Elliott Hasler has brought a family story to life with global appeal. The Exeter Uni student has been bagged as the next Spielberg, but it’s the energy and accomplishment that shine.
Based on a true story, Elliott Hasler’s film World War II: The Long Walk Home (previously Charlie’s Letters) tells the story of escaped prisoner of war Charlie Standing (Elliott Hasler), his epic journey through war-torn Italy, and the wife (Alice Rogers) and son he left behind in Sussex.
Written by Elliott at the age of 14, the self-financed micro-budget feature was made with help from friends and family and completed by the time he was 16. The film screened at Edinburgh, Brighton and Berlin Festivals and now gets a home entertainment release through 101 Films International.
Elliott told D&CFilm: ‘I first became inspired to make films when I was about 10. There was a school project where there was a week without lessons and instead we made a film, that was really my first experience making a movie and the work that goes into it and I just fell in love. I then started making little films on my own which gradually grew bigger and better and at fourteen I decided I’d make a feature.
“I’ve never been to film school but making ‘WWII: The Long Road Home’ was very much my film school. The three years I spent working on that film taught me invaluable lessons about the movie-making process across all aspects, from scripting to directing to editing.
“Obviously this is an ongoing learning and adapting process with each movie made, moving you up to another level of understanding and skill.
“These are the aspects of film making I relish and motivate me to move forward with ever more projects.”
Charlie Standing is a young private in the Royal Hampshire Infantry Regiment of the British Army when he is captured by the Germans at Sidi Nsir in Tunisia in February 1943.
The main action of the film follows Charlie as he escapes from an Italian internment camp and attempts to make his way home to his family. As Charlie travels through the bleak Italian countryside, slowly making his way towards Rome with the help of people he encounters on the way, his wife ‘Tup’ keeps the home fires burning. When the letters from her husband stop coming, she has to deal with her fears – and temptation in the form of a handsome Canadian airman.
Graham Fuller on Culture Trip says:
‘…what a phenomenal achievement Charlie’s Letters is for a schoolboy director! Aside from Hasler’s ambition, the most exciting aspect of his film is his ability to tell a story visually without over-reliance on talk. Five years from now, he could be a world-beater.’
Brighton-based Exeter Uni undergrad Elliott followed WWII: The Long Walk Home with a number of short films and is now filming his second feature, Vindication Swim, a biopic of Mercedes Gleitze. Gleitze, also a Brighton native, was the first British woman to swim the English Channel, and a forgotten heroine. Elliott plans to screen the film in Cannes 2022.
WWII: The Long Walk Home is available from Asda, Tesco and Morrison’s; on Sky store, ITunes, Amazon and HMV
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