Brighton film director Elliott Hasler delighted with DVD success

Brighton film director Elliott HaslerBrighton film director Elliott Hasler
Brighton film director Elliott Hasler
Brighton-based film director Elliott Hasler is delighted with the response to the release of his feature debut on DVD.

WWII: The Long Road Home hit the top 50 nationally.

Elliott’s film (previously Charlie’s Letters) tells the true story of his own great-grandfather – the story of escaped prisoner of war Charlie Standing (played by Elliott), 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.

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The film screened at Edinburgh, Brighton and Berlin Festivals and now gets a home entertainment release through 101 Films International.

“The response has been fantastic. I made it about five years ago. It just shows how long it takes up pick up distribution. It’s just the nature of it. I made this film when I had no contacts, just starting from scratch. It shows the time it takes to get a film under the right noses.

“It is a true story based on my great-grandfather’s experiences of World War Two.

“He was a prisoner of war in Italy. Sadly, I never got to meet him. He died in 1999, the year before I was born.

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“He didn’t record his experiences, but my family were very aware of the stories he told, and I grew up with them. That’s how they were passed down.

“I have used his real name. Most of the names I have used are real. I only really knew the bones of the story so there was quite a lot of room for poetic licence.”

“I first became inspired to make films when I was about ten. 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 14 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.

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“These are the aspects of film making I relish and motivate me to move forward with ever more projects.”

In the film, 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 also with temptation in the form of a handsome Canadian airman…

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Elliott 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.

Elliott is currently an undergraduate at Exeter University.

WWII: The Long Road Home: running Time: 90 minutes; cert: 15; available from Asda, Tesco and Morrison’s; on Sky store, ITunes, Amazon and HMV