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Reel Passion

MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) -

The Academy Awards just wrapped up, but don't be surprised if a rising star on the north shore wins best picture one day. Nick Ramey is an up-and-coming cinematographer, racking up awards that have taken him all the way to the White House. He's a senior at Mandeville High.

"The students at Mandeville High don't know what I do. I'm not popular. I'm just a regular person taking academics," he said.

Focused on reading, writing and arithmetic there at school, but in his mind, cameras roll, as he mulls over the next big project.

"My resume is too long - it can't fit on one page. It's upsetting to me in 12-point font," Ramey said.

He's not cocky, he's just good. He was among a small group of students invited to the White House Film Festival last year. Nick was director of photography on a short film called "PiP", highlighting the role of technology in education. The film was a finalist among thousands of films for presidential viewing.

"The president said he was proud of us and we were the future of art in America," Ramey said.

A traditional high school student by day, then in the afternoons he makes the trek across the Causeway to pursue his real future. The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts has been Nick's playground in the evenings since ninth grade with serious pursuits.

"I'll turn these back on because they look cool," he said working the lights on the audio-video board at NOCCA. He's learning the art of film-making one project at a time.

"This is a film I did about littering with this cute little cast in it," Nick said pulling up a video on his computer.

"Nick stood out from the moment he walked in because you could tell he'd already been shooting with cameras at home," said Courtney Egan an instructor at NOCCA.

"You could tell he was paying attention visually."

Nick said people ask him what he does besides film, and it's nothing he can tell them.

"I only do film all day and all night. Even on weekends. I always have a camera in my hand," he said.

His father, Robert Ramey, says when everyone else was playing monopoly, he was setting up a film shoot.

"When I wasn't tripping over equipment we were conceiving the next creation for him," his dad said.

At the age of 12 Nick wrote and directed a film called "The Babysitter." He pulled in some neighbors for the project.

"Some of the camera angles and the way he directed his sister to fall on the ground were advanced for his age, and I thought that could be something for him."

He wanted to make his films better.

"I made "Conscription" when I was 16 years old, and I really started allocating and spreading that film more when I was 17, and it still to this day takes me different places," Nick said.

Conscription is a metaphorical journey on an elevator ride through a boy's life who is about to fight in World War II.

"My film has played in festivals worldwide - about 30 festivals now. I'm a national Young Arts alumni two-time winner," Nick said. "I've got five gold keys from the Scholastic Film Program."

Nick's intense short film "Tomorrow at Dawn" has gone to international film festivals as well. Ramey wants to give the world more than just pretty pictures.

"When I'm making a film, I want a voice and I want to attack a societal problem or a problem we've had in the past by using a medium of film to impact the masses."

His work has the attention of Hollywood South.

"Alright I think it looks fantastic. Let's go ahead and do a take," he said.

We caught up with him on a weekend shoot for another film project in the city.

"Sometimes I get these passion projects just for fun people have scripts they want me to shoot and because of "Conscription" and other films. They like the production value of my pieces," he said.

He takes command on the set, revealing skills beyond his years.

At NOCCA he's working on new film called "New Heights" about a north shore program that uses horseback riding to help children with disabilities.

"This shot I'm not crazy about but that girl is in love with the horse. It's an emotional connection there. Definately therapy for me,"

He finds a way to give back.

"Ultimately the goal is to be a director of photography and a director that can move people," he said.

And make an impact on people one film at a time.

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