Gary Wales: moving into the mainstream and to America

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Watching Edward Scissorhands when he was six years old saw Gary Wales develop a love of movies that has never diminished.

And it set him on the path to his future career, with his mum Carol ensuring that the eldest of her five children was able to go to stage school.

Brought up in Bo’ness, where he attended Kinneil Primary and Bo’ness Academy, Gary and his family moved to Northern Ireland when he was 12.

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While at school there, he secured the lead roles in Oliver and Grease and then went on to study performing arts at the Southern Regional College in Armagh, where he was granted both his Level 2 and Level 3 BTEC Diplomas.

Dark Forest will be Gary's movie swansong in Scotland, as he'll be moving to America later this year to pursue his career in the States. (Picture: Sonja Blietschau)Dark Forest will be Gary's movie swansong in Scotland, as he'll be moving to America later this year to pursue his career in the States. (Picture: Sonja Blietschau)
Dark Forest will be Gary's movie swansong in Scotland, as he'll be moving to America later this year to pursue his career in the States. (Picture: Sonja Blietschau)

From 2012 to 2015, Gary studied at the National Stage Theatre School in County Tyrone, where he took part in a national tour across Northern Ireland for Black 47, a new musical based around the Irish famine.

After he completed his studies, he and his family moved back to Bo’ness in 2017 where he started his own production company GAW (Gary Alexander Wales) Films – now rebranded as Nevis Studios.

Having partnered with David Penman of DP Productions, Gary won great acclaim with his short movie Rage which had its premiere in the Hippodrome in April 2022.

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Directed and written by Gary and David, Gary also starred in the movie as a seemingly normal family man who goes out for a date night with his wife. After a night spent drinking heavily and taking an assortment of drugs, things take a nasty turn when they return home.

Gary Wales is looking forward to filming his next self-penned short movie, Dark Forest, this summer in Glencoe. (Picture: Sonja Blietschau)Gary Wales is looking forward to filming his next self-penned short movie, Dark Forest, this summer in Glencoe. (Picture: Sonja Blietschau)
Gary Wales is looking forward to filming his next self-penned short movie, Dark Forest, this summer in Glencoe. (Picture: Sonja Blietschau)

The 21-minute movie is now available to view on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G38TKwDrvs&rco=1.

Gary (28) is also busy preparing for his next production, Dark Forest; he’s raised £3000 via a crowfunding page and is hoping to secure funds from Screen Scotland and Creative Scotland.

He said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me in raising the funding; it’s very much appreciated and I can’t wait to start filming.

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“I’m steering away from movies with a message and moving mainstream.

“I’ve always loved crime thrillers and dramas and can’t wait to start shooting this summer in Glencoe.”

Stepping into the lead role of Detective Danny, Gary is one of two detectives who embark on a relentless pursuit of a serial killer.

Dark Forest, which will remain a short but of around 40-45 minute duration, will end on a cliffhanger as there are plans to continue the story with a TV series. It’s not yet been picked up but Gary hopes it will be once the film is released.

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Once Dark Forest has premiered in Scotland, Gary will also be preparing for his next big adventure – moving to Missouri to pursue his career.

He added: “Most of the work is out there so I’m going to move to the States, where I’ve already got projects lined up for the next six years!

“I can’t say too much about them just yet but the first one is my first Christmas and faith-based movie, God’s Christmas Miracle. As a Christian, I’m really looking forward to doing that one.

“I’m a bit nervous – it’s a big move and it’s difficult leaving family behind but I’ll be back to visit. It’s just something I feel I have to do.”