Peter Watkins-Hughes, 47, campaigner to save Brynmawr Market Cinema, tells CARYS THOMAS about his film career and growing up in the Valleys.

"This cinema influenced my life, I saw Jaws here in 1975, my dad took me to see it. I couldn't go in the bath for ages afterwards.

This is my boyhood cinema- this has always had a special place for me. Here is where my love of film started.

Its the oldest living cinema in Wales. When it was threatened with closure- I couldn't not do anything about it.

A group of us formed a community group to campaign. It is now run as a charitable trust.

I run it day to day and fit in my own projects around it. Going to the cinema should be a weekly experience, it should be magical.

If coming here inspires another young person from Brynmawr to make films than that would be worth it.

Tredegar is my muse, I've shot 14 or 15 films here of my own and for the BBC. Its a canvas of the South Wales Valleys, people are always so accommodating here.

I'm a Brynmawr boy born and bred. I moved away to London for a few years, Devon and up north but the best thing about moving away is coming back.

People are incredibly supportive around here. When we were filming A bit of Tom Jones it brought Tredegar to a complete standstill - a fleet of about 13 dumper trucks went through the town.

I was struggling to think of a birthday present for my wife. I thought what's the most unusual gift I can buy. The idea came really from what part of a celebrity can I buy her.

Not George Clooney, and I got to thinking about Welsh celebs, naturally it had to be Tom Jones. There are loads of stories all over the world of historic figures' body parts being preserved.

I thought it would make a fun movie premise - conmen claiming severed pieces of celebrities.

I suppose you could say it was a social commentary on celebrities or a film to make people laugh. We had premiere in Leicester square, it was nuts our little Welsh film in the main stream cinemas next to Avatar.

It was crazy to think in some cinemas we outsold Avatar. We won the Bafta Cymru for best film for that which was nice.

I didn't really expect to win to be honest. I love to make films for people, to hear them laugh at the gags you wrote was just brilliant.

You should never ask permission that's what I say. Film is my passion.

I've never been satisfied with anything I've made - you can always find faults in your own work. The best thing about being a director is working with the actors.

Film is about bringing the characters to life. If I had to choose it would be writing - I wrote the screenplay for, A bit of Tom Jones.

I was born in 1966, My mother Mary was a nurse, and Terry Hughes, my father, worked at the local factory. I had my first camera when I was 13 - I used to take photos and arrange them into a little film.

I had quite an imagination as a child, I remember creating a story about how a boy was in love with a princess' shadow. I must have been the only 13-year-old boy to ask for an electric type writer for Christmas.

One of the most bizarre things was Cow, a short film I did on the dangers of texting and driving which went viral. I had all these American news stations phoning me up wanting to talk to me about it.

It was even on Oprah and Good Morning America. The film is used by the Highways Agency, US military, in China -all over the globe really.

I had emails from parents in America who wanted to share their texting driving stories about losing their daughter and writing to say thank you for us making this film- its pretty humbling.

Because of the craziness of Cow - I was sent a screenplay from Fox. I had a phone call from the same agent who represents Eminem - I couldn't believe it.

I had to check the IP address to make sure it had actually come from Hollywood. It was a fabulous script - one of Hollywoods' blacklisted that never gets made.

It's unfortunate that it fell through because they couldn't get the funding. Who knows if I would have gone but it's nice to have had a brush with Hollywood.

The people who suffer the most in this are my own children, they suffer embarrassment in lessons when an education video is played and either I've made it or they are in in. My youngest Henry, whose 11-years-old, gets recognised from being in Cow all the time.

If I can make a film about drugs, or domestic violences that has a potential of making the world a better place then I have a duty to do it. I wish I was religious but in a way this is my substitute -my social conscious - I feel a need to make films about people on the streets.

I went to Sheffield to study fine art at first. I never wanted to be Steven Spielberg as a child.

I trained in Newport Film School. I've always loved helicopters and I try and find a place for a helicopter in all my films.

I worked for the BBC for a number of years, creating all kinds of programmes. I remember interviewing the only Welsh astronaut at NASA.

I think the project I am most proud of would be the BBC production for a testicular cancer campaign. Stuart Cable was the face of the campaign.

The best thing about those programmes wasn't the awards, it received a Bafta Cymru, it was receiving a letter from the British Medical Association to say that they had seen an increase in people talking about testicular cancer of which six or seven had they not gone at that time they might not be alive. They had seen the film - films can potentially save lives.

Even if the film helped one person that would be enough."