Digital Filmmaking Pathway

Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program 

Digital Film photo

Since its beginning in the fall of 2001, students from the Ballard Digital Filmmaking 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 Northwest Emmy Awards) and consistently gained admission to prestigious college film and television programs, sometimes with large scholarships and advanced placement. (Recent graduates have gone on to 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.) They have also been invited to show their work and make presentations at the Seattle Art Museum, numerous film festivals, and conferences. The program has provided professional production internships through a variety of media organizations and businesses, television shows, and feature films. A Professional Advisory Committee supports the program.


How to Apply

The Digital Filmmaking Program is open to BHS students of all grades. Students planning to pursue degrees or careers in film/television production, broadcast journalism, art, advertising, media studies, or public relations should enroll no later than their sophomore year to begin to build a portfolio that meets college and industry application requirements. To enter the Program, an application pdf icon is required for the two semester class. Students successfully completing each year of the program are invited to apply for the next. The program is potentially four years, giving students the opportunity to build diverse portfolios. The classes are electives, fulfill either the Fine Art or the Occupational Education requirement, and result in a digital portfolio. Refer to the BHS Course Catalog pdf icon for more information.Digital Film photo


BHS Digital Filmmaking Program Information

BHS Digital Filmmaking Blog: bhsvideo.blogspot.com
DFP Films: vimeo.com/bhsfilmprogram

Contact: Matt Lawrence
Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking
206-252-1117 or mplawrence@seattleschools.org

Digital Filmmaking Program Application pdf icon
Deadline for Grade 8 is Fri, May 12
Deadline for Grade 9 was Fri, March 24


Breaking News!

NFFTY logo jpgApril 2016 | Two 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, international 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 films from 27 countries. NFFTY opens at the Seattle Cinerama Theater on Thurs, April 27 through Sun, April 30 at the Seattle Center.  

The Official Selections from Ballard are both documentaries. Transformative, by Maureen Brown, Claire Elliott, Krystelle Kurz and Sorcha Marron, examines the experience of a transgender teen and our current political climate. It will be shown in the Come as You Are screening at the Uptown Cinema 1 on Saturday, April 29 at 3:30. Transformative is the only selection in this screening not produced by college students. My Bike & Me, by Braiden Hayes, Bergen Johnson and Cameron Miller, follows resilient college freshman Duncan Bozko as he learns to ride a bike. It will be featured in the UpperLeftUSA screening at the Uptown Cinema 2 on Sunday, April 30 at 1 pm. Both screenings will have an Audience Award, so come and vote!


BHS also has a team competing in the 48-hour Film Off. Teams from various 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 Aven Fay, Ethan Hawthorne-Dallas, Krystelle Kurz, Jessica Lueck, and Wylie Soltes, You can catch the 48-Hour Film Off – and cast your vote - on Saturday, April 29 at 11 am at the Uptown Cinema 1.

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

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 tenth annual event. For more information on the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program, visit www.bhsvideo.blogspot.com or www.vimeo.com/bhsfilmprogram


Digital Film DDFC Winners photoMarch 2017 | Three shorts by twelve students in Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program have won honors at the Dominique Dunne Film Competition in Colorado Springs. The competition actively seeks and invites entries from schools with outstanding film programs throughout the United States and abroad. It has only two categories: Documentary and Dramatic Narrative. Each school is limited to only four entries.

Maya Konz, Nolan Baker, Bailey Wall and Kajsa Woolford won 1st Prize in the Documentary category for 9066 (https://vimeo.com/190324486), a film about the internment of citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Also recognized in Documentary was Heart of Gold (https://vimeo.com/207728173) by Miles Andersen, Josh Gaynor-Cote, Willow Hudson and Jesse Romero. It received an Honorable Mention. Heart of Gold follows a student through her final year of high school - a year complicated by a life-threatening medical condition, a stroke, and a heart transplant. In the Dramatic category, Avery Davis, Aaron Miller, Cameron Miller, and Skala Leake received an Honorable Mention for Comeback (https://vimeo.com/190952853), the story of a soccer player facing a serious setback.
    
The students will receive cash prizes for each honor, as well as written critiques from members of the competitions prestigious Advisory Board, including producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. (of The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Samuel Goldwyn Films), actor/director Griffin Dunne (An American Werewolf in London, After Hours) and producer/ director/actor Ed Sherin (Law & Order).
       
