An award-winning director, who has just graduated from a top film school, has encouraged others not to give up on their ambitions.
Former Lyndon School pupil Lewis Arnold got his start as a teenager, shooting short films with his friends around Elmdon Park and Mell Square.
He’s gone on to work on music videos for artists including The Saturdays, The Vaccines and Little Mix and has just completed his MA at the National Film and Television School.
“I used to do these films with my friends when I was at Solihull Sixth Form, they were very much just about teenage life,” said the 28-year-old, when asked about his very first work.
“I had a cheap camera and I saved up for editing equipment while I was working at Solihull Cineworld.
“It was incredible to see these things I had shot out in the cold with my friends come to life when I started to piece them together.”
He said his family were originally eager that he took a job in graphic design but were eventually persuaded he could make a career out of directing.
“To begin with they just wanted to be sure I could earn money. But my dad’s done a complete 360 and he’s now my biggest fan!
“What I say to people who want to do this is that you have to persevere. The thing is that once you’ve been bitten, you’re never going to want to do anything else.”
Among his many projects, Lewis has shot several aid videos for the charity Islamic Relief, in countries including Somalia, Kenya and Haiti.
“That’s hard, it’s almost not until you’ve put your camera away that you realise you’ve been filming someone’s life. Some of those people are at death’s door but you see the other side too, how relatively small projects can make a massive difference to people’s lives.”
This weekend, Lewis, who grew up in Valley Road, Elmdon, returns to the region for the screening of his short film Echo, at Birmingham’s Flatpack Festival.
“For me, that’s perhaps the favourite thing I’ve done. It’s about grief and I’ve lost a couple of people over the years, so it’s quite personal.”
Echo will be screened at the Custard Factory tomorrow (Saturday) as part of Flatpack.Find out more at www.flatpackfestival.org