Five years ago, at age 20, Conor wrote the screenplay for what would evolve to be his first feature film. With a cast and crew that became a kind of family, he saw a dream become reality. We watched as he began to value collaboration—a skill they tried to instill in middle school but one he never valued until recently. He learned the value of a script supervisor and became a more nimble filmmaker. He used his diverse talents as a writer, cinematographer, editor and composer, but he wasn’t afraid to let go as an auteur when the film would benefit. My proudest moment came when he edited a short section of himself onscreen, forsaking his cameo for a tighter scene.
In April, the film, “Killing the Dog” premiered at TakeTwo Film Festival in Manhattan, garnering an award for Outstanding Film. His new family of collaborators shared the stage with him as we watched from the audience. There will be more festivals we hope, and there are already more film projects. Although he didn’t follow the President’s advice precisely, he has managed to make some of his dreams come true.