A short sci-fi drama starring Michael Madsen and filmed, in part, right here in Warren. A series of shorts, documentaries and music videos compiled over a 10-year career in the film industry. A Production Assistant credit on the blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Full-time location department work on The Americans and High Flyin’ Bird, the latter an upcoming project from Steven Soderbergh. An outstanding body of work for anyone working in the business, but especially exciting given that it belongs to one of Warren’s own – Charlie Alberto IV, a graduate of Watchung Hills Regional High School and one of America’s most exciting new film talents!
Being in the movie industry is about more than making movies, Charlie says – “It’s about making an experience.” Getting to travel, meet new people, and speak to an audience through the medium of film are the things that engage him most when he takes on a project as an actor, writer, director or producer. He’s able to change hats easily and often, filling multiple roles on any given work and instilling his own sense of quality and authenticity into each.
A 2008 graduate of Watchung Hills, Charlie went on to study film at Hofstra Film School and Stellla Adler before being hired for his position on the Spider-Man crew. “This got my foot in the door,” Charlie says. “Spider-Man was where I made the initial connections to spread my name around and be considered for future jobs.”
One of those future jobs was a role in Poolside, a short film that starred singer Lana Del Rey. On Poolside, Charlie served as both actor and producer. On his next project, Sound of Her, Charlie added “transportation engineer” to his resume – packing a van with equipment and driving his team 33 hours to Colorado to shoot the film. Sound, he says, taught him the importance of networking: something you can really learn outside of school.
“Making connections is the art of the [movie] business,” he says. “I learned a lot on Sound of Her that I was able to bring with me to Killian when the time came.”
Sound was selected for the New Jersey State and Hoboken International Film Festivals in 2016. Charlie then wrote and directed Killian (view the trailer at Killianshortfilm.com), which follows what he describes as a "nostalgic family affected by advancements of the future and the abandonment of one another." Madsen, a veteran of films like the Kill Bill series, Reservoir Dogs, and Thelma and Louise, is on board as the father – whose collection of pinball machines is based on a favorite pastime of Charlie’s own father, still a Watchung resident. Many of Madsen’s scenes, in fact, were shot around Warren.
To further his creative vision and to ensure he would always be involved in films that are meaningful to him, Charlie founded Viattis Production. Viattis (the last name of Charlie’s great grandfather – a surname that can be found on the registers on Ellis Island) partners with The Tao Company, and the two will soon be merging to form Caribou Lodge Films. It’s another step deeper into the business for Charlie, who now lives in Jersey City but keeps close ties to the Warren-Watchung area.
“We’ve been producing and filming a lot in the area,” he says, noting spots around town that lend a natural outdoors air and play well on film.
Charlie says that following his passion and starting a career in the film industry was the best thing he could have done after graduating from Watchung Hills. “I’ve gotten to do things I never would have done otherwise,” he says. Now, with Killian about to be released, Charlie looks ahead to future projects. Keep up with everything this local celebrity is doing by following him on his website, charliealbertoiv.com.
Warren, and Watchung, and the Showcase readership congratulate Charlie Alberto IV on his personal and career successes!