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Alumni Stories > Alumni Stories > Lights, Camera, Action!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Everyone enjoys a good movie but making an Oscar-worthy production? That’s something that requires passion and the tenacity to overcome any obstacle, much like Tanglin Alumnus Charlie (2016 Cohort).

As a little boy, Charlie loved the art of filmmaking but it was in Junior School when he decided he wanted to forge a career in film. When Tanglin introduced the Film Studies course for (I)GCSE, Charlie decided to pursue it and later studied Film at A-Level. Now he is based in London and living his dream after graduating from Arts University Bournemouth. It was there that he wrote and directed the film ‘Oh, Little Spark!’, which won a grand total of 16 awards at multiple film festivals globally, including four ’Best Short Film’ awards, three ‘Best Director’ awards, and one ‘Best Original Story’ title. 

Tell us about yourself. When did you start studying in Tanglin and what did you do after that?

I joined Tanglin as a Year 1 student almost 20 years ago and graduated in 2016. Looking back over those 13 years, it was a privilege to have studied at Tanglin. I had some excellent teachers and film studies was my favourite subject. I’d recently graduated from Arts University Bournemouth in BA Film Production. Since then, I worked as a 3rd AD and Director’s Mentee on a government-funded commercial in Singapore. I have also been marshaling on Netflix and ITV productions.


How and when did you become interested in the film industry?

When I was eight, I had the opportunity to be the foreign correspondent for an online video platform service specialising in educational children’s videos. My passion for Film started to grow and at (I)GCSE level when Tanglin introduced the Moving Image Arts subject, I jumped at the opportunity. My (I)GCSE production, which I worked on with Tanglin classmates, Stuart McHale and Sam Allen, won an award for Best Short Film at the 2014 BFI (British Film Institute) Moving Image Awards in London and this inspired me to study Film & Media at A-Level. My Film teachers, Mr Coughlan, Mr Astley and Mr Dunk also played important roles in my decision.


Of all the films you've produced, which is your favourite?

My favourite piece I have written and directed is my latest short film ‘Oh, Little Spark!’. The story is deeply personal to me and I was privileged to work with an incredibly talented and collaborative crew, especially the wonderful actress, Rula Lenska, the star of the film.

Tell us more about ‘Oh, Little Spark!’. How did the story idea come about, what were some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

The story of ‘Oh, Little Spark!’ is inspired by my relationship with my Polish grandmother, as I have always been interested in capturing the special connection we shared. I also wrote it with the wider intention of portraying the universal relationship between a grandchild and a grandparent and how precious these bonds can be. At its core, it is a film that deals with the duality of death and trauma, blending together elements of levity and poignancy to create a devastating, yet uplifting story about this enduring relationship. As a writer and director, I hope the authenticity I bring to the story establishes a genuine emotional resonance with the audience, and by the end of it, they might want to give their grandparents a call! This is what I hope everyone takes away from the film.

The biggest challenge was fundraising; making an independent film costs a lot of money. Through a well-organised crowdfunding campaign, we successfully raised the funds and it went on to become the highest funded project at my university.


What are your hopes and dreams?

My long-term goal has always been to write and direct a feature film. It is an exciting time as lots of streaming services have newly built studios with content constantly being produced and I can’t wait for the future to unfold!


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Registration number : 196100114C
Registration period : 7 June 2023 to 6 June 2029

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