For the first guest workshop of 2017, the UCLU Film & TV Society welcomed writer and director Charles Henri Belleville. Over the course of Wednesday’s 80-minute event, he talked about his beginnings in the industry, his past and upcoming projects, and a range of other topics in response to questions from society members.
Belleville touched upon his start in the film industry as a distribution intern at production company Vertigo Films, through which he met producers he’d later collaborate with on his recent Jet Trash, as well as Tom Hardy, who starred in Belleville’s BIFA-winning directorial debut The Inheritance. Charlie talked about his experience directing both films, working with the likes of Hardy and Robert Sheehan (of Misfits fame), and offered insights into his current projects. Mentioning the films of Alfred Hitchcock as inspiration for his upcoming The Blue Mauritius, he cautioned controlling one’s ambition when developing such a star-studded project (the film will star Brian Cox, John Rhys-Davies and Gérard Depardieu). He also teased another film he’s currently working on, which has been in the editing room for four years.
Taking questions from the audience, Charlie talked about the merits and disadvantages of the ‘perfect conditions’ of film school, how he best develops story ideas, and his opinions on working as a director on TV series (where ‘you get kicked out after 3-4 days in the edit’) and putting your own directional stamp on things like trailers and posters. He advised aspiring directors to ‘not wait for permission’ to make a film, and emphasised the importance and significance of post-production work, particularly in sound mixing and ADR. Throughout, Belleville illustrated his advice with anecdotes from his career: which included the discovery of a crew member’s villainous streak on the set of Jet Trash; a film-worthy story of an intern assignment to retrieve film footage from Thailand; and the BIFA award competition conflict between his first film, The Inheritance – filmed on equipment loaned from his then-employer, Vertigo – and the film Vertigo had actually hired him to work on.
A big thank you to Charlie Belleville for joining us! Future guests at our upcoming workshops this term include VRscape’s Chris Rowe and Tom Browne, director of the acclaimed Radiator. To find out more, go to the Events section on our site. See the trailer for Belleville’s Jet Trash below: