By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Carol Damgen, full-time lecturer of theatre arts at Cal State San Bernardino, was anything but invisible at the 2018 Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival held in San Diego this past July; “The Invisible Man,” in which she served as co-producer, actor and costume designer, was one of 10 horror/suspense films that was shown during the event.
“I am incredibly proud that we made this film entirely in the Inland Empire for just over $50,000, using many local students on the project,” said Damgen, who teaches a variety of courses at CSUSB, such as Creative Drama and Intro to Theatre. “Also, we got to feature the beautiful, historic California Theatre in San Bernardino, a protected landmark, which is one if not the jewel of San Bernardino.”
The 88-minute film is a modern retelling of H.G. Wells’ classic novel of the same name, which tells the story of a scientist who completes an experiment for invisibility that allows him to exact revenge on his son’s murderer, but at the expense of his mind.
“I am in love with the classic film noir period as well as Gothic literature,” said Damgen, who obtained her master of fine arts in writing for the performing arts from the University of California, Riverside. “‘The Invisible Man’ pays homage to this type of storytelling found in classic works such as ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Dracula,’ with a focus on the monstrous other, the supernatural, scientific breakthroughs, gender and sexuality, and the importance of space.”
This was the first time Damgen participated in Comic-Con, and was thrilled to share the experience with her brother, Glenn, who also served as a producer for the film.
“I was very excited to attend,” she said. “I had heard of it, of course, for years, but never had the opportunity to experience it firsthand.”
Damgen also participated in an independent film panel during Comic-Con, along with the assistant director of “The Invisible Man,” Jasmine Perez, and the lead director and writer, Joseph Henson. Damgen spoke from a feminine prospective, and even had the opportunity to ask Perez about her experience as a young woman beginning her career in the film industry. She also discussed her many roles that went into the film.
“With independent films, many times you have to be willing to wear many hats to get the project done,” Damgen said. “I think this approach can be very exciting and exhausting at the same time. But that’s the world of independent films!”
Damgen, who is the co-vice chair of the National Playwriting Program for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for Region VIII (a position she is proud to hold as a woman), encourages all aspiring film makers to follow their dreams.
“If you want to make a film, do it! Don’t wait for someone else to approach you to make it happen. Surround yourself with talented people who want to make art and work together in collaboration. Lastly, never stop learning,” she said. “Work your craft, tell great stories and never stop until you say cut.”