Cosmo Coffey was never very good at skateboarding, so his friends gave him their phones to shoot videos of all the tricks they could do.
Coffey eventually parted ways with the skateboard crowd, but he kept company with cameras and the idea that you can captivate people through film.
He is in the editing stages of a documentary film, Hidden Significance, the story of Charlie Carpenter, a gifted pipe organist with a developmental disability known as Cat Eye Syndrome. It will be released later this year. Coffey is also in the throes of another documentary and is loosely forming a production company with a friend who is his co-producer.
Cosmo Coffey just turned 15.
"It's one thing to shoot a video, make a montage of clips and put it to music," the Oak Park and River Forest High School sophomore said. "It's a whole different thing to tell a story and to take an audience on a journey."
Coffey is not driven by the prestige or notoriety that can often come with filmmaking, said his film and television teacher, John Condne. Instead, he wants an audience to care as much as he does about his subjects, like Carpenter, whose sweetness and awe-inspiring musical gifts are artistically captured in the film.
Coffey puts in so many hours filming and editing it can seem like a full-time job, but he can also be seen on the sidelines of football games as he follows the Huskies through a, thus far, undefeated season.
"I was just another kid in the hallway before," he said. "Now they treat me like a teammate."