Friday, April 17, 2015

NFFTY to Feature Shorts by Ballard High School Filmmakers

Three short films by students in the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program have been named Official Selections of the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY). This competitive festival showcases outstanding work by filmmakers age 24 and younger. NFFTY is a rare opportunity for high school students to share the spotlight with college students from our nation’s best undergraduate and graduate film schools. This year NFFTY will feature 248 films from 30 states and 25 countries. Screeners made the selections from a pool of nearly 1,000 entries. NFFTY opens at the Seattle Cinerama Theater on Thursday, April 23 and continues through Sunday, April 26 at the Seattle Center.

These short films by Ballard High School film students have been selected for screening.

Air Pressure by Coleman Andersen, Leo Pfeifer & Josh Vredevoogd

Clipped Wings by Coleman Andersen, Duncan Gowdy & Leo Pfeifer

Stolen by Coleman Andersen & Leo Pfeifer

BHS also has a team competing in the 48-hour Film Off. Teams from 10 high schools have two days to produce a short from start to finish. The winner (selected in part by the audience) will win funds for their school’s production program. Ballard’s team consists of Lyric Gonzalez, Bergen Johnson, Leo Pfeifer, Stephanie Shao and Meagen Tajalle. You can catch the 48-Hour Film Off – and cast your vote - on Saturday, April 25 at 1:30 pm at the Uptown 1 Theater.

In addition to screenings and awards, NFFTY includes forums on filmmaking. For a complete schedule of events, show times, and ticket information, visit

NFFTY itself is the brainchild of Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking 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.) The festival was co-founded by Harris, Kyle Seago (’07) – a Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking student at the time - and Jocelyn RC (Bellevue High School, ’07). A growing list of sponsors and partners paved the way for this ninth annual event.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


The National YoungArts Foundation has awarded Coleman Andersen an Honorable Mention in Cinematic Arts in recognition of the “exceptional artistic achievement” evident in his work. The YoungArts program identifies and supports young talent in the areas of music, theater, visual arts, photography, writing, and cinematic arts (motion picture). Coleman’s production was selected for honors from more than 11,000 submissions nationwide through a blind adjudication process by a nationally and internationally renowned panel of judges, master teachers, and artists.

A third year student in Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program, Coleman is no stranger to recognition. His short film Air Pressure, created with classmates Leo Pfeifer and Josh Vredevoogd, has already won awards at the Northwest High School Film Festival, Fresh Film Northwest, the Dominique Dunne Film Competition, and the Northwest Regional Emmy Awards. The short concerns a catastrophe at the World Balloon Animal Championships. His documentary Clipped Wings, created with classmates Duncan Gowdy and Leo Pfeifer, has also been a success at festivals and on YouTube, were it has received over 195,000 views. It explores the ban on gays in the Boy Scouts of America.

A senior at BHS, Coleman has gained admission to some of the most competitive and prestigious college programs for film and television production in the country. Next fall he’ll be studying filmmaking at New York University.

This is the second year in a row that a student from Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program has been awarded by the YoungArts Foundation.

Sunday, March 01, 2015


Lily Bennett (Class of 2012)

We live in a competitive culture, school is a competitive environment, and film is a competitive field. By the time I was a junior in high school, I already had a clear idea of how to pursue my goals, but I thought my chances of getting into a film school were slim at best. The path from high school to university appeared to be strict and concrete: must needed all-round outstanding academic and extra-curricular achievements. But by the time I was a junior in high school, I'd not been able to tick off all those boxes. However, I had been able to tick off a few boxes of my own: a strong film portfolio containing official selections at regional, national, and international film festivals, and awards of excellence. I was worried, though. I thought "how much does a college really care about what I've done in a high school film program?"

In 2013 I was accepted into the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). AFTRS is the most rigorous film school in Australia. The schools application process judged on merit, meaning that a panel sat down and evaluated my work. Thanks to the portfolio of narrative shorts, documentaries, music videos, and PSAs that I had created over my four years in Lawrence's classes (as well as an Australian citizenship) I was able to get into my dream school! On my first day of class I realized I had some of the most experience among my classmates with story, camera, lights, and on-set safety. Now, just over a year later, I've worked on countless student productions, Production Assisted on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and was a Costume Assistant on the feature film Mad Max Fury Road. This goes to show that one great opportunity leads to the next, and the Ballard Digital Filmmaking Program is the first great opportunity. The work you produce in these classes will be valuable to you in the years ahead. I am so grateful to have been a part of such a program. It opened the doors to my greatest career goals.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

BHS Films to be Featured at International Festival

Two films by students from the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program will be screened at the Seattle Children’s Film Festival this weekend. This year, the festival will screen 175 films from 58 different countries. Most of the films were produced by professionals, but all the films are aimed at children and their families. The festival will screen at Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum through February 7.