Students from Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program won three of the six honors given by the competition. The other schools winning honors were the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, and Perth Modern School in Australia. This is the fifth year in a row that students from Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program have been among the winners at the competition. For more info on the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program, visit bhsvideo.blogspot.com 


DON’T MISS NEW SHORTS FROM BALLARD’S AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKERS! - February 2016

Everyone is invited to a screening of new work by students in the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program. The Ballard Film Festival (BFF) 2017 was on Friday, February 10 at 7 pm in the Ballard High School auditorium. The screening featured short comedies and dramas, advertisements, and documentaries. Tickets ($10 for adults and $5 for students) were sold at the door.

Films that first screen at the BFF frequently win honors at prestigious national and international film festivals as well as awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. BHS film students hit the ground running this fall with 10 Official Selections in the national All American High School Film Festival, awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for Best Music Video and Best Editing, and winners at Fresh Film Northwest - including the documentary Living Honestly by PJ Hase and Skala Leake. This will have its Seattle premiere at the Ballard Film Festival.

Funds raised will benefit students in the Digital Filmmaking Program.  This year, Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program was one of 5 production programs from across the nation selected by the All American High School Film Festival in New York City to produce documentaries for IMAX. Big screen distribution sets a high bar for production values. Your support will put the right tools in the hands of students so they can complete these productions in style. For more information, visit www.bhsvideo.blogspot.com


BALLARD FILM STUDENT WINS HONORS FROM NATIONAL YOUNGARTS FOUNDATION - November 2016

Photo of Skala LeakeSkala Leake, a junior in Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program, has been awarded an Honorable Mention in Cinematic Arts by the National YoungArts Foundation for her short film Comeback. The award was given in recognition of the “exceptional artistic achievement” evident in her work. Honorable Mention is the second tier of honors awarded by YoungArts, above the Merit Award and second only to their top prize.

The YoungArts program identifies and supports young talent in the areas of music, theater, visual arts, photography, writing, and cinematic arts. Skala’s work was selected for honors from thousands of submissions through a blind adjudication process by a nationally and internationally renowned panel of judges, master teachers, and artists. She pitched Comeback to her filmmaking class last winter. It was selected for production, and she worked with classmates Avery Davis, Cameron Miller, and Aaron Miller to realize her story of a promising soccer player facing a life-altering setback. Since premiering at the Ballard Film Festival last June, Comeback had its national premiere at the All American High School Film Festival in New York City in early October, and was screened at the Portland Art Museum on November 12 as a winner in Fresh Film Northwest – a festival that receives competition from 5 Northwest states as well as the province of British Columbia. Comeback can now be seen online at vimeo.com/bhsfilmprogram . After high school, Skala plans to study media arts in college.

The award comes with a college recommendation from YoungArts, as well as an invitation for Skala to participate in the YoungArts regional programs. Previous YoungArts winners in the Digital Filmmaking Program have gone on to top-ranked college programs for film and television and successful careers in the film industry. For more information on the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program, visit bhsvideo.blogspot.com


BALLARD FILMMAKERS WIN AT NORTHWEST FESTIVAL - November 2016

BHS Digital Filmmakers jpgThree short films by students from the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program were winners at Fresh Film Northwest.  

This competitive regional festival is coordinated by the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon. Entries accepted from filmmakers ages 13 to 19 in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon & Washington.  Twelve years in a row now that students from Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program have been among the winners. 

The winning films included Comeback, by Avery Davis, Skala Leake, Aaron Miller and Cameron Miller – the story of a high school soccer player who suffers a life-altering setback.  The film recently premiered at the national All American High School Film Festival in New York City.  Fresh Film Northwest was the premiere of Living Honestly, a documentary about teens coming out by PJ Hase and Skala Leake. The third film, Eileen, was produced independently by Brendan Hickey with Sam Cleary and received the Creative Expression Award.


National Festival Selects Ballard's Digital Filmmaking Program To Produce Documentaries For IMAX! - October 7, 2016

Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program was one of five “exemplary” programs chosen by the All American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF) to receive a $5,000 “In Focus” grant from IMAX. The All American High School Film Festival is the largest high school film festival in the nation, drawing competition from all across the country. The announcement was made Friday, October 7th, during the festival’s Opening Night ceremonies in New York City.

