Alumnus launches film festival after graduating during the pandemic

Charles Whiteley
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Article by: Gaynor Orvis

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Charles Whiteley graduated from the BA (Hons) Digital Television Production course with a first class degree in 2020. Despite graduating during a pandemic, Charles has successfully launched his own film festival and is also in the pre-production stages of his own short film. 

Charles Whiteley

After graduation, Charles became involved with SEEDS, Ravensbourne's Self-Employment Entrepreneurship Diversity Scheme. Through this work, he worked closely with a mentor and was able to build the entrepreneurial skills and confidence needed to succeed in industry. 

We caught up with Charles to discuss how SEEDS helped him achieve his goals and to tell us more about his current projects.

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How did you initially become involved in SEEDS?

I became involved with SEEDs after I applied once I had already graduated. I’d already heard a lot about it from people in the industry. Those I spoke to said it would be a perfect way to develop myself as an individual and as an entrepreneur.

Can you tell us some of the benefits of getting involved with SEEDS?

For me, some of the biggest benefits of joining SEEDs were the weekly workshops and the meetings with industry professionals. Having the opportunity to listen to their individual stories was really inspiring, and they were there to offer a lot of really useful advice.

SEEDs also offered me my own mentor that was working within a similar industry to me. I was lucky enough to work with acclaimed British film director, producer and writer Ben Charles Edwards, who runs his own production company, Goldfinch. Working with Ben really helped me to better understand the industry and make those all-important connections.

Do you feel working with SEEDS has helped you pursue your career goals?

Since completing the SEEDS programme, I have so much more confidence and awareness from a business and entrepreneurial standpoint.

By the end of my time at SEEDS I had a really clear vision of my path and my future – I knew I wanted to pursue a career as a film director.

Could you tell us a little bit about what you have done since graduating? 

In my final year at Ravensbourne, I created a short film entitled ‘In One’s Right Mind. This gave me my first real taste of filmmaking and I loved it.

Man sitting on edfe of bed

Since graduating, I have been working on film sets as a runner. I am also in the pre-production stage of my new short film ‘My Father’s Son’. The film is about the traditional expectations a gamekeeper has for his son and how these are challenged when his son explores his own sexuality.

I have also been working on a film festival aimed towards students and young people interested in filmmaking. The festival is called Future Generations Film Festival and is a bi-monthly online and annual live event.

Future Generations Film Festival

The idea for the festival was born while I was completing the SEEDS programme. We now have a crew and a panel of judges made up of Ravensbourne graduates and other industry professionals.

The aim for the festival is to act as a stepping stone from education into the industry. As a team of young creatives we really understand there needs to be more support among our community to help others break into the industry. It is the hope that the festival will help propel fresh talent into the spotlight to get that much-needed exposure. The pandemic has made the need for this kind of support even more apparent!

We're currently looking for universities to share our festival with their filmmaking students – our aim is to create a nationwide network of filmmaking students. The festival can showcase their work and offer graduates support as they take their first steps in their career.

If you'd like to get involved with the Future Generations Film Festival, please email [email protected].