The two Ballard films will be among 19 by young filmmakers to be featured in the Super Shenanigans: Films by Youth screening this Sunday, January 25 at 7 pm. Great Mime’s Think Alike (by Will Slater, Michael Vitz-Wong & Kiana Wyld) explores a turf war between two competing mimes. Air Pressure (by Coleman Anderson, Leo Pfeifer & Josh Vredevoogd) concerns a disaster at the World Championship Balloon Animal Competition. Both films have previously been honored by a variety of regional and national festivals.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit .

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Everyone is invited to a screening of new work by students in the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program. The Ballard Film Festival (BFF) will be on Saturday, February 7 and Friday, February 20 at 7 pm in the Ballard High School auditorium. The screening will feature short comedies and dramas, advertisements, news features, and documentaries. Tickets ($10 for adults and $5 for students) will be sold at the door. Films that first screen at the BFF routinely take honors at prestigious national and international film festivals and the Northwest Regional Emmy Awards.

Funds raised will benefit students in the Digital Filmmaking Program. Students in the program regularly travel to Los Angeles to tour college schools of film and television, visit program alumni enrolled in these colleges or working in the industry, and meet with film and television professionals. Students have visited Jason Cahill (Writers Guild of America Award winner for The Sopranos) to discuss screenwriting, and Visual Effects Supervisor Bill Powloski (Breaking Bad) to discuss special effects. Ticket sales and donations will make these trips possible for all accepted students and also provide additional production equipment.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Three 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, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Only 10 films were winners at this year’s festival. This is the tenth year in a row that students from Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program have been winners at the event.

The winning films include a visual story and two documentaries. The visual story Air Pressure, by Coleman Andersen, Leo Pfeifer & Josh Vredevoogd, is about a disaster at the World Balloon Animal Championship. The film has already been a winner in the Dominique Dunne Film Competition and been featured at the Chicago International Film Festival, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the Northwest High School Film Festival. Clipped Wings, by Coleman Andersen, Duncan Gowdy & Leo Pfeifer, made its festival premiere at the Northwest Film Forum’s regional festival last month. The short documentary explores the impact of the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on Gays. (Clipped Wings has received over 100,000 views online. Check it out at .) The festival jury also honored Clipped Wings with a Heart Award for “authenticity, originality, and humane treatment of a subject.” The other winning documentary is Raven Rock by Rachel Cole, Jaya Flanary & Meagen Tajalle. It concerns a treatment program that pairs survivors of childhood abuse with abused horses for mutual healing.

The Northwest Film Center also recognized Audio Input - a documentary about the Seattle podcasting scene by Duncan Boszko, Jack O’Neal, Piper Phillips & Sho Schrock – with an Honorable Mention. The festival selected only 5 films for this honor.

A jury of filmmakers and educators screened 80 entries from across the five state region to select winners for the festival. The festival seeks to celebrate “originality, freshness, authenticity, and conviction” in the voices of young filmmakers. The program will be screened and prizes awarded at the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium on Saturday, November 8 at 1 pm. Filmmakers, film lovers, and families are welcome to attend. To see new work by BHS filmmakers, attend the Ballard Film Festival on Saturday, February 7 or Friday, February 20 at 7 pm in the BHS auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults or $8 for students. All proceeds support students in the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Three students in Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program will have their film featured at the Northwest Film Forum’s Local Sightings Film Festival. This festival is local in a regional sense, as it programs the best works by filmmakers from Oregon to Alaska. Clipped Wings, by Coleman Andersen, Duncan Gowdy and Leo Pfeifer is a short documentary that explores the impact of the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on Gays.

Clipped Wings will screen before Mind Zone – a documentary feature by Portland director Jan Haaken about therapists working in the 113th Army Combat Stress Control detachment. Their mission is contradictory: to protect soldiers from battle fatigue, and to keep these same soldiers in battle.

Clipped Wings and Mind Zone will screen this Sunday, September 28 at 7 pm. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit .