Charles Ancelle

Please introduce yourself to the readers and how you first got into this field of work:

I grew up in three different countries: France, Canada and Switzerland. I changed schools many times as a kid and always found it difficult to fit in or to feel grounded into one specific culture -and I don’t necessarily only mean national culture by that, I think a broader meaning to culture can be applied to that. Regardless, the one thing that has kept me grounded over my childhood has been movies, which I always watched avidly, Hollywood movies in particular. Then I went to a filmmaking workshop when I was a teen and I fell in love with the process. What I essentially discovered was that there was a medium of expression that I had experienced on the receiving end for as long as I could remember, and suddenly I realized I was able to be on the other end, with the ability to express myself through moving images, camera angles and sounds rather than with words.

Who or what were some of your influences growing up?

Film wise I grew up on Spielberg, Lucas, Zemeckis, James Cameron and action flicks like Die Hard – which I still think is one of the best movies ever made. I was also an avid video game player during my childhood, particularly games that had a heavy emphasis on the narrative like the Playstation Final Fantasy’s, Ocarina of Time or even Metal Gear which I’m realizing had a lot more influence than I thought. Additionally I was an avid reader both in French and English and so my influences in that regard are a mix of French literature from the romantic era, Dumas being maybe the most influential, and British and American modern and contemporary literature, from Oscar Wilde to Tolkien.

What kind of training have you had, if any?

I went to film school, I studied film production and screenwriting. Screenwriting is turning out to be essential in the world of production since story is really the basis to everything else and having a deeper understanding of it is perhaps the most important aspect of film making I think.

What has been your favorite project to work on so far?

That’s a really difficult one, every project has its positive and negative aspects. I love being on set and seeing actors make something come alive, but I also love developing projects, the two are just two very different kinds of fun. Right now I am developing a new romantic drama called Flickers, which is a feature, and I think that’s going to be a lot of fun to make. Otherwise, I have to admit making Behind The Blinds, my web series, was perhaps the most fun I’ve had on set as the entire cast was game to do anything and constantly having fun, both on and off camera.

What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?

The best possible answer I can find to that question is creating projects that are meaningful to me, and I’ve been lucky enough to do that for a few years now, which makes me incredibly lucky and grateful -and I hope I’ll be able to continue in the future.

If you had a chance to work alongside anybody who would that be?

It’s incredibly difficult to choose one person, but I think I’d love to collaborate with George R.R. Martin the most -he is such a tremendous genius and I feel there are endless insight to be learned from him.

What have you learned most about this business?

That there is a time to trust your own gut, and a time to listen to other people. It’s never obvious when to do which, and that’s part of what makes it so incredibly difficult.

What projects do you have coming up?

A lot! I am developing multiple features, one is called American Dream that I have been developing for a while with my producing partner, Anna Skrypka, which is a grounded revenge thriller about sex trafficking. I also have a few sci-fi features in development, one is called Synthetic Hearts and deals with whether Androids can fall in love. One is called Ersatz and deals with what happens when we bring Androids into our homes to do everything for us. One is called Rachel and deals with linking our brains to computers. I also have a romantic drama in the works that I mentioned before, it’s called Flickers, and it deals with dating apps, so in a way it’s also kind of sci-fi! haha. Then I have the second season of my webseries, Behind the Blinds, still in development, another web project that’s a little special and difficult to explain without spoiling the fun until it comes out called The Kitchen.

And then on the TV side I am developing an adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo and another series about the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte.

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring filmmakers?

Not to listen to other people’s advice! haha