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Gary Thomas - on the up

Thursday 8th September, 2011

Sync South East may be in its final stage, but the impact it has had can clearly be seen - Just take a look at this press release about Gary Thomas who has been part of the individuals programme...

Although Artists are traditionally on a low income, Gary Thomas has been able to build on the success he’s had in the past couple of years. Thanks to Accentuate and the opportunities he’s been able to take advantage of, including being part of Sync South East, a two year artist development programme, Gary’s income has doubled compared with last year, and is expected to continue in the coming years.

You may think it’s even harder to convince people & organisations to part with money to make films during the current climate, but through networking and sharing skills, Gary has defied the odds, especially as a disabled filmmaker. Gary’s track record speaks for itself. After completing his degree and working for a local newspaper company, Gary had to go back on benefits which he stayed on for 7 years until through volunteering and support he was able to move into part time work with The Freewheelers Theatre Company. After a while he felt able to take on other work.

As well as working on the Driving Inspirations project this year he still works for The Freewheelers Theatre Company, where he makes films with them and documents their drama workshops. Also this year he was awarded funding by Arts Council England to develop a film set a few days after the 2012 Olympics.

Gary Says: “Because of the way I work I was recommended onto the Driving Inspirations Project, which was the first time that nobody saw my CV or examples of my work, they just heard about me from others and I was on board. And I think more and more work is going to come that way. Because of the contacts and achievements made during the Sync South East Development programme, my work continues to grow and develop, and this doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.”

Since receiving training money from Screen South in 2004 to go on writing & directing courses, Gary has made 7 films, including a half hour documentary about people with learning difficulties funded by Unltd. His work has been funded by DADA-South, Arts Council England, and this year he took part in the Driving Inspirations Project, teaching filmmaking in 10 schools across the south east. Some of this is partly down to being part of Sync South East.

Gary is a strong minded and determined individual who has battled life’s obstacles in order to follow his passion to become a film maker. Gary had undergone four operations before the age of ten after being born with a flat nose & Cleft Pallet and when most teenagers were off to University, Gary was having more corrective surgery & spent 10 days in intensive care. He’s also lived with enduring mental health problems for some time.