Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BALLARD HIGH SCHOOL FILMS WIN NATIONAL FESTIVAL


Seven works by students in the Ballard High School Video Production Program won prizes at the 15th Annual Derek Freese High School Film & Video Festival. This prestigious festival draws competition from high school filmmakers throughout the nation and is judged by acclaimed filmmakers and professors from Temple University’s School of Film & Media Arts. The festival was held at TU in Philadelphia last Saturday.

Ballard High School filmmakers won every award in the documentary category. (This is quite an honor, as Temple is widely regarded as one of the best schools of documentary filmmaking in the country.) First Prize went to Robyn Cochrane, Spencer Miller, Georgia Peck & Justin Smith-Mercado for Bar Ink, the story of a youth whom manages to discover and develop his talent in spite of incarceration. Amelia Elizalde, Levi Friedman, Sean Hendricks & Sheridan Koehler took Second Prize for Henry, about the Seattle muralist of that name. Third Prize went to Tony Meyer, Matt Law-Phipps & James Vitz-Wong for Seattle Street Musicians. John Christensen, Rikke Heinecke, Blair Scott & Allie Stock won the Best Documentary Screenplay prize for Split Mind, the story of a family’s experience with schizophrenia.

In the Best Fiction category, Ballard High School students won three prizes. First Prize went to Emily Deering, Amelia Elizalde & Blair Scott for the subtle dramatic short Buy, Sell, Trade. Second Prize went to Matt Law-Phipps, Tony Meyer & Ryan Zemke for their dystopian vision, Real World. (Both these prize-winners will have their Seattle premiere at The Showing on Friday, February 11th at 7 pm in the BHS auditorium. Tickets are $5, and will be sold at the door.) Best Fiction Screenplay went to Rikke Heinecke, Tony Meyer & Lizzy O’Laughlin for Signs, a story of hope for the homeless.

This marks the eighth year in a row that productions by students from the Ballard High School Video Production Program have been Finalists in the Derek Freese Festival, and the third time they have also won top prizes.

The festival is held in memory of Derek Freese, a gifted Temple University film student. His family created the Derek Freese Foundation in his name. The national festival is a joint project of this Foundation and the TU School of Film and Media Arts, and aims to celebrate and support excellent young filmmakers.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

SEVEN BHS FILMS FINALISTS IN NATIONAL FESTIVAL

Seven productions by students in the Ballard High School Video Production Program have been named Finalists of the 15th Annual Derek Freese High School Film & Video Festival. This prestigious festival draws competition from high school filmmakers across the country and is judged by professors from Temple University’s renowned film school and industry professionals. The festival will take place in Philadelphia at Temple’s School of Film and Media Arts on Saturday, December 11 at 1 pm.

Finalists for Best Documentary are Bar Ink by Spencer Miller, Robyn Cochrane, Justin Smith-Mercado, & Georgia Peck; Henry by Amelia Elizalde, Levi Friedman, Sheridan Koehler & Sean Hendricks; Seattle Street Performers by James Vitz-Wong, Tony Meyer & Matt Law-Phipps; and Split Mind by Rikke Heinecke, John Christensen, Blair Scott & Allie Stock.

Finalists for Best Fiction Film are Buy, Sell, Trade by Emily Deering, Amelia Elizalde & Blair Scott; The Real World by Matt Law-Phipps, Tony Meyer & Ryan Zemke; and Signs by Rikke Heinecke, Tony Meyer & Lizzy O'Laughlin.

Several of these works have also been nominated for Best Screenplay. The envelopes will be opened at the festival, and awards will be presented by filmmakers from the festival jury.

Some of these finalists will have their Seattle premiere at The Showing in the BHS auditorium on Friday, February 11 at 7 pm. Tickets are $5 and will be sold at the door.

This marks the eighth year in a row that productions by students from the Ballard High School Video Production Program have been Finalists in the Derek Freese Festival. Some have also won top prizes.

