Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ballard High School Filmmakers Win NFFTY Award

Left Side, a documentary about a professional skier and mountain biker who managed to stay competitive after the accident that cost him his left leg, won the prize for Best Documentary last night at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). The documentary was produced by BHS video students Esther Magasis, Andy Tran & Ryan Zemke. NFFTY featured 113 films from 20 states and 8 different countries by filmmakers 22 and younger. Many of the festival works were produced by college students from such prestigious schools of film & television as USC, UCLA, and NYU, so there was no shortage of competition!

A jury of twenty-three professional filmmakers determined the award together. Left Side will be screened again at The Showing on Friday, May 29, at 7 pm in the Ballard High School auditorium. Admission is free, but there is a suggested donation of $5 for the Video Production Program.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ballard High School Filmmakers Score at International Festival

Three productions by Ballard High School video students have been named Official Selections of the Westport Youth Film Festival. These include the Public Service Announcement Don’t Spill by Levi Friedman, Jacob Kutrakun & Ryan Zemke, the documentary Left Side by Esther Magasis, Andy Tran & Ryan Zemke, and the drama The Umbrella by Parker Davis, Kaelan Gilman & Henry Shenk. The festival will take place at Town Hall and surrounding venues in Westport, Connecticut, on May 9th.

Westport is home to many New York film professionals, and the festival, in association with the Westport Arts Center, is designed to provide an outlet for young filmmakers to share their work in a professional environment and receive constructive criticism from a combination of peers and professionals. The festival screens “the best international and national high school and middle school films.” For more about WYFF, visit

Ballard High School students distinguished themselves by having work in three different areas of festival competition: PSA, Documentary, and Drama. All of these honored productions will be screened in the BHS auditorium at a showing of work by students in the BHS Video Production Program on Friday, May 29 at 7 p.m. There is a $5 suggested donation.