In writing, scenes and stories can seem stale. Characters and scenes can become monotonous without a dynamic setting. Two Broadneck High School filmmakers, Paul Cosby and Jerrel Barnes, are being recognized for their ability to engage audiences with a memorable story.
Their film, “The Magician,” was selected by the All American High School Film Festival committee to be screened at the AMC Empire 25 in New York’s Times Square on Saturday, October 6. The All American High School Film Festival is dedicated to recognizing young filmmakers and media arts enthusiasts by giving them rewards, education and respect.
The contest required students to submit a film, 20 minutes or less, in one of the following categories: action sports, animation, broadcast journalism, comedy, documentary, drama, experimental, horror/sci-fi/fantasy, middle school, music video or PSA.
“The Magician” follows Harry Lewis (portrayed by Barnes) and his desire to have a magic show of his own one day. When he has the opportunity to take his first step onstage, a family tragedy leads him down a dark path.
“It was rushed, but the intensity that led up to calming satisfaction at the end is something I loved,” Barnes said. “The story was rushed, but nothing is left on a cliffhanger.”
English teacher Ross Stimely encouraged them to submit “The Magician,” which he thought was excellent.
“It has a very professional cinematic aesthetic,” Stimely said. “They are as talented as any filmmakers I have had in class in the last 22 years. They are a great creative team. Both of them are still just juniors and worked on that film when they were sophomores. I am expecting great things from them.”
The two filmmakers took a month to cast, film and edit “The Magician.” They had some issues during the first week with recasting characters. Despite the problems and time constraints, both Cosby and Barnes felt like they learned from the experience.
“We definitely should put more effort toward the story,” Cosby said. “Filmmaking is about making stories, not movies, after all.”
Regarding their next project, Cosby and Barnes want to keep their plans secret. “It’s different. It’s more complex and addresses relevant day-to-day issues in a high school,” Barnes revealed.
Cosby and Barnes are both are self-taught with help from the film club at Broadneck. “The Magician” and other short films are available on Cosby and Barnes’ YouTube channel, STARSHOT Films.