The festival is held in memory of Derek Freese, a gifted Temple University film student. His family created the Derek Freese Foundation in his name. The festival is a joint project of this Foundation and the TU School of Film and Media Arts, and aims to celebrate and support excellent young filmmakers.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

DON'T MISS "THE SHOWING" PREMIERE

Everyone is invited to a screening of new work by students in the Ballard High School Video Production Program. The Showing will be Friday, February 11 at 7 p.m. in the Ballard High School auditorium. Included will be short comedies and dramas as well as public service announcements and commercials. Tickets are $5, and will be sold at the door. All proceeds benefit students in the Ballard High School Video Production Program.

Multiple productions screened at The Showing last winter went on to awards and honors at various film festivals. Be the first to see tomorrow’s award-winners! Be sure to arrive early. Prior screenings have filled the auditorium, and people have been turned away.

NINE BHS FILMS NAMED SEMI-FINALISTS AT NATIONAL FESTIVAL


Nine works by students in the Ballard High School Video Production Program have been named semi-finalists in the 15th Annual Derek Freese High School Film & Video Festival last Sunday. This prestigious festival draws competition from high school filmmakers throughout the nation and is judged by professors from Temple University’s renowned film school, acclaimed filmmakers, and members of the Derek Freese Foundation.

The jury is currently selecting finalists, and will make an announcement next week. The festival is slated for 1 pm, Saturday, December 11 at The REEL, Temple University’s Student Cinema. There will be an award ceremony and reception after the screening.

Ballard’s semi-finalists are:

The documentary Bar Ink by Robyn Cochrane, Georgia Peck, Spencer Miller & Justin Smith-Mercado

The dramatic short Buy, Sell, Trade by Emily Deering, Amelia Elizalde & Blair Scott

The documentary Henry by Amelia Elizalde, Levi Friedman, Sean Hendricks & Sheridan Koehler

The dramatic short The Real World by Matt Law-Phipps, Tony Meyer & Ryan Zemke

The documentary Seattle Street Performers by Matt Law-Phipps, Tony Meyer & James Vitz-Wong

The visual story Signs by Rikke Heinecke, Tony Meyer & Lizzy O’Laughlin

The documentary Split Mind by John Christensen, Rikke Heinecke, Blair Scott & Allie Stock

The documentary Tanaholics by Kaila Lafferty, Elise Neroutsos & Alex Papac

The documentary Without Our Cars by Sydney Jarol, Dylan Miller & Ryan Zemke

BHS video students have been finalists in this festival every year since they began entering in 2004. They have also won top prizes.

Monday, October 04, 2010

BALLARD FILM STUDENTS WIN REGIONAL FESTIVAL


Four productions by students in the BHS Video Production Program are among the winners of the 34th Annual Young People’s Film & Video Festival. The winners are the short dramas Reflection (by Sheridan Koehler & Blair Scott) and Signs (by Rikke Heinecke, Lizzy O’Laughlin & Tony Meyer) as well as the documentaries Bar Ink (by Robyn Cochrane, Spencer Miller, Georgia Peck & Justin Smith-Mercado) and Henry (by Amelia Elizalde, Levi Friedman, Sean Hendricks & Sheridan Koehler).

This competitive festival accepts entries from students in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Alaska. It is coordinated by the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon. The Festival encourages young people to “use film and video to creatively express personal concerns, explore important social issues, and share engaging stories about the world as they see it.” Submissions were judged on the basis of age/grade, originality, artistic merit, technical achievement, and conviction in investigation of subject matter. A jury of professional media artists made the selections. Only 16 productions were chosen for the festival from over 150 entries.

The visual story Reflection explores the moral consequences of decisions. Signs charts the inner transformation of a homeless man as he prepares to leave the street. It's also a story without dialogue. The two winning documentaries have contrasting subject matter as well. Bar Ink tells the story of a former convict (imprisoned at an early age) that managed – despite the odds – to discover and develop his talent behind bars and embarked on a successful career once released. Henry is a face-off between the prolific Seattle muralist of that name and Seattle art critic Regina Hackett.

The Festival Winners’ Program will be screened on Sunday, November 7 at 1 p.m. at the Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium (1219 SW Park, Portland, Oregon). Following the screening, the Film Center will host a reception where the winners can mix with this year's festival jurors. The event is free, and the public is welcome to attend.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE CELEBRATES SEATTLE BLUES LEGEND

Ever wonder why some people with immense talent are marginalized while others, without such gifts, become household names? That’s one of the questions explored by Who is Duffy Bishop and Why is She Not World Famous?, a documentary on the Seattle blues icon. It will premiere in Seattle on Saturday, September 25 at 7:30 pm in the Ballard High School auditorium.

