Hugh graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Politics, Philosophy & Economics and a vague notion of wanting to make films. He supported himself through teaching history, selling carpets, and even selling fish, while he joined various grass roots film cooperatives in London in search of experience. After a few disastrous experiences, where the drama was all behind the camera instead of in front of it, Hugh sought out proper training and attended the UK’s top film school, The National Film & Television School (NFTS), as a producing student.
His graduation film, Crowstone, won the Cinefoundation Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and he was awarded the Sam Mendes Shakespeare Prize, which he used to study script writing in Berlin. He got his first professional experience producing short films for Monty Python, and after that set up BreakThru Films. In 2008 Hugh was awarded an Oscar for BreakThru’s first major production, Peter and the Wolf. The film also picked up several other top prizes including the Annecy Cristal and the Rose D’or.
Peter and the Wolf was conceived as, and its main form of distribution still is, a film to be accompanied by live orchestra. It premiered at a sold out Royal Albert Hall, then at the Hollywood Bowl, and has since been performed at over 70 concert halls worldwide. His next film, Magic Piano & the Chopin Shorts, applied the same approach to Chopin’s Etudes. The soundtrack was performed by Lang Lang, the live premiere was in Beijing’s Forbidden City, then London’s South Bank Centre, and New York’s Lincoln Centre, and has since been performed in 30 major venues around the world.
After falling in love with Polish painter and director, Dorota Kobiela, Hugh also fell in love with her short film idea, Loving Vincent, which would tell Van Gogh’s story by bringing his paintings animated life to tell it for him. After much discussion and testing Hugh & Dorota decided that they wanted to make it as a feature film, which would require painting 62,450 individual frames of oil painting: the world’s first completely oil-painted feature film. Loving Vincent is currently in production; at the time of reading there will be about 35,000 oil paintings left to paint. Hugh and Dorota mostly live in the Loving Vincent studios in Gdansk and Athens with the 65 painters bringing Van Gogh’s paintings to life. In his leisure time Hugh works on a collection of short stories about the end of World War One and runs around the forests and beaches of Northern Poland with his dog Freddo.