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Be inspired: alumni stories

Tom Smith, Filmmaker

Tom Smith is an award-winning filmmaker and former NewVIc student. At the age of 23, Tom had written and directed fourteen short films, which won five international awards including the Limelight Film Award. His films have also been screened at numerous film festivals such as the National Student Film Festival as well as institutions around the world including the USA.

CAN YOU START BY TELLING ME A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOURSELF, BEFORE YOU CAME TO NEWVIC?

I lived in Newham since I was three years old, having studied at the Royal Docks Community School before moving over to study at NewVic back in September 2010. Filmmaking has always been my passion; it’s a career path that has allowed to me to bring many of my creative skills together, whether it be collaborating together with a team of actors and crew, alongside writing original stories for audiences.

WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS?

A few of my achievements include 2.1 million views on my YouTube channel has over, my short domestic abuse drama Smoke has earned over 1.3million hits. I’ve had five of my films screened at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. My short film Empty was screened at the Picturehouse Cinema in Stratford and my films Empty and Pathfinder have been screened at the BFI Southbank. My short film Smoke was screened and had a lecture devoted to it at the University of California.

WHAT DID YOU STUDY AT NEWVIC?

I studied a BTEC Extended Diploma in Music Technology and A Level Media Studies. I was also a part of the drama society for two years.

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO MAKE FILMS?

From an early age I was always writing short stories, but it wasn’t until my parents took me to my local cinema to go see The Lord Of The Rings that I developed my taste for wanting to direct films.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY SINCE YOU LEFT NEWVIC TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

My journey has taken to me through various forms of education, from studying two degrees at University, to shooting fourteen short films, to meeting various Hollywood actors and filmmakers. I have had two part time jobs since leaving NewVic, as well as working as a freelancer. It has been a journey full of ups and downs, but there has always been light at the end of the tunnel.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FOND MEMORIES OF NEWVIC?

The performances we did at Stratford Circus with the music department were always a highlight, including a performance of Blood Wedding with the drama students back in 2011.

WHAT MADE YOU APPLY TO NEWVIC?

NewVIc was high in the tables as it is a college which focussing on the creative arts, a subject I wanted to pursue as a future career; therefore it was easy for me to make that decision when it came to applying.

HOW DID YOU FIND THE TEACHING AT NEWVIC? DID IT PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR NEXT EDUCATIONAL STEP?

College was a much more relaxed environment than than school was, the teachers were there to guide me and bring out the best of my talents. A shout out to Performing Visual Arts Manager John Crockford, Music teacher Femi Akinyemi and Gabriel Armstrong from the music department and Saci Lloyd from the media department as they were the driving force behind my teaching.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF BEFORE YOU CAME TO NEWVIC?

NewVIc definitely gave me the confidence to pursue the career path I have undertaken. It took me a while to realise what I wanted to achieve but the help and support of all my fellow students and teachers allowed that to happen.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?

Working with people who want to pursue the talents they have to offer, and not being afraid of doing something that is personal to me as well as something a general audience will like.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?

At the moment my main goal is to finish off the last of my Uni work, which will involve the release of four brand new short films as well as hopefully securing my place to study at the National Film & Television School.

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