The Stars & The Stones, and the Story of James Hughes

The Star & The Stones was the first success, but definitely not the last …

I wanted to be a filmmaker from a young age, but I didn't know anyone in the industry and I lived outside of London. Even those around me weren't that interested in movies. I couldn't have been more isolated from the world I dreamed of.

After graduating from university, I was determined to find my way into the film industry, but my applications for stage experience in London were repeatedly rejected.

On one of these later paths I stayed and attended the Raindance Film Festival. It was the first festival I'd ever been to. It blew the barn doors off. I sat there in the dark, smiling every time I saw a director's name on the screen, wondering how that must feel – to make this happen. I was determined to be one of them. But I didn't have any money or kit. So I wrote a short film using the only resources I had access to: my writing, a photographer friend, and an actress I knew.

The short film, The stars and the stones, tells the story of a man dying of AIDS when we see his girlfriend in black and white 35mm photography tracing their lives together. I made my no-budget directorial debut at the Raindance Film Festival and to my amazement it was accepted. During the festival, I was in the same row that I had sat in the year before, but now I was waiting for my own film to hit the big screen for my first showing.

As the credits roll, I couldn't stop smiling. After years of closed doors, Raindance was the first organization that made me feel like I had a future as a filmmaker.

James Hughes on the set

Since then, I've made more shorts, all of which became BAFTA-qualifying films, and each time I was sure I had at least one sample of my films in the Raindance studios.

In the past few years I've sold three feature film scripts, spokesman for BAFTA, served on the Executive Committee of the Writers & # 39; Guild of Great Britain, made a feature film and was just selected for the BAFTA crew.

All of this is due to that particular moment of my first screening. Raindance believed in me before anyone in the industry did. They made me realize that I could do that, that I belonged. And for that they will always have a special place in my heart.

– James Hughes

Watch the trailer for a new short film directed by James Hughes

Check out James Hughes:

2 new short films just released

Production company, Sunset Aperture.


About Raindance

Raindance aims to promote and support independent filmmakers and filmmakers.

Raindance connects, trains, supports and nurtures visual storytellers at every step of their career.

The Raindance Film Festival takes place every autumn in London's Leicester Square.

Raindance has been offering film training since 1992. A wide range of open classes through to a 2-year HND Level 5 BTEC in Moving Images for a postgraduate film degree is offered to students on five continents both in person and online.


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