"We selected programs that produced quality content in the voice of young people that's raw and meaningful to their peers. We have a library of content of about 5,000 films and identified programs that consistently submitted quality work" said Tom Oliva, Executive Director of the AAHSFF. "We also looked at schools that we have relationships with, and that we count on to mentor the students to produce the best films possible." 

The five selected student film programs will create short films that raise awareness of the UN's 2030 sustainability agenda, creating original content to specifically address at least one of the UN's development goals. 

For info on the AAHSFF, visit hsfilmfest.com. For details on the "In Focus" grant from IMAX READ MORE


Ballard Film Students Win National Awards from Academy - October 4, 2016

When the envelopes were opened at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Oct. 4, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced two films by students in Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program as winners of National Student Production Awards. The films were judged by members of the Academy, as well as college media professors.

Winning the prize for best Music Video was Today, by Coleman Andersen, PJ Hase & Bergen Johnson. The prize for best Editing went to Miles Andersen, Emily Black, Sophie DeGreen, Jesse Romero & Sho Schrock for their work on Hologram. Both films can be viewed on the Digital Filmmaking Program’s vimeo page at vimeo.com/bhsfilmprogram.  READ MORE


BHS Filmmakers Win Big at the Emmy Awards - June 4, 2016

Students in the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program won four High School Awards of Excellence at the Northwest Emmy Awards on June 4. Jonny Cechony, Ellie Clarrissimeaux, and PJ Hase won the Short Form Fiction award for their film The Dragon's Lair. The Public Service Announcement award went to Elliott Atkinson, Cyrus Ogle and Bailey Wall for Protect Your Hearing. The students had produced this project for Seattle’s Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center. The Music Video prize went to Coleman Andersen, PJ Hase and Bergen Johnson for Today, and Best Photographer/Editor went to Miles Andersen, Emily Black, Sophie DeGreen, Jesse Romero and Sho Schrock for Hologram. Students from the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program led the pack of winners, winning every category in which they had been nominated. (They had received 13 nominations.)  This is the tenth year in a row that Ballard students have been winners at the event, and the fifth straight year they have won the award for Photographer/Editor.  READ MORE


Ballard Film Students Win Best Music Video at International Festival - May 7, 2016

Big Coat, a music video by Jaya Flanary, Duncan Gowdy and Leo Pfeifer, won Best Music Video in the junior division at the CineYouth Awards on Saturday night, May 7, at Columbia College Chicago. CineYouth is a project of the Chicago International Film Festival. This annual film showcase celebrates shorts by filmmakers 22 and younger from around the world. As winner of the prize for Best Music Video, Big Coat will be screened in the CineYouth “Best of the Fest” at the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival next October. Big Coat can be screened online at www.vimeo.com/bhsfilmprogram. For more information on the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program, visit www.vimeo.com/bhsfilmprogram.


Ballard Films to Screen At International Festival - May 2016

Two productions by nine students in the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program have been chosen for screening this weekend at CineYouth – the Chicago International Film Festival’s showcase for shorts by filmmakers 22 and younger from around the world.  Both are music videos. Voices (by Jonathan Bowers, Aurore Bouriot, Brian Cropp, and Jake Rehfeldt) depicts a high school student hemmed in on all sides by conformity. Big Coat (by Jaya Flanary, Duncan Gowdy, and Leo Pfeifer) charts the changes brought about by the presence – and absence – of romance. Both films will be screened at the 12th annual event in Chicago, May 5 – 7. READ MORE


Academy Nominates Ballard High School Filmmakers - May 2016

The Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) has announced nominees for the Northwest High School Awards of Excellence.  These awards celebrate the most outstanding productions from five Northwest states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Productions are nominated by NATAS industry professionals. Students from Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program earned thirteen nominations, more than twice the number of any other school or organization in the five-state region. The winners will be announced on June 4th at the 53rd Annual Northwest Emmy Awards. READ MORE


NFFTY To Feature Shorts by BHS Filmmakers - April 2016

Five short films by sixteen 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, international 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 227 films from 24 countries and 33 states. NFFTY opens at the Seattle Cinerama Theater on Thursday, April 28 and continues through Sunday, May 1 at the Seattle Center. READ MORE

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