Back in March 2020, Matthew Hickman from Ardrossan, had been preparing to hit the live circuit again as lead vocalist for the Ayrshire band, Brownbear.

In a pre-pandemic world, the band had already been building a large following and had been tipped for big things for 2020, with plans to sell out headline shows across the UK.

Then it all stopped, for all of us. And for musicians, live music, gigs and festivals all still on ice as we wade through the hangover of the pandemic.

For Hickman, 29, the need to remain creative was stronger than ever – and having been involved in the making on the music videos for Brownbear, he applied to GMAC Film’s Little Pictures development fund last

year as an opportunity to write, direct and produce

his very own short film.

After months of planning training and mentoring, Matthew has began the production of his short film “Stop the World” last week.

Set in Saltcoats, the production was filmed over four days last weekend.

Matthew told the Herald how it important it was for him to keep things local to the ‘shire when it comes to creative practice.

He said: “We had made a music video in Largs before, so I know how stunning it is down here. We cast locally from Irvine, Saltcoats and Greenock, so all the actors are from the coast, I think it is really important for people to see films being made in their community. So many people were stopping us and asking us what is going on. It shows you shouldn’t have to move to the city to be part of the film community.

“We have film making and music courses at the university locally (UWS) but people feel they need to leave Ayrshire and go to the city for opportunities – so it was great I could film in Saltcoats instead.”

Matthew’s aim is to show the film at a festival and later in cinemas.

He continued: “This is my first production from start to finish as director. It just shows that creative people need to be creative and I’ve learned so much in the process.”

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