The documentary was produced by Bryan Johnston (most recently of KOMO and KIRO-TV). It was co-produced by Matt Law-Phipps and Ryan Zemke of the Ballard High School Video Production Program. During their senior year, Matt and Ryan had formed their own production company Space Time Productions. When Bryan Johnston approached teacher Matt Lawrence looking for talented young filmmakers to co-produce his project, Space Time Productions found another client. Bryan mentored the students as they expanded their production skills in a professional environment.

Following the 30-minute documentary, Duffy Bishop will perform live. Proceeds from the event benefit Seattle breast cancer awareness and research. Tickets (sold at the door) will be $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Friday, August 27, 2010

1 REEL FILM FESTIVAL HONORS BHS FILMMAKERS

Seattle’s Bumbershoot is host to SIFF’s 1 Reel Film Festival, a showcase of short films from around the world. This year several winners of the Northwest High School Film Festival join the program – including two by Ballard High School Video Production students. The Crumb, by Emily Deering, Karli Lafferty, Sarah Maloney & Taylor Rubright, is a humorous look at the extremes of obsessive compulsion. The short drama Reflection, by Sheridan Koehler & Blair Scott, examines the cost of bad choices. Both were student Emmy nominees at the Northwest Regional Emmy Awards last spring and Official Selections at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in addition to winning Awards of Excellence at the NWHSFF.

The showcase will be screened at SIFF Cinema from noon to 1 pm on Sunday, September 5. The public is welcome to attend. Bumbershoot 2010 tickets are on sale online and will also be available at the gates at Seattle Center on Bumbershoot weekend. One entrance ticket gets you a full days worth of entertainment – there is no separate ticketing for the 1 Reel Film Festival. For more ticketing information, visit www.bumbershoot.org.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

YOU'RE INVITED - DON'T MISS THE PARTY!

In honor of Ballard’s victory at NFFTY’s 48 Hour Film Off, NFFTY sponsor Vitaminwater is throwing a party for Ballard High School video production students and their friends at the Vitaminwater Social Club. The all-ages club is located at 1001 E. Pike Street at the corner of Pike and 10th on Capitol Hill. The party is slated for Friday, July 16.

It will begin at 9 pm with an hour of food and music, followed by an hour of short productions from Ballard High School filmmakers. There will then be music and dancing until midnight, and it’s all free!

In addition to the NFFTY award-winning short Charlie, the screening will include student Emmy winner The Crumb, student Emmy nominee Dead End, and national high school festival finalist Dino Utopia. Two short documentaries on Seattle artists will also be featured, as well as new works that have never been shown before.

All Ballard High School Video Production Program students, their friends and families are invited!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

AND THE WINNERS ARE...BALLARD VIDEO STUDENTS

Two productions by Ballard High School video students were winners at the 47th Annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards on Saturday, June 5. Loose Change by Emma Hutchison, Georgia Peck & Alex Scheller, won in the Public Service Announcement category, and The Crumb by Emily Deering, Karli Lafferty, Sarah Maloney & Taylor Rubright won in the Dramatic Presentation category.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gives student awards to recognize the best in student television production. The regional awards celebrate outstanding productions from five northwest states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. This makes the fourth year in a row that students in the Ballard High School Video Production Program have been winners at the event.

