Local Face: William Axtell

  |  Published: Jul 1st 2017
William Axtell, photo courtesy William Axtell

William Axtell was born in Wendover on 31 March 1988 and still lives here. Local recognition of his considerable talent came when his film Aylesbury Dead, which has a local cult following, and was felt to reflect a youth ambiance, had a special showing on Tuesday 13 June 2017 as a special event within The Whitewalker - Game of Thrones Tapestry exhibition in Bucks County Museum. This featured a Bloody Mary drinks bar and specatators were encouraged to come dressed in costume. See http://www.wendovernews.co.uk/news/whitewalker-game-of-thrones-tapestry.

It took William a while to find his metier. He started primary school at John Hampden in Wendover. Almost immediately his teachers and parents realised that he was not responding well in this new environment. Fortunately, his severe dyslexia was diagnosed at a young age and he was quickly transferred to the local school which has a specialist unit - William Harding in Aylesbury. He naturally moved on to The Grange, in Aylesbury, for his secondary education.

At the age of seven, William started drawing in every spare moment and later began to spend a lot of time in the Dead Universe comic shop in Aylesbury, specialising in what are now often called graphic novels. He drew his own and interpreted it for a school assembly, then self published aged only 15. This gained him popularity and notoriety in equal measure, mostly aligned with the age of the critic.

William achieved a distinction for his A-level Art, partly inspired by the birth of his son who featured in his final piece of work, but that didn’t immediately offer him a way forward with a career or earning money so he accepted the job his father had found for him labouring on a building site. He enjoyed the work, but the company closed. He moved to Woolworths, so was made redundant again, then went to the Odeon where he has now worked for 8 years.The cinema environment opened William’s mind to new development for his Aylesbury Dead comic ideas and he started crowdfunding for equipment to release a film which came out in 2015 and led to You Tube William Axtell Films. Since then he has collected together a company of local talent to help him produce his films including original music from local bands. Aylesbury Odeon held the premiere of Aylesbury Dead (appropriately enough, around midnight) on 27 June 2015, providing him with an enthusiastic audience, now eagerly awaiting his next venture. 

His work has been noticed, attracting funding, and he is currently gathering actors and technicians to help him with Aylesbury Dead 2. Watch out for the posters. If you would like to get involved, contact him at William Axtell Art and Films on Facebook or https://www.instagram.com/william_axtell/?hl=en on Instagram.

Whatever size screen, William Axtell is a name to watch.

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