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If Cosmo Coffey achieves his dream of being a filmmaker, he'll have a football coach to thank.
The Oak Park and River Forest High School sophomore, by most accounts, is already a filmmaker and will get to take a bow at the Lake Theatre in Oak Park on March 15 with the screening of his first film, Grit, which follows the story of the Huskies' football team during the 2013 season, when they finished with a 9-2 record under third-year coach John Hoerster.
The story Coffey tells focuses on the team's sense of brotherhood and how Hoerster got the best out of his players.
In doing so, he also got the best out of a young filmmaker, Coffey said.
Though he was interested in doing a film, he was at a loss as to how to get a project going when Hoerster approached him and offered him unfettered access to all aspects of the program.
"It sounds kind of obvious, but the guy is so inspiring," Coffey said of Hoerster. "I doubt I'd still be a filmmaker if he hadn't offered me the job. It was definitely the best year of my life. I've met so many people and have made lifelong friends."
Hoerster loved the finished product and speaks of him with as much pride as he would one of his own players.
"What I enjoyed most was that it was about young men, told through the lens of a young man," Hoerster said. "There was no hint of adult rhetoric. It was a vision with true high school authenticity.
"What I loved was the way the title, Grit, was meant to be about the players but ended up being about the filmmaker. Cosmo epitomizes the word."
The screening of Grit is open to the public and begins at 10 a.m. this Saturday. Admission is free. A DVD copy of the film can be purchased for $10.
Coffey's second film, which is about the gifted pipe organist Charlie Carpenter, will be out sometime this spring.
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