Four other Ballard High School video productions had also been nominated. Dead End by Emma Hutchison, Kaila Lafferty, Karli Lafferty & Kirsten Zeller, Manimal by Levi Friedman, Matt Law-Phipps, Esther Magasis & Ryan Zemke, and Reflection by Sheridan Koehler & Blair Scott were nominees in the Dramatic Presentation category. Swine Flu Apocalypse by John Christensen, Conner Jarvie & Matt Law-Phipps was a nominee in the Public Service Announcement category. For more information on the NATAS student television awards, visit www.natasnw.org.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NORTHWEST HIGH SCHOOL FILM FESTIVAL HONORS BALLARD HIGH SCHOOL PRODUCERS


Students from the Ballard High School Video Production Program won multiple awards and honors at the 12th annual Northwest High School Film Festival at the Cinerama Theater in downtown Seattle on May 18. This is the largest and longest running festival for high school filmmakers in the Puget Sound region. This year 267 productions were entered in the competition from 22 high schools. Ballard High School led the pack of winners with a total of 14 awards and honors. In addition, seniors Emily Deering and Levi Friedman were each presented with $1,000 scholarships to The Prodigy Camp, a week-long summer workshop for young filmmakers led by writer/director Rick Stevenson of The Film School.

The festival was judged by a panel of 18 industry professionals and college media professors. The event was organized by the Media Educators Excellence Team (MEET) and sponsored by Adobe, the Art Institute of Seattle, Canon, DigiPen, Glazier’s Camera, Seattle University, and Shoreline Community College. For more information on the NWHSFF, visit nwhsff.org.

BHS productions were honored in five different categories, reflecting the diverse skills and talents of Ballard’s video students. Some of the winning productions will be shown on Friday, June 11 at The Showing, a screening of work by students in the BHS Video Production Program. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the BHS auditorium. There is a suggested donation of $5.00.

Ballard’s Northwest High School Film Festival winners:

AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE

Comedic Narrative
The Crumb
Emily Deering, Karli Lafferty, Sarah Maloney, Taylor Rubright

Dino Utopia
Lily Bennett, Levi Friedman, Blair Scott, Ryan Zemke

Documentary
Bar Ink
Robyn Cochrane, Spencer Miller, Georgia Peck, Justin Smith-Mercado

Dramatic Narrative
ReflectionSheridan Koehler, Blair Scott

News Feature
Stick With It
Tinh Pham, Bryant Rubright, Dylan Spence

Public Service Announcement
Ballard NW Senior Center: Gardening
Amelia Elizalde, Rikke Heinecke, Ashleigh Klemetson, Ryan Zemke

Ballard NW Senior Center: Knitting
Amelia Elizalde, Rikke Heinecke, Ashleigh Klemetson, Ryan Zemke

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Comedic Narrative
Finding the Music
Sheridan Koehler, Alex Scheller, Blair Scott

Manimal
Levi Friedman, Matthew Law-Phipps, Esther Magasis, Ryan Zemke

Documentary
Without Our Cars
Sydney Jarol, Dylan Miller, Ryan Zemke

Dramatic Narrative
Dead End
Emma Hutchison, Kaila Lafferty, Karli Lafferty, Kirsten Zeller

News Feature
The Beautiful Game
Jacob Scott, Colin Shively, Edwin Tellez

Public Service Announcement
Loose Change
Emma Hutchison, Georgia Peck, Alex Scheller

Make a Wish
Daniel Maldonado, Elizabeth O’Laughlin, Allie Stock

Saturday, May 15, 2010

EMMY ORGANIZATION NOMINATES BALLARD HIGH SCHOOL VIDEO STUDENTS

Six productions by Ballard High School video students have been honored with student Emmy nominations at the regional level. The awards are a project of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (the professional organization that gives the Emmy awards) and honor the best in student television production. The regional awards celebrate the most outstanding productions from five northwest states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. The winners will be announced at the 47th Annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards on June 5th.

Four of the nominations are in the Dramatic Presentation category.

The Crumb by Emily Deering, Karli Lafferty,
Sarah Maloney & Taylor Rubright

Dead End by Emma Hutchison, Kaila Lafferty,
Karli Lafferty & Kirsten Zeller

Manimal by Levi Friedman, Matt Law-Phipps,
Esther Magasis & Ryan Zemke

Reflection by Sheridan Koehler & Blair Scott

Only six productions received nominations in this category, so odds are good that BHS producers will take home the award on June 5.

The other two nominations are in the Public Service Announcement category.

Loose Change (produced for Real Change) by
Emma Hutchison, Georgia Peck &Alex Scheller

Swine Flu Apocalypse (produced for the Teen
Health Center) by John Christensen, Conner Jarvie & Matt Law-Phipps

This makes the fourth year in a row that Ballard High School video producers have been nominated. Last year they received 5 nominations and won student Emmy awards in the Public Affairs and Technical Achievement categories.

