When Berlin native Austin Stowell told his mom, Elizabeth, a fourth grade teacher at Willard Elementary School, he wanted to move to LA and become an actor, you would think she would have reservations.
"For the longest time, Austin has had a gift of telling stories from his heart," said Elizabeth, who lives in Rocky Hill. "I never had a second thought. I knew as long as he kept telling from his heart, he would be successful."
Stowell returned to his hometown of Berlin, a 2003 graduate and class president of Berlin High School, to introduce the premier of his first major movie, "Dolphin Tale."
"This is the epitome of happiness for me right now," said Elizabeth Stowell, while greeting friends and family. "My only concern when he left to pursue acting was that I would not be right there with him. I had no fears about him leaving. I think travel is the best education so I was just happy for him. Tonight, I'm happy for all of us."
Stowell introduced both the 7:15 and 7:35 p.m. shows at Rave Motion Pictures. While introducing the movie to the 7:35 p.m. crowd, in front of a full theater and two full rows of family and friends, Stowell choked up and tears well in his eyes as he remembered dreaming about this day."
After the film, Stowell answered questions, most of them from young children. The questions were wide-ranging and thoughtful while some were silly.
"What did the dolphin feel like?" "Hard, wet rubber" was the answer.
"Can you swim?" "I can swim, I didn't sink in the movie." Stowell said.
"What was it like working with Morgan Freeman?"
"Will there be a 'Dolphin Tale' Two?"
One of Stowell's neighbors growing up asked if he would ever act in a horror movie?
"Here's why he asked that," Stowell said laughing. "My neighbors had the best haunted house for Halloween and every year I told them I wanted to be part of it. So I would dress up and get ready and as soon as the scary music came on, I would run out of the basement screaming. I still have nightmares to this day."
"What's it like seeing yourself up on the big screen?"
His young cousin William asked the last question. "Do you still like hot dogs?"
Stowell immediately doubled over in laughter. "I still love hot dogs," he said. "Up until I was about 16 all I ate was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hot dogs. So glad to be home."