A 17-year-old film director and former Shoreham College student has released his first feature film, which depicts the wartime experiences of his great-grandfather.
Elliott Hasler took his film Charlie’s Letters to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – becoming the youngest ever director to take part in the event.
After becoming hooked on directing at the age of ten during a filmmaking week at St Andrew’s Primary School in Hove, Elliot decided to tell the story of his great-grandfather, Charlie Standing, when he was 14.
“I grew up hearing his story, which was passed down from my mum and grandad,” he said.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the second world war.”
The film tells the story of Charlie’s posting in Tunisia as a private in the Royal Hampshire Regiment in 1943.
He was captured during the battle of Sidi Nsir and held as a prisoner of war in Italy, before spending 18 months fighting with the underground resistance in Europe.
The film was shot over three years, with a break during which Charlie took his GCSEs, and involved travelling to five countries for filming.
On seeing the final film, Elliot, who lives in Berriedale Avenue, Hove, said he was ‘quite nervous’ – but that the audience reaction was ‘fantastic’.
He said he hopes that Charlie, who died a year before he was born, would have been proud of the film.
“One of the main things was that it had to do justice to his remarkable story,” he said.
The film premiered at the Brighton Fringe in May, before being screened in Scotland.
Elliot, who is currently working towards A Levels in History, English and Politics at Hurstpierpoint College, hopes to study history at university before doing a postgraduate course in filmmaking and continuing as a director.
A DVD of the film can be purchased through Charlie’s production company here