Wednesday, March 01, 2017


Three shorts by twelve students in Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program have won honors at the Dominique Dunne Film Competition in Colorado Springs.  This competition actively seeks and invites entries from schools with outstanding film programs throughout the United States and abroad.  It has only two categories: Documentary and Dramatic Narrative.  Each school is limited to only four entries.  

Maya Konz, Nolan Baker, Bailey Wall and Kajsa Woolford won 1st Prize in the Documentary category for 9066, a film about the internment of citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II.  Also recognized in Documentary was Heart of Gold by Miles Andersen, Josh Gaynor-Cote, Willow Hudson and Jesse Romero.  It received an Honorable Mention.  Heart of Gold follows a student through her final year of high school - a year complicated by a life-threatening medical condition, a stroke, and a heart transplant.  In the Dramatic category, Avery Davis, Aaron Miller, Cameron Miller, and Skala Leake received an Honorable Mention for Comeback, the story of a soccer player facing a serious setback.   

The students will receive cash prizes for each honor, as well as written critiques from members of the competition's prestigious Advisory Board including producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. (of The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Samuel Goldwyn Films), actor/director Griffin Dunne (An American Werewolf in London, After Hours) and producer/ director/actor Ed Sherin (Law & Order).      

Students from Ballard's Digital Filmmaking Program won three of the six honors given by the competition.  This is the fifth year in a row that Ballard’s film students have been among the winners. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Everyone is invited to a screening of new work by students in the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program.  The Ballard Film Festival (BFF) will be on Friday, February 10 at 7 pm in the Ballard High School auditorium.  The screening will feature short comedies and dramas, advertisements, and documentaries.  Tickets ($10 for adults and $5 for students) will be sold at the door. 

Films that first screen at the BFF frequently win honors at prestigious national and international film festivals as well as awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  BHS film students hit the ground running this fall with 10 Official Selections in the national All American High School Film Festival, awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for Best Music Video and Best Editing, and winners at Fresh Film Northwest - including the documentary Living Honestly by PJ Hase and Skala Leake.  This will have its Seattle premiere at the Ballard Film Festival. 

Funds raised will benefit students in the Digital Filmmaking Program.  This year, Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program was one of 5 production programs from across the nation selected by the All American High School Film Festival in New York City to produce documentaries for IMAX.  Big screen distribution sets a high bar for production values.  Your support will put the right tools in the hands of students so they can complete these productions in style.   


Isaiah Hoban Halvorsen (class of 2013)

When I was a high school sophomore, I knew I wanted to go to film school for college. I also knew I wasn’t anywhere near ready. I made the dive and transferred to Ballard High School in order to join the Digital Filmmaking Program I’d heard so much about. In two short years, surrounded by creative and passionate classmates, and under the guidance of an incredibly supportive and knowledgeable teacher, I was able to not only build the portfolio I needed to get into film school, but also learn the skills and principles necessary to feel truly confident in diving right into student projects, jobs, and internships as soon as I arrived.

Right after high school graduation, Mr. Lawrence landed me my first internship on a professional film set, working for the locations department on Laggies, directed by Lynn Shelton. This not only taught me the ins and outs of a professional film set, but also helped my résumé to stand out. I entered my freshman year at New York University in 2013 to study Film & Television. My first semester, I got a job as a technical assistant at the NYU editing labs. The next summer, I worked with the same locations department, this time as a Production Assistant on Captain Fantastic, directed by Matt Ross. I am currently interning at Dimension Films, The Weinstein Company, doing coverage (reading and assessing submitted screenplays).

As I enter my last semester at NYU, I can’t help but think of my time making films at Ballard. Visual storytelling is the core foundation of film itself, so it is no surprise that it is the core foundation of the curriculum of both the Digital Filmmaking Program at Ballard and the Film & Television program at NYU. Throughout my experience at NYU, I have found time and time again that my foundation at Ballard has helped me to excel in the program. Most recently, my film The Champion was a finalist at New Visions and Voices, NYU’s junior level film festival. I have recently begun to focus on screenwriting, and am currently writing my thesis, which is a feature screenplay.

The Digital Filmmaking program at Ballard helped me to actualize my passion for film. From teaching me the principles of filmmaking to helping with my college essays and writing recommendations, Mr. Lawrence played a huge part in my acceptance into film school. By pushing me to run my sets as professionally as possible, from pre-production through production, the program also helped me to develop a strong sense of professionalism and responsibility, very necessary traits in the pursuit of any career. It is difficult to say what the future will hold. All I can say for certain is that I am doing what I love.