Saturday, February 23, 2013


On Saturday, February 23, six Ballard High School video students won two of the top prizes at the 17th Annual Derek Freese Youth Media Film Festival at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The award for Best Documentary went to Deep Down by Isaiah Hoban-Halversen, Kaila Lafferty & Oona Lowe. As a fourteen-year-old Ballard High School student, Alessandro Gelmini was exploring an ice cave with a friend when it collapsed, burying both boys beneath piles of shattered ice and debris. Deep Down tells the story of his rescue and recovery through interviews with Gelmini, his mother, and an emergency response professional, as well as news footage and expressive use of light and sound.

Best Editing went to Great Mimes Think Alike, a comedic short by Will Slater, Michael Vitz-Wong & Kiana Wyld. The story (by Kiana Wyld) concerns a mime content to earn his living on Market Street until a rival mime stakes a claim nearby. The short uses visual storytelling techniques so well it’s easy to see what characters are thinking. In good mime tradition, nobody says a word.

Seven other works by students from the Ballard High School Video Production Program had also been nominated: three others for Best Documentary and two others for Best Editing, as well as two for Best Fiction. The festival invites competition from high school filmmakers throughout the nation and is judged by professors from Temple University’s renowned School of Film and Media Arts, acclaimed filmmakers, and members of the Derek Freese Foundation.