When a pair of animated short films she made premiere at the Beaufort International Film Festival, Carla Young will be able to add "filmmaker" to a resume that already includes stints as a massage therapist, dance instructor and philosophy professor.
Young, a Hilton Head Island resident, has never been afraid to try new things, so it was hardly a surprise to her friends and loved ones when she jumped headlong into animation upon meeting local artist and photographer Dana Rose about a year ago.
Their partnership resulted in "Hamsters Want to be Free" and "Mechanical Cow," two short animated films based on songs Young wrote for her children. The animated shorts were the only local entries accepted into this year's film festival, which begins Wednesday.
Young said she never foresaw becoming a filmmaker, but the opportunity of bringing her songs to life -- songs about the imaginary adventures of cage-bound hamsters and another about a mechanical cow who thwarts a bank robbery -- was one she couldn't pass up.
"I've always loved to draw cartoons and I especially loved making things move," Young said. "This felt like a very natural transition."
Young moved to Hilton Head about six years ago after working for years as a modern dance instructor in Philadelphia and a philosophy professor at nearby Gwynedd-Mercy College, where she staged two runs of a self-produced musical called "Flying Horses."
As was the case with the musical, Young said she hopes those who see her films this week feel inspired to create something themselves.
"I really want to make something that makes someone say, 'I want to do that,' " Young said.
Of the more than 30 films selected to be screened this week, Young's short films, which each run about four minutes, were the only local submissions, though films were submitted by directors in Charleston, Columbia and elsewhere across the state.
Ron Tucker, executive director of the festival, said the festival, now in its in seventh year, benefits greatly from local submissions.
"One of the missions of the festival is to enliven the community by fostering and developing a rich appreciation for the art of filmmaking," Tucker said. "If it inspires members of the community to take pen to hand or to pick up the camera to test their hidden cinematic talents then we are pleased that we made a difference in some small way."
Though admittedly anxious about how her films will look and sound on the big screen, Young is already looking toward her next endeavor -- she is in talks to turn the films into an interactive smartphone and tablet app for children and is hard at work on another short, "When the Kitty Cat Comes to Town."
"I've always thought that if you can enjoy as an adult what you did as a kid then you'll be happy."
Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.