By Janee Law
Audience members applauded after watching Cosmo Carlson’s short film, “The Derby,” which was screened on Saturday at the LA International Shorts Film Festival in Los Angeles.
“They enjoyed it,” Carlson, 23, of Centerport, said. “People came up to me afterwards and had really nice things to say. It was nice to have that.”
The festival is one of the largest and most prestigious international short film festivals in the world, screening more than 280 short films annually.
Carlson submitted his film in May and learned that it was accepted in June. Upon hearing the news, Carlson said he was elated.
“I applied to all these film festivals and I didn’t know how big this one was,” Carlson said. “I did some research and I was excited that I was a part of it.”
“The Derby” is a 15-minute short film based on a true story, when Carlson competed in the local Pinewood Derby competition when he was a Cub Scout and again when he was in seventh grade.
The film, which Carlson wrote, directed and produced, features areas in Greenlawn and Centerport, with a majority of the film shot at Oldfield Middle School.
“It was a real pleasure to shoot my film at the middle school that I went to,” Carlson, who graduated from Harborfields High School in 2012, said. “We had over 100 extras for the film and they were all from Long Island so they all were really great to work with.”
Carlson said he began filming “The Derby” in April 2016 and completed the film this past March.
The film carries a competitive edge, where the main character goes to great lengths to win the competition, even sabotaging his friend’s car.
“When you’re a kid there are things that mean the world to you but don’t actually mean that much,” Carlson said. “So that kind of competitiveness that we have as little kids, I’d love for audience members to reconnect with that.”
Carlson also submitted the film in the First Run Film Festival, which is run by New York University, where it was named a Wasserman finalist. Carlson said he was one of six finalists, which allowed him the opportunity to go to Los Angeles in June to meet with several companies, agents and studios in the film industry.
Carlson graduated from NYU in May 2016.
He currently works for American film producer Scott Rudin and has previously worked for American screenwriters Ed Solomon and James Manos Jr.