Saturday, October 22, 2016


Two short films by students from the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program are winners at Fresh Film Northwest.  This competitive regional festival is coordinated by the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon.  It accepts entries from filmmakers ages 13 to 19 in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.  This is the twelfth year in a row that students from Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program have been among the winners. 

The winning films include a visual story and a documentary.  The visual story Comeback, by Avery Davis, Skala Leake, Aaron Miller and Cameron Miller, is about a high school soccer player who suffers a life-altering setback.  The film recently premiered at the national All American High School Film Festival in New York City.  Fresh Film Northwest will be the premiere of Living Honestly, a documentary about teens coming out by PJ Hase and Skala Leake. 

A jury of filmmakers and educators screened 130 entries from across the five state region to select winners for the festival.  The festival winners will be screened at the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium on November 12 at noon.

Living Honestly, along with other new works by students in the Digital Filmmaking Program, will have its Seattle premiere at the Ballard Film Festival on Friday, February 10 at 7 pm in the BHS auditorium.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.  All proceeds support students in the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program was one of five “exemplary” programs chosen by the All American High School FilmFestival (AAHSFF) to receive a $5,000 “In Focus” grant from IMAX.  The All American High School Film Festival is the largest high school film festival in the nation, drawing competition from all across the country.  The announcement was made Friday, October 7th, during the festival’s Opening Night ceremonies in New York City.

“We selected programs that produced quality content in the voice of young people that’s raw and meaningful to their peers.  We have a library of content of about 5,000 films and identified programs that consistently submitted quality work” said Tom Oliva, Executive Director of the AAHSFF.

Partnering with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the “In Focus” initiative is a component of IMAX “Big Picture”, the corporate social responsibility program created to leverage the power of film to mobilize action and effect positive change.  The five selected student film programs will create short films that address at least one of the UN’s following development goals:
        Climate action, which calls for efforts to stem greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists cite as a major factor in the earth’s changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
        Life below water, encouraging people, enterprises and nations to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources.  According to the UN, some 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.
        Life on land, encouraging people, enterprises and nations to sustainably manage forests, and halt and reverse land degradation.  According to the UN, forests account for a third of the earth’s surface, highlighting the global imperative to reverse deforestation.

“This effort provides an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to elevate their work to a higher platform and work with new film technology, while encouraging them to use film to effect change and social improvement,” said Richard Gelfond, IMAX CEO. 

The All American High School Film Festival has a distinguished jury, with such luminaries as screenwriter Diablo Cody, documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, and actors Kristen Stewart and Dylan McDermott.  Official Selections to the festival are also eligible for awards.  Last year, films by BHS Digital Filmmaking students were finalists for Best Screenplay, Best Directing, Best Drama, and Best Documentary – as well as two of their productions becoming finalists for Best Overall Film.  (They won the Best Drama prize.  The honored films from last year can be viewed on the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program’s vimeo site at .)  This year’s festival, which opened on October 7, features 10 productions by 21 students in the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program.