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 Wednesday, 8 January, 2003, 12:03 GMT
Hollywood buys valleys 'snow'
A winter scene being made with artificial snow made by Excel
Film sets are decorated with the fake snow
A south Wales company has made a name for itself after becoming one of the top suppliers of artificial snow used to create winter scenes on film sets in Hollywood.

Paper recycling firm Excel Industries, based in Ebbw Vale, chiefly makes loft insulation from waste paper, but also has a sideline in manufacturing fake snow.

Pierce Brosnan
The latest James Bond film featured the snow

The company makes the product for Snow Business - a special effects company - who use it to adorn film sets across the world.

The fake snow has been used to decorate the latest James Bond film as well as hundreds of other motion pictures and television series.

The latest movie set to use the product is Ted and Sylvia, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and about the life of the poet Sylvia Plath which will be released later this year.

Nick Thompson, managing director of Excel said: "It all started when we were asked to produce a material to resemble volcanic ash.

"The colour of that was what our normal output looks like.

It is funny to see the snow made here on films that get shown all over the world

Nick Thompson, Excel

"Then it developed from there and we were asked to start producing artificial snow for use on film sets," he said.

The company, which employs 60 people and has been running since 1980, makes the snow all year round.

"Our main business is making loft insulation and a product which gets added into the bitumen to make new roads," said Mr Thompson.

"But we do make quite a lot of snow as well.

"We have to use very high quality paper, which we bring in bulk.

"This is then shredded and milled and goes through a process to make the snow.

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow will star in Ted and Sylvia

"Because the paper needs to be of such high quality we source it from all over the world and we produce the snow all year around.

"Once it is made, it gets shipped out to where it is needed in the world.

"We have made snow for all sorts of films and television series, like Band of Brothers.

"It is funny to see the snow made here on films that get shown all over the world," he added.

The firm is able to supply Snow Business, with different textures of snow which is then used to create a range of weather conditions including fine sleet and thick snow drifts.

Christine Smith, spokeswoman for Snow Business said: "We have done the snow effects for all sorts of films like Harry Potter, James Bond, and Notting Hill.

"The snow made at Excel is bundled into compacted bales and we have to use machines to blow it out into the effect the director wants.

"We travel all over the world helping create the different effects needed for the films and television sets," she added.


More from south east Wales
See also:

05 Jan 03 | Europe
22 Dec 02 | Media reports
16 Dec 01 | UK
06 Jan 03 | England
04 Jan 03 | UK
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