Straight Outta Carmel

“The best part is networking – “meeting all the filmmakers from around the world,” Colin Dowse, far left, says of the All American High School Film Festival.

As Jerry Marnell can attest, his friend Colin Dowse has been into movie making since fifth grade. As a consequence, Dowse is no stranger to film competitions. That includes the New York City-based All American High School Film Festival, the largest such event in the world, where in 2020 he won an award for “effects and best overall” for a solo project titled Smile.

This year he submitted another movie, Out Of My Mind, for which he combined powers with Marnell, and invited classmates Zack Seifert and Elias Osorio to help. The group just returned from a four-day trip to New York City Oct. 6-8; Dowse won an award for editing, and the movie received several nominations. All four young filmmakers are juniors at Carmel High.

Out Of My Mind tells a story of a local youngster, who struggles academically and is thinking about giving up on his true calling – painting. It is shot locally and features local motifs, such as the fictionalized Monterey Art Festival. It also involves some time traveling… but since the whole thing is available on YouTube, no further plot information will be revealed here.

“It’s a story about pursuing art in the world of societal oppression,” Dowse said, adding it was easy to embody and understand his character (main character, Danny) in the context of his own filmmaking pursuits.

Dowse and Marnell co-wrote the film and star in it, with Marnell playing the part of a supportive friend (Soren) who gives Danny the extra nudge he needs to persist and prevail. The title was his idea. “I have a whole bunch of little creative ideas that I try to write down,” Marnell says.

Marnell has participated in smaller film projects in the past, along with fellow crew member and friend Zack Seifert. Seifert and Osorio did most of the pre – and post-production. “There were moments when it was hard to stay motivated,” Seifert says. “Especially since this year we have no online school and especially after the sports started.”

They worked with the festival in mind. The screenplay came together during the early months of 2021. They started the production in March and most of the filming took place at Marnell’s house. They were done with post-production in early July.

“Not entirely surprised, but still very happy,” Dowse says about the moment they were invited to New York to see their movie on the big screen.

The boys spoke fondly of their New York City experience, which included a boat cruise with fantastic food and the view of the Statue of Liberty. They were recognized among over 2,500 submissions from all over the world and yes, Out of My Mind comes with a message to all of us. The message is: Go for it.

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