BHS video students will present new works completed this semester at 7 pm on Friday, June 11 at the BHS auditorium. Admission is free, but there is a suggested donation of $5.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

BALLARD HIGH SCHOOL PRODUCERS WIN NFFTY FILMMAKING COMPETITION


Ballard High School won the 48 Hour Film Off at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) on Saturday, May 1. The competition began at the conclusion of NFFTY Opening Night on Thursday. To ensure that no pre-production had been done before then, the teams were given critical props, a key line of spoken dialogue, and a theme that must be prominently featured in the short.

Students then worked around the clock to produce a 3 minute narrative short in only 48 hours. BHS video students John Christensen, Sydney Jarol, Matt Law-Phipps, Rikke Heinecke & Ryan Zemke represented Ballard, competing against production teams from Bellevue, Franklin, and Mount Si high schools. Each team worked on scripts, storyboarding, production schedules, shooting and editing in order to deliver a finished short in time for the Action Sports screening on Saturday night.

A jury of four professional filmmakers, along with audience voting, selected the BHS short, Charlie, as the winner. The winning producers received Nike 6.0, Skullcandy gear, and a $2,500 scholarship for the BHS Video Production Program. The winning short will be screened, along with other award-winning work from students in the BHS Video Production Program, at The Showing in the BHS auditorium on Friday, June 11 at 7 pm.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

BALLARD HIGH SCHOOL FILMMAKERS FEATURED AT NATIONAL FESTIVAL

Six short films by students in the Ballard High School Video Production Program have been named Official Selections of the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). This international festival opens at the Seattle Cinerama Theater on Thursday, April 29 and continues through Sunday at the Seattle Center. It features 190 films by filmmakers age 22 and younger from 33 states and 16 countries.

The honored Ballard films are The Crumb by Emily Deering, Karli Lafferty, Sarah Maloney & Taylor Rubright, Girl’s Best Friend by Georgia Peck, Elizabeth O’Laughlin & Madi Fowler, Gourmandizing by Levi Friedman & Matthew Law-Phipps, Manimal by Levi Friedman, Matthew Law-Phipps, Esther Magasis & Ryan Zemke, Reflection by Sheridan Koehler & Blair Scott, and The Umbrella by Parker Davis, Kaelan Gilman & Henry Shenk. (The Umbrella was further honored by being selected for the opening night screening at the Cinerama.) Between them, these shorts have previously been honored by the Young People’s Film & Video Festival, the Images of Youth Video Festival, and the international Festival do Rio.

NFFTY itself is the brainchild of Ballard High School video alumnus Jesse Harris (’04). Harris made history in 2004 when Living Life, the feature film he had written and directed as a senior project, was purchased by FilmMates and given a theatrical release. (It opened in Seattle in April, 2005.) A growing list of sponsors and partners, such as Volvo, Nike, and the socially conscious production company Take Part, have paved the way for this third annual event.

Prizes are awarded by a jury of industry professionals. (Last year Ballard High School video students won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Film over college competition.) However, like the Sundance Film Festival, NFFTY includes forums on filmmaking in addition to screenings and awards. Alternative Distribution:The New Model, Finding Your Success in Hollywood, Being a Professional Screenwriter, The Art of Movie Sound, Directing the Actor, and Green Screen on a Budget, are several current examples. Admission to these forums is free of charge if you have a festival pass. For a complete schedule of events, show times, and ticket information, visit
www.nffty.org.

