Skip To ContentSkip To Content

    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 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

    Awards & Honors List pdf icon 

    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 was Fri, May 12 | Deadline for Grade 9 was Fri, March 24


    Breaking News & Program Highlights!

    IMAX and UN Environment Release Documentary by BHS Film Students | June 2017

    On the Backs of Salmon, one of two documentaries produced by students in Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program for IMAX, premiered on June 5 on IMAX’s and UN Environment’s websites. The premiere was timed to coincide with the United Nations’ World Environment Day – the largest annual event for global actions to protect the environment. “We are so proud of the work created by these budding filmmakers, which shines a light on important environmental issues as well as their own creative abilities,” said IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond.  The project is the result of a partnership between IMAX In Focus (a component of IMAX Big Picture, their social responsibility effort) and United Nations’ Environment. Ballard’s DFP was one of only five “exemplary” high school film programs across the nation chosen by IMAX and the All American High School Film Festival (AAHSFF) in New York City to produce environmental documentaries. “We identified programs that… consistently submitted quality work,” said Tom Oliva, AAHSFF Executive Director. IMAX awarded $5,000 to each program. “The In Focus program aligns seamlessly with what we strive to achieve” Oliva said, “cultivating young filmmakers and recognizing their talented work.”

    “The release of these documentaries on World Environment Day is a fitting testament to the importance of empowering our youth to use their voices to drive change for a better tomorrow,” said UN Environment Chief Erik Solheim. “We support IMAX’s commitment to helping young filmmakers share these stories with a larger audience, hopefully resulting in changes that create a healthier environment.”   Don't miss the King-5 news interview of "Ballard High School Students Create Documentary".


    BALLARD FILMS FEATURED AT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVALS | May 2017

    (Photo info: NFFTY Audience Award winners Mo Brown, Sorcha Marron, Claire Elliott, and Krystelle Kurz) Transformative, by Mo Brown, Claire Elliott, Krystelle Kurz and Sorcha Marron, recently won the Audience Award at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) in the Come As You Are showcase. (The award was particularly flattering as they were the youngest filmmakers in competition.) In addition, two more international film festivals have chosen to feature work by students in the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program this spring.  Transformative, a short documentary about the experience of a transgender teen and our current political climate, was also an Official Selection at CineYouth early this month. This 13th annual event is a project of the Chicago International Film Festival. The showcase celebrates short films made by filmmakers 22 years old and younger from around the world. Heart of Gold, by Miles Andersen, Josh Gaynor-Cote, Willow Hudson and Jesse Romero, will screen in the Seattle International Film Festival’s FutureWave showcase ( www.siff.net/festival/film-programs-and-competitions/futurewave ) on Monday, May 29 at the Uptown Theater at 1:30 pm. This screening strives to show the best short films in the world by youth 18 years old and younger. 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. To purchase tickets, visit www.siff.net/festival/box-office New works by students in the Digital Filmmaking Program are screened at the Ballard Film Festival.


    BHS Filmmakers Win Big at the Emmy Awards | May/June 2017

    Students in the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program won five High School Awards ofNW Emmy Award Winners Excellence at the Northwest Emmy Awards on June 3. Best Long Form Non-Fiction film went to 9066, a documentary about the internment of US citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII by Maya Konz, Bailey Wall, Kajsa Woolford & Nolan Baker. Best Short Form Fiction film, best Writer, best Photographer/Editor and best Audio/Sound went to Comeback by Skala Leake, Aaron Miller, Cameron Miller & Avery Davis. Comeback is the story of a soccer player coping with a life-altering setback. Both films are online at vimeo.com/bhsfilmprogram

    The Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) presents High School Awards of Excellence to celebrate and promote the most outstanding high school television productions from five Northwest states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Members of the professional Academy select the nominees and winners. This is the third year in a row Ballard High School film students have led the pack of winners.


    NEWS RELEASE NOMINATIONS! Academy Nominates Ballard High School Filmmakers | May 2017
     
    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 the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program earned seventeen nominations, more than twice the number of any other school or organization in the five-state region. The winners will be announced on June 3 at the 54th Annual Northwest Emmy Awards. Ballard’s nominations span seven categories, reflecting the diverse skills students learn in the program. These are the nominations by category. Some of the productions can be screened on the DFP vimeo site at the links included below.

    Best Short Form Fiction:

    Comeback by Skala Leake, Avery Davis, Aaron Miller & Cameron Miller | vimeo.com/190952853

    Missing Sister by Veronica Redpath, Miles Andersen & Willow Hudson

    Best Short Form Non-Fiction:

    Living Honestly by PJ Hase & Skala Leake | vimeo.com/180127569

    Transformative by Krystelle Kurz, Mo Brown, Claire Elliott & Sorcha Marron | vimeo.com/178537633

    Best Long Form Non-Fiction:

    9066 by Maya Konz, Nolan Baker, Bailey Wall & Kajsa Woolford | vimeo.com/190324486

    Heart of Gold by Miles Andersen, Josh-Gaynor Cote, Willow Hudson & Jesse Romero | vimeo.com/207728173

    Still a Winner by Veronica Redpath, Elliott Atkinson, Jonathan Bowers & Robyn Wrey

    Best Public Service Announcement:

    CIDR, Disease Fighter by Maddie Lausted, Elliott Russell & Karla Torres

    Best Audio/Sound

    Comeback by Skala Leake, Avery Davis, Aaron Miller & Cameron Miller | vimeo.com/190952853

    Transformative by Krystelle Kurz, Mo Brown, Claire Elliott & Sorcha Marron | vimeo.com/178537633

    Best Photographer/Editor:

    Frozen in Debt by Cecilia O’Rollins, Annabelle Bowman-Mohn, Bergen Johnson & Miles Whitworth

    Comeback by Skala Leake, Avery Davis, Aaron Miller & Cameron Miller | vimeo.com/190952853

    Heart of Gold by Miles Andersen, Josh-Gaynor Cote, Willow Hudson & Jesse Romero | vimeo.com/207728173

    Best Writer:

    Comeback by Skala Leake, Avery Davis, Aaron Miller & Cameron Miller | vimeo.com/190952853

    Dented Dream by Nicholas Fay, Arturo Rodriguez & Robbie Wilbur

    Heart of Gold by Miles Andersen, Josh-Gaynor Cote, Willow Hudson & Jesse Romero | vimeo.com/207728173

    Still a Winner by Veronica Redpath, Elliott Atkinson, Jonathan Bowers & Robyn Wrey

    This makes the eleventh year in a row that Ballard High School film students have been nominated by the Academy. Last year they received 13 nominations.


    April 2017 | 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 bhsvideo.blogspot.com or 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  | 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 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 | 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 


    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 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.


    Ballard Film Students Win National Awards from Academy | October 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 AWARDS NEWS


    BHS Filmmakers Win Big at the Emmy Awards | June 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. 


    Ballard Film Students Win Best Music Video at International Festival | May 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


    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.