Thursday, March 10, 2016

In Memory of a Very Special USC Film Grad

The average life expectancy of those born with spinal muscular atrophy is two years. George Cornelius IV lived to celebrate his 32nd birthday, graduating along the way from USC Film School in 2006.

In the wake of Cornelius' death last summer, a $2,500 scholarship was established in his memory at Carmel High School in Indiana. The first-year application deadline is this week, March 11th, with those students interested being asked to submit a three-minute short film.

The best way to get to know Cornelius is to watch the 2012 episode of local PBS series Across Indiana that profiled him. The long-running program, hosted by Michael Atwood, led with the inspiring story of Cornelius, confined to a wheelchair but unfettered in his imagination. Several USC film teachers and fellow students sing his praises.

The name of Cornelius' production company was Gimped Productions, a nod to the fact that he had no problem making fun of himself. He remained in Los Angeles after graduating from film school until 2014, when he moved back to Fishers, Indiana to be closer to his family. Per a write-up in Current in Carmel, Netflix may wind up adding to his legacy:

"He wrote several long feature films but didn’t live long enough to produce them,” his mother Vickie Cornelius Phipps said. “He had one movie that Netflix wants to start into a series. It’s called Under Duress. But it isn’t finalized yet.”
Phipps said her son encouraged many others. “A lot of people saw his accomplishments and thought, ‘well, I have no excuse,’” she said. “He brought a lot of great people into his life.”

The synopsis for Under Duress, for which Cornelius is listed as one of three co-writers, reads: On the night of his bachelor party, Nick and his groomsmen are kidnapped and forced to commit a series of increasingly violent crimes at the hands of a group known only as The Company.

During his lifetime, this upbeat young man was greatly assisted by the use of LC Technology's Eye Gaze, which allows users to control a computer screen with their eyes. Other alumni of Carmel High School who went on to dream big in Tinseltown include actor Jake Lloyd and director Tommy O'Haver.

[Across Indiana: Episode 1613]

No comments:

Post a Comment