Film graduate from Wolverhampton makes the cut with national awards win

A University of Wolverhampton graduate has made the cut after winning a national award for his creative work in the film industry.

Craig Hartwell in action
Craig Hartwell in action

Craig Hartwell, 43 from Willenhall, studied for an undergraduate degree in Film and Television Production and graduated in 2022, then entered a short film into the nationally acclaimed Creative Conscience Awards.

The Creative Conscience Awards scheme searches for exciting projects that focus on social or environmental impact themes.

Craig's film, '17', is a short drama film exploring the stigma of male depression and suicide.

17 poster

He said: "I wanted to make a film to prevent not only the stigma but also to help people struggling to voice their anxieties. Through dramatic reconstruction and representation, I hoped the film would achieve this.

"I entered the Creative Conscience Awards competition on recommendation from my tutor, Tracy McCoy, after showing her the first cut of my film which fits the drive to support creative talent for positive social impact.

"I owe everything to my partner, Amy, for supporting me throughout the course, without her I wouldn't have been able to get as far as I did.

"The film is dedicated to my friend Shay O’Toole whom it was originally meant to star and to Simon Rogers. Sadly, Shay passed away."

One actor who features in the film, Ewan Weatherburn, asked Craig to donate his fee to charity, after Ewan lost his brother to suicide.

“The course pushed me to visualise what I wanted to achieve. It gave me the tools to create and the confidence to pull it off.

What I will take away is when I thought I had what I wanted, my tutors and peers encouraged me to take the film further, to craft it, to mould it and make it better.

Tracy McCoy, Craig’s personal tutor, said: "I was absolutely delighted to hear of Craig's success with "17" which is a short, social action, self-penned screenplay.

"Craig's desire to use film to make a difference and facilitate a change of view, introspection or meaning was an ever-present theme in our tutorial conversations throughout his studies.

"It is wonderful to see this ambition begin to be realised by this Creative Conscience Award win."

Craig is returning to the University of Wolverhampton to study for a Master’s degree and has written a film and pilot which he hopes to pitch to Netflix in the future.

The awards will officially be announced and celebrated in an online ceremony on September 20.

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