CARMEL – As a young filmmaker, Colin Dowse, a junior at Carmel High School, has always felt the pressure on the practical side cloud his potential more imaginative career path. Even fumbling with his first camera in elementary school, Dowse knew movies were more than an extracurricular project, but doubted how far his dreams could go on passion alone.
It turns out that passion goes a long way.
Last month, Dowse – alongside longtime friends, classmates and fellow filmmakers Jerry Marnell, Zack Seifert and Elias Osorio – traveled to New York City for the ninth annual All American High School Film Festival , where they screened their film of almost 20 minutes and entirely student. produced film, “Out of My Mind”.
Among the film’s nominations in Effects, Editing, Directing and Best Overall Categories (out of 2,500 submissions), Dowse won the title for Editing. With opportunities to meet industry professionals, connect with creative students from across the country, and look at the limits of the imagination of others through a list of screenings, the four-day trip reaffirmed the pursuit of the group for the cinema as a future.
“I feel like I have a voice to speak to an audience, and that’s a really powerful thing,” Dowse said. “It’s pretty amazing to think that all of these people saw our film and connected with it. This is something I want to keep doing. I want to continue to share these posts with other people.
For “Out of My Mind”, the message fits perfectly with a lesson the group learned in bringing the film to life: do what you love.
Shot locally along the Monterey coast as boys were restricted to online school during the pandemic, the story follows a local student named Danny (Dowse), who struggles to keep up with his classes but experiences visions bizarre that push him to realize his true creative potential in painting, Dowse explained.
While not all of the short film’s fantastic scenes are relatable, Dowse and the Carmel High student team have brought more than a few of their own experiences to the big screen in hopes of encouraging a wider audience. to do exactly what they had done by creating “Out of My Mind.”
“Have you ever heard of the phrase, ‘Write down what you know? “Well, it definitely happened with this story,” Dowse said. “Obviously, I am not an artist. I don’t paint things, and I certainly don’t have visions. But the theme of the film was to encourage people to pursue their creativity.
The group believed the story would be especially important to their audiences at the All American High School Film Festival, the biggest opportunity for student filmmakers to come together and share their work around the world.
“As a filmmaker you feel that kind of pressure from society that pushes you into a more traditional career, and the film industry is really intimidating,” said Marnell, who helped Dowse co-write the film and is appeared on screen as a secondary character. . “I thought ‘Out of My Mind’ would relate to the kids going to the festival because we all think of doing something creative.”
The positive response they received was better than the small team could have hoped for, which they described as not only inspiring but validating.
For Dowse, the sentiment was familiar, having entered and won last year’s competition with his first solo project “Smile”.
“I thought I was kidding, but I realized it was something I could keep doing,” he said.
Dowse first got wind of the film festival when a Carmel High alumnus entered the competition in 2019. This example opened up a possibility that Dowse, and later his friends, didn’t believe was possible. The result has been a succession of filmmakers from Carmel High, and one that the group has no plans to stop anytime soon.
Earlier this year, the boys started a film club at Carmel High to encourage anyone else at school interested in following in their footsteps to get involved. Supported by Brian Granbery, video production teacher at Carmel High, the club already has 25 members and plans to attend more film competitions later this year.
“It’s almost like we put Carmel High on the map,” said Osorio, who lent his post-production expertise to “Out of My Mind”.
“We’re just a bunch of junior boys,” he continued. “But I hope now that we’ve won these things, freshmen and sophomores can see that cinema has potential and can take you far. We want to leave a legacy. I wonder if we are going to inspire a new generation of Carmel High students to continue after graduation. I really hope we will.
“Out of My Mind” is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT3BkzAkqv8&t=113s.