Monday, March 22, 2010

BHS PRODUCERS HONORED BY NATIONAL FESTIVAL

Dino Utopia, a short film by BHS video students Lily Bennett, Levi Friedman, Blair Scott & Ryan Zemke, has been named an Official Selection and Finalist of the 14th Annual Derek Freese High School Film & Video Festival. This prestigious festival drew hundreds of entries from high school producers across the nation and was judged by professional filmmakers and professors from Temple University’s renowned film school. The festival took place in Philadephia at Temple’s Department of Film and Media Arts on Saturday, March 20. For more information, visit freesefilmfestival.org.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

BHS VIDEO STUDENTS WIN FESTIVAL HONORS

Four works by Ballard High School Video Production students will receive certificates for Outstanding Video Production at the Images of Youth 2010 Video Festival. Knitting by Amelia Elizalde, Rikke Heinecke, Ashleigh Klemetson & Ryan Zemke, is a Public Service Announcement for the Ballard NW Senior Center. Loose Change by Emma Hutchison, Georgia Peck & Alex Scheller, is a PSA for Real Change. The short film Manimal by Levi Friedman, Matthew Law-Phipps, Esther Magasis & Ryan Zemke, imagines the future of filmmaking once screenwriters have been entirely replaced by marketing experts. The final work, a PSA for the Teen Health Center, is Swine Flu Apocalypse, by John Christensen, Conner Jarvie & Matt Law-Phipps.

These productions, along with others receiving Outstanding Video Production certificates, will be screened at the Images of Youth Video Festival on Thursday, March 25 at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center at 7 pm. The Images of Youth Video Festival is a project of Action for Media Education (AME), a non-profit organization based at the University of Washington. For more information and directions to the event, visit the AME website at http://www.imagesofyouthfilmfestival.org/index.html.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?



Ashley Russell, Class of 2006
 
Like most teenagers, I was trying to figure out what I was good at, what I wanted to do, and frankly, what I was going to study once I graduated High School. I had tried various creative outlets: writing, music, theater, dance- but nothing fit. For a while I was doubting my creativity, my urge to be imaginative and share my thoughts with the world.  I seriously contemplated a more practical course of study…which, if you knew me, would have been the equivalent of Alice Cooper in a suit and tie, heading to a 9-5 job.

But luckily, I was haunted by an opportunity. During my freshman year history class, the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program debuted a series of short videos completed by their students.  Watching these shorts, I realized I wanted to document and create stories about all the things I loved, and what better and more creative way to do so than with a camera?

I spent my Sophomore and Junior years in the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program, learning everything I could about making movies. I produced narratives, news pieces, music videos, and Public Service Announcements (PSA’s). Some of these projects received international attention. A music video project entitled The Drive Thru won the Seattle InternationalFilm Festival’s FutureWave Audience Award in 2006, and in 2005, MTV & OneWorld held a contest for high school students to complete a PSA regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Our video, Get Tested, Get Educated, received worldwide status on the MTV/OneWorld website as a runner-up in the competition.

Toward the end of my Junior year, I wanted to take advantage of the Running Start program, and enrolled at Seattle Central College. Believe it or not, it had not hit me yet that I wanted to be a filmmaker, long term. I still had no idea what I was going to do or where I was going to go after High School – which was frightening, and curiously enough, even more stifling. 

During a cultural anthropology class I was taking at SCC, a woman named Debbie Guerrero came and spoke to our class about her native culture, beliefs, personal history, and background. Through her speech and words of wisdom, she breathed a ray of hope and inspiration into me. I instantly knew I wanted to make a documentary about her, and from that realization came another, that I wanted to be a filmmaker. That’s how I saw the world. I didn’t want to paint, write, draw, or act out my inspirations- I wanted to make movies about them, and in turn inspire others. 

Luckily, SCC had a 2-year Film and TV Production program, which I immediately applied for. I was accepted to start Fall 2006, following my June 2006 high school graduation. I spent my time at SCC making short films, documentaries (I finally got to make my piece about Debbie), and learning everything I could about filmmaking as an art and as an industry. A handful of the films I made in school have been in local film festivals, including The Girls at The Northwest FilmForum’s 2008 Local Sightings Film Festival.

The first film I worked on out of school was Dear Lemon Lima as the Wardrobe Supervisor, which awakened my love of design and paired it with my love of filmmaking. Since then I have worked for the costume department on various productions from assistant to designer. Some of my costume credits include Costume Designer for season 2 & 3 of the Syfy TV series, Z Nation, Costume Designer for Matthew Lillard’s directorial debut, Fat Kid Rules the World, Key Costumer for Courtney Hoffman on Captain Fantastic & Costume Design Assistant to Audrey Fisher for the pilot of the Amazon TV Series, The Man in the High Castle. My most recent Costume Design project was in Little Rock, Arkansas on the indie film Antiquities which should reach film festival audiences in 2017.

