From recreating Jurassic Park with Lego’s at the age of 10, to rounding up the area’s re-enactors and having them drive authentic war vehicles around Tamenend Park and flailing around non-working guns—Phil Carroll has come a long way when it comes to movie making.
Phil said his career path just fell into place.
“I’ve always been interested in storytelling,” he said. “As soon as I got a hold of my dad’s video camera it transitioned into (making movies).”
At a young age, Phil’s mother Colleen Carroll said she could tell her son was creative, but his career pathway was something even she couldn’t have predicted.
“I honestly thought that Phil would become some sort of an engineer because he was always building with Lego’s and K’NEX,” she said. “I knew he had a fantastic imagination, but making movies took over.”
Colleen describes her son as humble, pious, humorous and goal-driven.
“With each (movie), you can see how he is learning,” she said. “His father and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Now a sophomore at Temple University, Phil, 19, commutes to his classes from Southampton.
While some students prefer to stay in the dorms, Phil sees his commute as an advantage.
“There are so many locations I know of here and so many great people who are enthusiastic to work on films,” he said. “(Other students’ films are set) in the city, not the suburbs.”
Phil won Best Undergraduate Picture in the 2011 Temple University Diamond Screen Film Festival for Words of Atonement, a World War II film shot in Tamanend Park that spans nearly 10 minutes in length.
But this wasn’t Phil’s first award. Prior to his college days, Phil won Best High School Narrative in the Bucks Fever Film Festival in 2009 for Bailout, a short movie about a man who robs a bank to save his family from losing their home to foreclosure.
“It was a really memorable experience because that was my first time having a movie shown in the theater,” said Phil, of having his film played in the county theatre in Doylestown. “They also showed it on Comcast OnDemand for 6 months.”
Not only does Phil incorporate his hometown into his movies, but his days of enlisting his friends and family as extras and crew members haven’t ended.
He said his parents attend nearly every one of his shoots.
“Our whole family does whatever it takes to support him,” said Colleen. “We have all been extras in his movies.”
Phil said he usually needs at least four other people on a set with him to help with things like sound, lighting and supervising the script.
Although some of Phil’s friends aren’t particularly interested in a career in filmmaking, they are always on board to help him out.
Alexander Szokolyai has been involved with making seven movies with his friend of about three years.
“I want to (major in) economics and international business,” Szokolya said. “But if it ever happens that Phil makes it big time, I’m not going to argue with helping him.”
Szokolyai said he thinks the group of five or so friends that most frequently help Phil with projects do so because they’re an enthusiastic bunch that’s up for anything.
Kurt Eberling Jr., re-enactor specializing in World War II, said he enjoys working with Phil due to his professional nature.
“If I had to sum Phil up in one word, that would be professional,” he said. “He’s a good, strong leader we’ve all come to respect.”
Phil’s friends and family are rooting for Phil to meet his goals and become feature filmmaker in Los Angeles.
As for the remainder of the summer, Phil looks forward to competing in Project Twenty1 in Philadelphia. The competition is a 21-day race to produce a film out of a broad idea.
“So far, we have our core team (of seven Temple students) together,” he said. “But we’re looking for actors and actresses.”
The competition starts July 30 and films must be submitted by August 20.
Phil said depending on the film’s topic matter, he may stick to his roots and film in the Southampton area.