"I've got one more question," local filmmaker Alex Dever said after discussing his latest project. "You've got a minute? How are you doing today? It's such an important question."
"Introspective" premieres Sunday at the Harbor Square Theatre in Stone Harbor, but Dever, 22, of Ocean View, ended conversation of his film with his mind on human emotion.
A graduate of Dennis Township schools, Dever earned his diploma from Cape May Technical High School in 2014. After traveling both domestically and internationally, he decided to create a film in the place he grew up, he said.
"There is so much love in the (Cape May) county. It just needs to be brought to life," Dever says. "That’s what I believe in. I had to do a movie here."
Jo Ann Dever, Alex's mother, said her son has always been an artist, easily picking up instruments, mastering photography and creating meticulous drawings. As he grew older, he became more focused on filmmaking, and Jo Ann was not surprised to see him excel with that, too.
"He was born to make people happy with his storytelling," she said. "This is his dream."
"Introspective," Alex Dever's latest 70-minute movie, features key scenes set in Ocean View, Sea Isle City and Wildwood, according to Dever.
Dever said he "wore a couple hats that were pretty heavy" when bringing his film to life. He wrote the script then directed and produced the film.
Pre-production for the film began in 2016 and lasted several months, according to Dever, as the film team gathered resources, made a formula and decided where they wanted to shoot. Dever was living in Los Angeles when he began writing the script.
"We wanted to take the time needed to put our heads and hearts in the right place," Dever says.
The film took a month to shoot, according to Dever, before heading into the post-production process.
"It took a handful of us to make the magic happen," he said.
The film includes local actors, such as Adin Kolansky, of Franklinville, and father-son pair Lou and Louis Bianchino.
To Dever, "Introspective" is about dream-chasing, an internal and external journey, and "remembering why you started in the first place." The film includes personal ideas that made Dever live the experience he was creating, making the film "authentic."
"The whole team," Dever says, "was experiencing an introspection."
For the premiere of his film, Dever asks that audiences wear attire that is "serious but silly at the same time."
A portion of the proceeds from the premiere will go toward a workshop on storytelling to help youth "know what art means" across multiple disciplines, according to Dever.
What Dever cannot be sure about is the future. He does not yet know if he will continue making films in New Jersey or even stay local.
"I learned that my vision will always stay the same," Dever said. "I have no clue where it will take me."
Additional information and tickets can be found at www.introspectivemovie.com.