Looking back on what has guided my success in the film industry- separate from the creative support from my family- are two very direct and early influences, one being Mr. Lawrence and the digital filmmaking classes at BHS, the second being the unintentional influence of Debbie Guerrero. They both taught me how to find what inspires me. As a Costume Designer I have such a direct influence on how the audience sees the characters that it’s got me hooked…latched on to that feeling of successfully conveying an idea: whether it be a costume, a character, or a story. I love being intricately involved in writing who the characters are- purely through the design of the costume- and in turn, inspiring others.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?


Jesse Harris, Class of 2004

At only 24 Jesse Harris, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY NNFTY), is leading the next generation of young and talented filmmakers. Variety agrees, and named Jesse Harris one of 25 talents who transformed youth entertainment in 2009 for his work at NFFTY.

Jesse was born and raised in Seattle and began making films in childhood. During his three years in the Ballard High School Video Production Program, Jesse won twelve awards and honors at regional and national youth film festivals. These included prizes in narrative, documentary, and news production. However, his most memorable accomplishment was his senior project: the feature length drama Living Life that he wrote and directed at the age of 17. The film tells the story of a teenage boy battling cancer and how he changes other people’s lives in the process of reconciling himself to his illness.

Choosing to live his dream as a filmmaker, Jesse financed Living Life through funds raised by rallying friends, family, local organizations and using a majority of his college fund. Jesse hired "the best in the business" using a professional Seattle-based crew and actors to film the production between his junior and senior years of high school.

His efforts paid off. In 2004, Living Life was one of 20 features invited to be part of the annual lFP New York Film Market. It was also an Audience Award winner at the 2004 Orinda Film Festival. That same year Jesse was a semi-finalist for the IFP Spirit Award "Someone to Watch."

Jesse then partnered with FilmMates Entertainment for completion and distribution of Living Life, becoming the youngest known American director to obtain multi-city theatrical release and distribution of a feature film. Living Life was theatrically released in April 2005 and bought by HBO Central Europe and TV in Israel. Vivendi Visual Entertainment purchased Living Life for DVD distribution.

As a result of his experience making, releasing and distributing his own film, Jesse decided to create an organization to support other young filmmakers. In 2007 Jesse co-founded The National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), a new film festival and non-profit organization to support young filmmakers 22 and under. The first sponsor of the festival was Volvo Cars of North America, which became involved after Jesse produced a commercial for the Volvo C30.

Jesse continues to pursue filmmaking and is currently working on a variety of projects. Film and commercial clips can be seen at:
http://www.youtube.com/jesselharris

Saturday, February 20, 2010

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?


Aaron Morse, Class of 2006

Since graduating from Ballard in 2006, I've been attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. I'm a junior on the broadcast track in the Medill School of Journalism. Outside of class, I'm the co-sports director of 89.3 FM WNUR, the largest student radio station in the country. I am also a contributor to the Emmy winning television show "Sports Night" on the Northwestern News Network.

WNUR was basically the reason I went to Northwestern in the first place. Ever since I realized I couldn't be a major league baseball player, my goal has been to be a baseball broadcaster. The thing that attracted me to WNUR was that freshmen were eligible to do baseball play by play. WNUR does live play by play of every Northwestern football game, all home men's basketball games and select road games, all home and all conference women's basketball games, as well as baseball, softball, and lacrosse in the spring.

Last spring I was chosen as the new co-sports director along with my friend Andrew Gothelf. As sports directors, we are responsible for all broadcast assignments, maintaining relations with our corporate donors, and requesting credentials and ordering all necessary phone and ISDN lines for road broadcasts. One of our main focuses has been the upgrade of our web-site under Web Director Adam Pumm. We're very proud of the site now, as it's a destination for audio and feature stories about the Northwestern Wildcats, as well as a place where fans can listen to all broadcasts online. You can find us at http://sports.wnur.org.

