IIFC Executive Artist Liaison Andrea Charles

Great Britain’s Loss is Idyllwild’s Gain

Andrea Head Shot - BIO

One of the first things a filmmaker hears upon arriving in Idyllwild to register for the festival, aside from the mountain breeze and the chattering of birds and squirrels, is the lovely British accent of IIFC Executive Artist Liaison and Children’s Festival Chairperson, Andrea Charles. Andrea now enters her third season at IIFC in the dual role of the One Woman Welcoming Committee and all around Festival Guide, as well as the moving force behind IIFC’s Children’s Film Department. Hailing from Sussex, England, Andrea found herself living in the Californian mountain top village of Idyllwild purely by chance in 2012. But after a very brief settling in period, she quickly became a well known “Mountain Local”, and soon after met Festival Director Stephen Savage, who thought her winning personality and organizational skills would be a huge asset to IIFC. After some begging and pleading, he convinced her to come on board. and the rest, as they say, is history.

Apart from her tireless work with IIFC, Andrea’s love of animals, kids, and people in general, are her main passion. Not only did she spearhead the addition of the Children’s Festival portion of IIFC, she is also a Life Coach and the best selling author of the children’s book entitled “Harvey’s Favorite Day”, which is a fun, read aloud book, written through the eyes of her own dog, Harvey, showing every day challenges can be fun and an adventure. The book is available at www.theadventuresofharvey.com, Amazon and other retail sites, and has become a favorite of kids worldwide. IIFC News sat down with Andrea to get her take on the festival as it moves into year 7, the children’s fest, and of course, the book and her dog.

IIFC News

So Andrea, looks like we’re in for another year of great films and events. How’s it looking from your POV as we hit year number 7?

Andrea Charles

I’m really excited. The festival’s growing so quickly, and the standard of the films keeps getting better and better each year, which makes it difficult for the judges to make some decisions sometimes, but that’s a good problem to have for any film festival, I’d imagine.

IIFC News

You’ve met a lot of filmmakers over the past few years. And watched a lot of movies. Anything you’re hoping to experience this year that maybe was lacking a bit in years past?

Andrea Charles

I have met a lot of filmmakers, and forged some great relationships. I would love to see the success these artists have achieved continue to grow, and for the up and coming filmmakers, I wish them so much luck as they strive to reach their
dreams in the industry.

IIFC News

Tell us a little more about your job with IIFC. What do you see as your big challenges year to year, and what are the aspects of the festival that you enjoy most.

Andrea Charles

To be honest, I just wing it most of the time. I find simply being myself, as cliche as that sounds, carries the day. I think my biggest challenge each year is keeping Festival Director Stephen Savage pointed in the right direction (laughing)! His time is so valuable and tight during the festival, he often drops into the theater to find me, or sends a text asking where he’s supposed to be next. He has assistants, but during festival week, I’m his personal GPS. But honestly I enjoy all aspects of the festival.

IIFC News

OK, so let’s hear about the children’s festival. How did you launch that, and how much did the publication of your book influence that part of IIFC?

Andrea Charles

The first year I was one of the screeners of the movies. There were a lot of films that were suitable for children, so I asked why don’t we do a children’s screening? With only 2 weeks left before the start of the festival, Stephen told me if I could pull it off, I should go for it. Fortunately with the support of Shannon Ng, the manager Idyllwild library we managed to promote the festival just in time and had about a dozen children with parents show. The next year with more time to prepare the library was packed. Standing room only. We are hoping this year it will be even more successful. It is a free event and anyone can attend. Funny enough, my book “Harvey’s Favorite Day”, was in the process of being published at this time last year, so it technically wasn’t out when this festival took place. I’m hoping to share it with the kids this time around.

IIFC News

One last question. Tell us where you see the festival going in the next few years, and how do you think your role will change or grow as it moves forward toward the magic 10th season. A Landmark for any film fest.

Andrea Charles

I can see the festival steadily growing and achieving it’s goal of providing a stable platform for young up and coming filmmakers to showcase. The support of our local hotels, restaurants and volunteers make this a real community driven event and that’s what makes it so special. Many actors and producers I’ve spoken with in the past have said how much they enjoyed the atmosphere of Small Town America. That’s what I love about Idyllwild.

IIFC News

Thanks, Andrea. We all look forward to seeing you again in your role as one of IIFC’s moving forces.

Andrea Charles

It’s my pleasure, and thank you.