Tuesday, September 01, 2015


The Digital Filmmaking Program is part of the free public education at Ballard High School, and is open to BHS students of all grades.  Since its beginning in the fall of 2001, students in the program have won hundreds of awards at regional, national, and international film festivals.  Based on their portfolios they have won honors from the National YoungArts Foundation and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (at the National and Northwest Emmy Awards) and consistently gained admission to prestigious college programs of film and television, sometimes with large scholarships and advanced placement.  (Recent program graduates have attended the Australian Film, Television & Radio School, Chapman University, Columbia College of Chicago, Emerson College, Loyola Marymount University, New York University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Southern California – all college programs ranked by the Hollywood Reporter as among the best for film and television production in the world.)

Some of the students have even made history.  Jesse Harris (’04) wrote and directed a feature film for his senior project.  The day he graduated, he learned that the LA-based FilmMates wanted to purchase the film for theatrical release.  (It opened in Landmark Theaters the following April.)  This makes Jesse the youngest person ever to write and direct a feature film that received multi-state theatrical release.  In 2007, Kyle Seago (’07) and Jesse Harris (’04) co-founded the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY).  It has since become the largest youth film festival in the world.

The program provides professional production internships through a variety of media organizations and businesses, television shows, and feature films.  Numerous program alumni have gone on to careers in the industry: writing or producing series television programs in Los Angeles, producing music videos for major artists, directing feature films and commercials, working on the camera crew or art department of feature films, producing media for major corporations, or working as broadcast journalists.