new film, Welcome to the Majority. The film had its UK premiere last month at the BAFTA in Piccadilly, London, and is due to have its European premiere at Cannes on May 20 2012. Russell introduced his film to the students, and spent some time with them after the screening to chat and answer questions.
Russell said: “It was really great to come back after 12 years, having been through so much career-wise and having finally achieved my goal of making a feature film. I have fond memories of my time on the Art Foundation course at Parc Menai - it was invaluable to me and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”
Russell has worked in film and television for over eight years, starting in production before moving into the creative field as a storyboard and concept artist. He has worked for all the main television channels, producing countless dramas, commercials, shorts and feature films. He said: “When I started at Coleg Menai, I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to be but knew it was in film - perhaps as a production designer, as I’d always had a fascination with sets and staging. It soon became clear through the rigorous creative processes on the course that my work was leading more towards storytelling and that film was my favourite medium. My final project included fake footage of UFOs and a monster in a lake that I mocked up!”
In 2008, Russell set up Castle Valley Films with his business partner, and they both share “a passion for great projects and always keep an eye out for original scripts and ideas that bridge the gap between good film and great cinema.” A keen writer, he wrote and directed the award-winning short film Anglesey Road in 2009, and has continued to write, produce and develop various pieces for film and television ever since.
Russell added: “The seeds of what I’ve managed to achieve so far in my career were planted during my time at Coleg Menai, and I’m very grateful to the great team and tutors for their dedication and support and for giving me such a great and intensive start to my further education and independence.”
Lecturer Owein Prendergast said: “This was a brilliant opportunity for our students to see how a degree in Art could lead to such a diverse and exciting career. It was a great honour for us to welcome Russell back to where he first started, and the students really enjoyed being able to quiz him afterwards!”
Coleg Menai offers a range of qualifications in Art & Design, ranging from Level 1 to BA (Hons). For more information, visit the website www.menai.ac.uk/courses or contact the course advice line on 01248 383333.
Coleg Menai Art and Design students received a very exclusive visit recently....