Neill Gorton Prosthetics Studio – or Gorton Studio as it’s known – has been operating from Killigrew Street in Falmouth since 2014. The studio is a training school for makeup FX and prosthetics artists in the film and TV industry and is directed by BAFTA winner Neill Gorton, an internationally renowned prosthetics designer with a 30-year film industry career.
The studio in Falmouth is part of a bigger picture; there is another branch in Aylesbury, Bucks which was inaugurated in 2003, and shares a building with Neill’s industry company Millennium FX. Millennium creates makeup FX and monsters for films and TV. Their work spans back to modern classics like Saving Private Ryan and Gladiator, through to the 2015 release Victor Frankenstein and up-coming sci-fi adventure The Titan.
Their TV credits include iconic series like Doctor Who and Red Dwarf and, being closely associated with Millennium FX, Gorton Studio is widely regarded as the most authentic place to study screen prosthetics. There is also a small, satellite branch of Millennium in Pool, allowing the close relationship between the two companies to exist similarly in Cornwall.
Lisa Gorton picks up the story. “From the Falmouth studio, we train beginners for careers in makeup FX, help professionals improve their skills, support teachers in delivering industry-relevant courses and provide specialist modules for universities and colleges as part of wider curricula,” she says.
“Our students are roughly 50% international, but some courses can see 80% of their student population travelling from abroad. We welcome students from Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and India to study courses of five days to seven weeks.
“We publish a specialist, film industry magazine ‘Prosthetics’ which has a strong international readership, and run an annual event in Birmingham called The Prosthetics Event, which is an educational event about our subject attended by 1,000 enthusiasts and industry artists, some of whom we fly over specially from the USA and Europe.
“We’re also starting to take on other projects such as short film and collaborative work. We were involved in the current exhibition of tattoo art at Cornwall’s Maritime museum, where we created realistic body parts for tattooists to exhibit their work on and provided some education on the subject of hyper realism for students at the University of Falmouth’s School of Art, funded with grants secured by the museum.
“Falmouth never disappoints as a location and our initial reservations about it being inaccessible for both UK and international students have proved unfounded, as our courses are as popular as those we run near London. It’s also a wonderful town to work in and we use the immediate locale regularly for our own filmmaking projects.”