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Film-maker’s death ‘big loss to industry’
AN OXFORD film-maker described as being on the verge of a breakthrough in the industry has died suddenly at his home.
Gordon Wilson, 47, said to be an “emerging talent” who was working on a documentary for Channel 4, was found dead at his home in Gordon Street, South Oxford, on Friday, January 25.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and the matter has been passed to the Oxfordshire coroner’s office.
Last night tributes were paid to Mr Wilson’s generous nature and his talent as a film-maker.
He first came to prominence with the documentary 66 Months Under the Radar, which set out to expose the holes in Oxfordshire’s social care system.
The film followed nearly six years in the life of Nigel Fletcher – a man battling addiction and an abusive relationship – under the radar of social services in Oxford.
It was shown all around the world, including at film festivals in New York, Holland, Greece and Lithuania.
Mr Wilson was also working on a new documentary in Scunthorpe for Channel 4 with production company KEO films.
Andrew Palmer, creative director at KEO films, said: “Gordon was an exceptionally talented and dedicated producer with an extraordinary gift for empathy.
“He literally made friends everywhere he went and had the ability to connect with people from any walk of life.
“People trusted Gordon and believed in him, and as a result he was able to take cameras to places where few had ever been able to film before.”
One of his closest friends, Paul Clark from East Oxford, explained why his documentaries were so powerful.
Mr Clark, 50, said: “I have never met such a genuine and generous man as him in my life.
“He had a natural caring side to him and that’s why he was such a good documentary maker.”
Mr Wilson got into filmmaking when he was jobless and homeless. He visited a free workshop at Film Oxford in Catherine Street.
Gary Shenton, 50, production development manager with Film Oxford, said: “He was a good student here. He came on in leaps and bounds.
“We are terribly sad about it. I worked with Gordon for a number of years developing projects.
“He will be very sorely missed. He was a genuine person and really cared for the community he was making films about.
“The communities he worked with were hard to reach. Those that had fallen through the net of social services.
“It is a great pity that this has happened to such an emerging talent just coming through in a film- making career.”
Mr Wilson held a Q&A session on his documentary at the Phoenix Picturehouse in Walton Street, Oxford, in September last year.
Assistant manager Matt Taylor said: “The staff all commented on how friendly and down to earth Gordon was. We had several customers comment on how important they felt the film was.”
Mr Wilson leaves three children Donna, 26, Emma, 22, and John, 30.
He also leaves older siblings, Mary Slattery, 49, and Robert Wilson, 50, who both live in Paisley, near Glasgow.
Robert said: “He was a lovely brother to me and was just a great guy. If he wasn’t my brother he would have been my best mate.
“It is a shock for me, my sister and all the family.”