Major acting award for Newtongrange civil servant

Robert Welsh with his award
Robert Welsh with his award

A civil servant from Newtongrange who describes his acting as “a hobby” has won an international film award for his role in a stop-motion animation movie.

Robert Welsh was given the “Award of Merit” at the IndieFEST Film Awards in California recently, following the release of his latest short film, Avaritia.

The 47-year-old father, who has worked full-time for HM Revenue and Customs for more than 25 years, said acting has always been his passion, but never had he dreamed of winning such a prestigious award.

He said: “I feel extremely honoured to be awarded this from the IndieFEST as I was in competition with feature films, some of which starred notable actors.

“Acting is just a hobby, but it’s something I have always been interested in for as long as I can remember.”

The IndieFEST is an international awards competition which honours professionals, established and emerging filmmakers, who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity in films.

Avaritia, directed by Walid Salhab and which took two-and-a-half years to film, has been described by Robert as a stop-motion animation film – similar to Wallace and Gromit. Robert was given the Award of Merit for his leading role of ‘Adam’ in Avaritia.

The film was shot at various locations across Edinburgh and follows the story of a wealthy banker and his struggles to find love due to his greed. He falls in love with a girl featured in a poster and immerses himself in her world. It got its world premiere earlier this year at Cannes Film Festival.

The film is made up of more than 9000 individual photographs to form a surreal depiction of love and greed which are put together in real time to make the film.

Robert said: “This film explores a strange way of acting. It not like regular films where actors spend only a few moments in character before they are told to ‘cut’.

“When my team and I were filming Avaritia, sometimes we would be out in the cold for over four hours at a time filming – I had to stand in certain poses for hours sometimes.”

He added of his award: “It is actually amazing that they have considered this to be acting, I am humbled to have won.”

Growing up in Edinburgh Robert tried his best to secure main roles in plays but was never chosen.

As he progressed into high school, he joined the Edinburgh Acting School alongside Jamie Sives, who went on to land roles in Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Ron Howard’s Rush.