Aberystwyth University US alumni receptions

Ben Thompson, an Aberystwyth University alumnus with Ed Thomas, Creative Director and Producer from company Fiction Factory

Ben Thompson, an Aberystwyth University alumnus with Ed Thomas, Creative Director and Producer from company Fiction Factory

01 June 2016

This year Aberystwyth University's annual US alumni receptions in New York and Washington DC introduced the innovative and imposing landscapes that form the backdrop to the University’s research-led learning and teaching activity in the creative arts, creative entrepreneurship and in innovative artistic endeavour of all kinds.

On Tuesday 24 May an evening reception was held in New York, and on Thursday 26 May a reception was hosted in Washington DC. 

The events, which were introduced by Aberystwyth University Vice-Chancellor Professor April McMahon, were hosted by the University and its partner, the Welsh Government, the BBC, BAFTA New York and BAFTA Cymru.

The guest speaker at the events was Ed Thomas, Creative Director and Producer from production company Fiction Factory.  Ed is an Honorary Fellow of the University, and producer of the detective drama series Hinterland, which is shot entirely on location in and around Aberystwyth.

Hinterland has now been sold to more than 150 territories worldwide, and last month the series won the Grand Award in the Crime Drama category at the New York International Film and Television Awards.

Ed Thomas explained to guests why he chose Ceredigion, with its mountainous terrain, agricultural lowlands, close-knit communities, sweeping seascapes and busy town-life, as the dramatic and imposing environment in which to film Hinterland.  He also explained why and how Wales dominates and leads the film and TV industry in the UK.

Ed Thomas said: “I have welcomed being part of this unique opportunity to celebrate and promote the partnership between the University and Fiction Factory as well as the talent and ambition of Aberystwyth University students who work with us on placements. I have been really struck by the diversity of the University's alumni here and their passion for the University which I of course share, not only as a partner but as an Honorary Fellow.”

Louise Jagger, Head of the Development and Alumni Relations Office at Aberystwyth University said: “We are delighted at the success of the University's annual reunion with alumni and friends in New York and Washington DC.  The success of the events is thanks to the support of Honorary Fellow Ed Thomas and the contribution of the Head of the University’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Dr Anwen Jones and our partnership with Welsh Government.  It was particularly pleasing to welcome the family and friends of alumni to an event in which they could experience the beauty of west Wales and the talent of the Hinterland team through our special screening. We are very grateful to Ed and his team for making this possible and for all they do to support the University.”

At the reception in New York, Ben Thompson, an Aberystwyth University alumnus who graduated in 2005 with a joint honour in Film and Theatre was awarded a Creative Associateship from the Institute of Literature, Languages and the Creative Arts, in recognition of his professional achievement as Senior Shorts Programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival and his ongoing contribution and support to current Aberystwyth film students.