Ever since he was 8 years old and received his first camera, Adam Cooper has been interested in creating art in the form of movies.
“When I realized that people actually do this for a living, that became my dream,” says Cooper, a West Bloomfield high school graduate.
At 20 years old, he is on his way to fine tuning his skills as a filmmaker. But like most young talent starting out in the film industry, the obstacle for him is where to find the money to fund creative projects.
Cooper turned to the Internet and his community to provide encouragement and resources to make his ideas reality. He found that a big budget is not necessary when first starting out. A student film idea can be captured with little or no funding and created for the enjoyment of YouTube followers. That’s what Cooper did when he created a comedic action film in 2012 with his twin brother, Daniel, and posted it online. It helped them build a fan base.
Cooper looked to his high school theater department for additional resources to help him expand upon his experience. The teachers supplied a wealth of information and gave him access to equipment he needed to pursue his interest in film. The Cooper brothers filmed promotional trailers for their school’s drama and musical departments, showcasing the school’s local talent.
Then the Cooper brothers participated in the Orchard Lake Student Film Festival, which welcomes talented high school students to present their latest short films. They entered and won the “Best In Show: PSA” award in 2009. In 2010 they won “Best in Animation”; in 2012 they won “Best In Show: PSA” and “Best Comedy”; and in 2013 they won “Best Drama.” In 2013, their short film “The Case of Amber Gram” was named the “Staff Pick” and “Must See” short at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth as well as the “Official Selection” at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Now he’s attending Columbia College in Chicago, a city where many movies are filmed. But it’s important to Cooper to come back to Michigan to shoot his films because of “the tight-knit community and its work ethic,” he says.
His latest movie, now in production, is called “Model No. Human.” Cooper describes this film as dark, gritty, psychological and manipulative.
“This is a story about an artificially intelligent man who discovers the pain of being a human through learning about a girl he believes to be his daughter,” he explains. The film focuses on the theme of logic versus emotion.
“The spirit of filmmaking is to push the limits and try to achieve things that are impossible,” Cooper says about how he chooses projects. “Being a huge science fiction nerd, I wanted to give the genre a shot.”
Returning to Michigan and hiring actors, renting equipment, purchasing costumes, hiring hair and makeup services, catering and construction all benefit the local economy, Cooper says. And now he sees having a tight budget as an asset.
“In many ways, writing a contained film with (financial) limitations benefits the film because it demands more attention to developing a story over spectacle,” he says.
Cooper hopes this movie raises questions about what it means to be human. For more information about Cooper films, visit cooperbrothersfilms.com.