Cooper Clark

Family and friends gather to watch a screening of Cooper Clark's film “Brainman.”

Recently graduated Cooper Clark has been fascinated by filmmaking since he was 10 years old. 

He has gone from filming stop motion pictures of his Legos to winning third place at the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF), with his five minute film “Brainman.”

Before DIFF, Clark took his film to the UIL competition, which included hundreds of students from every district in the state of Texas. 

Only the top six films received acceptance, and Clark placed seventh overall. He explained that the top six films were “political movies with real world issues,” and that his film was more of a “mockumentary.”

“The top six focussed on political issues, while mine was a spin on a movie director that is out of control,” Clark said.  “Mine was basically lighthearted and a mockumentary compared to the top six that were more serious.”

However, at DIFF, a larger competition, Clark’s two-month long project won third place. Clark said that the films were more “diverse,” and they were about a bunch of different things.

“There was a lot of talent at DIFF… my film just brought something new to the table,” Clark said.

Clark described his film as “’Birdman’ meets ‘The Office,’” because he liked what they were about and what main ideas were portrayed by them.

“When I watch movies, I like to compare them to different things,” Clark said.  “Birdman is about a struggling director, and the office is a fake documentary,” which is what my film is about.”

Clark and his parents all said that they can definitely see improvement in his filmmaking.  Clark said he has a lot more access and that he has been able to improve his style of filmmaking.

When they couldn’t attend the UIL competition due to COVID-19, Clark’s parents, Bret and Patty, decided that they would still try to make it a “memorable experience.” 

Patty went around the neighborhood and told people to come to their house, and later that day, there was a group of people watching Clark’s film on a TV outside on the Clarks’ front lawn.

“The best ideas always come at the last minute, and so we pulled a TV outside and showed the film for some neighbors and Cooper to see,” Patty Clark said. “(Because of COVID,) I think we were lucky to watch it with him.”

On Clark’s side of things, he was a little confused as to why his parents wouldn’t let him out of his room for a while, but all his questions were answered when he came down to see that his parents “would go to this effort for [him].”

“I was really shocked when they finally let me out,” Clark said. “It was a really memorable experience for me.”

Clark said that filmmaking is "challenging and disheartening, but never impossible."

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