NORTH Yorkshire film producer Serena Armitage, who won an Oscar in 2016 for Stutterer, is premiering her new film, Charlie, at York's Aesthetica Short Film Festival on Thursday, Friday and Sunday next week.

Charlie, starring actor and musician Cosmo Jarvis, was produced by Red Breast Productions, Serena’s new company, formed in York with the aid of a grant from the British Film Institute (BFI).

Serena, who was born and brought up in Nun Monkton, near York, says: "What an incredible couple of years this has been. First an Oscar for Stutterer, which was beyond my wildest dreams, then the award from the BFI, which allowed me to set up my own independent production company, and now our new film Charlie.”

Written and directed by Shan Christopher Ogilvie, the film tells the story of Charlie, a peculiar individual who "doesn’t quite see the world in the same way as everyone else". "He doesn’t speak, people struggle to fathom what goes on inside his head, and he has no apparent desires beyond exploring his vague, transient curiosity," says Serena.

“Charlie lives in the secluded peace of the countryside with his father Henry, a rugged outdoorsy type, who cares for him, but Charlie's world is turned upside down when tragedy strikes and he is moved to live with his uncle Morris in the city. The peaceful calm of the countryside – all Charlie has ever known – is replaced with the chaos of urban life."

York Press:

Cosmo Jarvis playing Charlie in Charlie, a film where "nothing is straightforward"

Charlie is a film where nothing is straightforward, suggests Serena. "Charlie is a detached young man who acts frequently on emotional impulse. His uncle Morris and girlfriend Rachel have their own struggles with life to cope with: their relationship is tense, as their own pasts haunt them and they cope with the stress of living close to the breadline," she says.

“So when a heartbroken Charlie, who has lived on the fringes of everyday life and doesn’t make for the easiest of house guests at the best of times, is thrust into their lives, patience is stretched to breaking point."

The making of Charlie has been supported through Film London’s London Calling scheme, an initiative set up to nurture and champion Britain's most exciting breakthrough talent, and by York investor and film producer Richard Fletcher.

"All of us at Red Breast Productions share a desire to tell simple, compelling stories that get to the heart of the shared human experience. Charlie does exactly that," says Serena.

"We love Charlie because it’s a compassionate story about care and understanding. It’s a film which challenges us to try to see life through the eyes of every character we encounter, regardless of how weird or angry or destructive or detached people can be."

York Press:

Aesthetica Short Film Festival director Cherie Federico: "It’s fantastic to have Charlie premiere at Aesthetica," she says

"The film also tackles the pressing issue of mental health: a subject close to many people’s hearts, says Serena. "We all know people who are struggling with their mental health and, significantly, writer-director Shan Christopher Ogilvie has first-hand experience of depression, which gives our film a powerful authenticity and integrity," she adds.

Festival director Cherie Federico enthuses: "Serena is an example of a very talented woman working in the film industry. Her work on Oscar-winning Stutterer was outstanding and to date it’s still one of my favourite short films.

“It’s fantastic to have Charlie premiere at Aesthetica because we believe in working with our filmmakers as their careers develop and flourish. Serena is a huge credit to the film industry. I look forward to her future endeavours and I'm delighted that Aesthetica audiences have the chance to see another production. I wholeheartedly support her production company and eagerly anticipate their future productions."

Red Breast's first feature film project, Look The Other Way – And Run, is in post-production and the York company has several projects in funded development, including a biopic of the artist Niki De Saint Phalle, written by Deborah Haywood, and an adaptation of Laura Kaye's novel English Animals, directed by Claire Oakley.

Charlie will be shown in the Drama 3 selection at the National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, on Thursday (November 8)at 5.30pm and Friday (November 9) at 4pm, then at 1331, Grape Lane, on Sunday (November 11) at 1.45pm. For tickets, go to