Lessons to learn from an award-winning UAE teen filmmaker!
16-year-old Charlie Cracknell won an award with his short film Safe Driving Saves Lives at the International Student Film Festival in Hollywood. (Klear.com)
DO YOU GO to the movies and reckon you could make a better picture? Some do and Canon Middle East once again recently gave UAE residents the opportunity to prove it.
Taking place annually in Dubai since 2011, the 48 Hours Film Project tasked local filmmakers to create a four to seven minute film in just two days.
16-year-old Charlie Cracknell was already an award-winning director with his short film Safe Driving Saves Lives which won 'Best Public Service Announcement' at the International Student Film Festival in Hollywood. A long-time participant in the 48 Hours Film Project, here he tells us all about it.
What inspired you to make your movie and enter this project?
I entered 48 Hours Film Project (48 HFP) when I was 11 years old since then have grown alongside this project. I still remember it was my first year in Dubai; my dad saw a write up about the 48HFP and thought it might be fun for me try it out. I was a bit sceptical at first and not sure I wanted to do it but after meeting 48HFP organisers and showing him the films I had made, he insisted I should try. I really hope I can win it someday.
How long have you been interested in film making and how did you go about making this movie? What were the first steps and how has Canon helped?
I have been making films since the age of 9. My first film was for a school project in which we could choose any medium to showcase our work and I chose to do a video because no one had done one at the time.
For the 48HFP this year, I got 'Dark Comedy' as my genre. So after receiving the elements (Character, Prop and Line) we drove straight off to get some burgers to keep us going as we knew the beginning is always the hardest part! I always begin with the script and contacting actors who are basically friends and family. This year it was a big struggle coming up with an idea. After being up all night I finally had a script. As everyone started to arrive to begin shooting, I had a change of heart and decided to rewrite the whole thing. 20 minutes later after a quick rewrite, we were off to look for a place to start filming.
We then spent the day filming which was as always great fun even though I was sleep deprived. The following day was spent on editing and shooting a couple more scenes and by 6pm I had a film!
I am a huge fan of Canon cameras and managed to save up enough to buy my own 5D Mark III last year. Canon very kindly lent me a second camera and lenses for the competition.
Is this something you want to do as a career? What do your friends and family think about you getting into this at such a young age? How do you feel about it?
Filmmaking is definitely something I want pursue as a career. My friends and family think it's great and are very supportive. They even help out by appearing in the films!
I love directing and the creative process of seeing the ideas that are first in my head, that then move on to paper and then finally to on a screen, as a film.
Tell us about winning the award in America. How did it make you feel? What would be your ideal next project?
It was awesome! I was very excited to receive the news that I won the award for the 'Best Public Service Announcement' in the 2015 International Student Film Festival Hollywood. I was disappointed I could not attend that film festival in LA but I chose to stay in Dubai to take part in the 48HFP instead as they were both on the same weekend.
My ideal next project? Definitely an action film!
What advice would you give others looking to follow in your footsteps?
Keep creating but have fun with it!
By David Light
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