One of the perks of being co-sports director is that we get to go to the biggest event of the year for NU: The Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. The Northwestern football team went 9-3 this year (I was on play by play for the Duke, Iowa, Purdue, and Michigan games, all of which were wins), and now they play Missouri in the Alamo Bowl. Road trips in general are really fun, because it's all paid for by either the Athletic Department or the station, but this is the road trip of road trips! We're looking to be the first WNUR crew to be on the call for a Wildcat victory in a bowl game. The last NU bowl victory was 1949, a year before WNUR existed.

When I'm not at Northwestern in the summer, I've been broadcasting baseball. After my freshman year, I went to Alaska and was the broadcaster and sports information director for the Fairbanks Fire of the Alaska Baseball League. The Fire won the league title on the last day of the season! It was their first title in franchise history. However, the Fire don't have that many resources, so that was a volunteer job. After taking last summer off after a brief stint in the Cape Cod League, I am going back to Alaska this summer, except this time I'm getting paid. The man who runs the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks heard my work from two years ago and recruited me back to the 49th state for another summer. The Goldpanners pay for everything and I get to work with a good friend of mine from the staff of WNUR.

Currently, I am taking TV News Producing, which is the most advanced broadcast class Medill has to offer. Guess what? We use incredibly similar cameras to the ones I used at BHS! The only difference is that these cameras are HD cameras and we don't use tapes. (We use P2 cards.) I'm already ahead in the class because I have a thorough understanding of how to use these cameras. Our first assignment in TV News Producing was to create a "sequence" of 15 shots. The basics of visual storytelling from my time in Ballard’s Video Production Program came right back to me and I completed the entire project in less than a day. I find the basics of how to make a video to be all review. What the Ballard High School video production program is offering students is excellent preparation for the broadcast classes at one of the premier universities in the country.

For those looking for a University that excels at both academics and athletics, Northwestern is the ideal place to go for school. Northwestern is the only school that boasts a top 15 US News and World Report ranking AND a top 25 football program. It's been an amazing experience so far, and the best is yet to come. I encourage all students to seriously look at NU as a possible destination for college.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

DON'T MISS "THE SHOWING" PREMIERE

Everyone is invited to a screening of new work by students in the Ballard High School Video Production Program. “The Showing” will be Thursday, January 28 at 7 p.m. in the Ballard High School auditorium. Included will be news features, advertisements, and short comedies and dramas. Admission is free, but there is a suggested $5.00 donation. Be sure to arrive early. Prior screenings have filled the auditorium and people have been turned away.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?


Brendan McCarthy, Class of 2004

I enrolled in the Ballard Video Production Program immediately upon hearing of its existence, my junior year. Over the course of two years in the program I met cherished friends (some of whom have become colleagues), received an unparalleled public school education in film, and made of number of award winning films of which I am still proud (Eight, The Devoted, Moons Over My Hammy).

After graduating from Ballard, based largely on the strength of my film Eight, I was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts film program at New York University. The school loomed large over my ego; I was terrified of its pedigree, its staff, and my fellow students. However, during my first semester I entered Eight in the How We Got Here festival, a showcase of Freshman work produced in high school. When it won, I was off and running. Early on I met my best friend and writing partner, Erich Sutterlin, with whom I continue to have a fruitful partnership. Largely due to our thin wallets, we turned to writing, paper and ink being a lot cheaper than cameras and film. We won a script writing contest at the end of our Freshman year, an exciting accomplishment. We became hired guns, writing scripts for upperclassmen and graduate students willing to spend ludicrous sums of money on their productions. It was a magical three and a half years. I knew where I was going, I felt successful, and I was a young man in New York. Then...I graduated.

After a short stint writing commercials in New York (yuck!) I moved to Los Angeles (double yuck!) where I worked briefly writing for a production company that works in reality television (kill me). The Los Angeles experiment, though, was not a total waste. Erich and I met our manager there, an incredibly talented and energetic former partner at ROAR. We still work with him and share representation. I also sold some stage work to a small theater company in New York and got to go back for a short period of time to work things out. I realized I had to return to New York for good. After trying for many months to land a decent gig, I heard back from a producer friend of mine that I have a position on Boardwalk Empire, a Martin Scorsese production for HBO.