WEEKEND: Sequim students to show short films Friday at Elkies fest
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Joe Smillie/Peninsula Daily News
Sequim student filmmakers Tenille Tosland, Aaron Witherell, Megan McAndie, Sarah Hutchison and Nicholas D'Amico, from left, race for an Elkie, the award given out at the Sequim Education Foundation's annual film festival.

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

What movies are up for an award?
SEQUIM — Films for the Elkies are:
■ “The Beauty in Nature” –– Seventh-graders Caitlyn Seimer, Baily Cauffman and Morgana Fergusson explore the unfolding of spring in Sequim.
■ “The Banks of Iron Mountain” –– Seniors Megan McAndie and Michael Gufler and junior Tenille Tosland explore the history of the Tubal Cain Mine.
■ “Agent W: Bank Robbery” –– Brothers Damon Little, seventh grade, and Garrett Little, second grade, weave a Robin Hood tale about finding ways to do good after robbing a bank.
■ “You Are” –– In this documentary, senior Sarah Hutchison interviews her peers to explore human insecurities.
■ “Stand Up to Bullying” –– A collaboration by Olympic Peninsula Academy sixth-graders Brandon Hardwick, Emily Nielsen and Gianna Halo that delves into the problems of bullying among middle and high school students.
■ “Coral Bleaching” –– A study of an undersea disease that is bleaching coral off the coast of Australia and New Zealand, where senior Grace Koenigsaecker participated in a student exchange.
■ “Stalker in the House” –– What happens when you find ways to break into homes? Chloe Clemons, fifth grade, and Maddy and Jessica Dietzman, fifth and sixth grade, respectively, answer.
■ “Mistaken 2” –– A preview for an upcoming feature film about dealing with love and loss made by seniors Angela Bentley, Heidi Stallman and Maggie Christie.
■ “Instant Water” –– An infomercial spoof about the commidification of water made by the brothers Bluthenthal, tenth-grader Cameron and eighth-grader Kelly.
■ “My Backyard” –– Though he's traveled the world as a semi-pro wake boarder, extreme athlete and Sequim High senior Aaron Witherell explores the wilds of the North Olympic Peninsula in this film.
■ “Bigfoot Investigators” –– Looking behind trees, in the dark and under rocks, fifth-graders Kalli Wiker and Jaden Rego try to capture the mythical monster in their entry.
■ “I May be Crazy” –– Senior Lily Paulsen presents memories of her zany toddlerhood as told by family members.
■ “Be the Change” –– A collaboration of McAndie and sophomore Emily Webb that spotlights the school's Be the Change club, which aims to create positive changes to Sequim and the world.
■ “Operetta Club: Unscripted” –– An Operetta Club trip to a musical at Seattle's Fifth Avenue. Theater filmed by Danny Willis and Christie Honore.
■ “Mrs. Morrison's 1st Period Science” –– Sixth-grade sciences fanatic Nicholas D'Amico shares the experience of Mrs. Morrison's classroom at Sequim Middle School.
Peninsula Daily News
Tonight signifies Friday, April 18.

SEQUIM –– In fewer than six minutes per film, Sequim students present visions of journeys from the Olympic Mountain foothills to the Strait Juan de Fuca surf.

The Elkies, Sequim Education Foundation's ninth annual student film festival, will begin at 7 tonight in the Sequim High School auditorium, 601 N. Sequim Ave.

Suggested donation is $5.

This year's edition features the creations of 28 students who have collaborated to make 15 short films that will vie for scholarships and prizes.

Inside and out

The screen will include such pulse-racing thrill rides as senior Aaron Witherow's “My Backyard.”

A semi-professional wake boarder and snowboard fanatic, Witherow made a movie using clips recorded by a mini-movie camera strapped to his head to show how much he loves playing in the mountains and surf of the North Olympic Peninsula.

“It's a great place to play. I wanted to show how many great places there are to do that here,” Witherow said.

Another film puts the focus on the Peninsula's natural wonders.

For “The Banks of Iron Mountain,” Megan McAndie, Michael Gufler and Tenille Tosland spent two days and a night filming around the Tubal Cain Mine to document its history and stunning scenery.

“It's this whole lost history sort of place that not many people know about,” Tosland said.

“We wanted to show the mine and the plane wreck up there as well as how beautiful the place is.”

Sarah Hutchison went inside for her film “You Are.”

Her film includes interviews with more than 30 students who talk about the “mental heckler” that stops them from going after their dreams.

“I thought that everyone should be able to admit their fears,” Hutchison said.

“Because when you confront it, that's when you know it's wrong.”

Gala event

During the evening, T-shirts bearing the film festival poster designed by Sequim High sophomore Emily Webb will be on sale for $12, and a signed and framed poster will be auctioned.

Clips from winning films from festivals past will be shown.

Last year's winning film was “Paint the Town,” a movie made by Kyle Lee Gordeuk, Daniel Call, Luke Silliman, Stephen Silliman and Josh Finch inspired by the painting passion of their mentor, Luke Kisena.

Scholarship prizes

The maximum amount of scholarship prizes for first place is $3,000, with no team member receiving more than $1,000.

For second place, it is $2,250, with no one getting more than $750, and for third place $1,500, with no team member receiving more than $500.

In the eight years the foundation has held the Elkies, students have been awarded more than $45,000 in scholarships.

Scholarships are divided equally among members of winning video production teams.


Trophies will be given for best actor and actress, and the “people's choice” Elkie Award will go to the winning video chosen by the audience.

The Port Townsend Film Festival is awarding a full pass to the festival to one of the student filmmakers, and the Olympic Audubon Society will award $250 to the best environmental film.

Videos are judged on the basis of content, presentation and production techniques. Judges are Elaine Caldwell, Marine Jahan Hirschfeld, Bruce Hattendorf, Brandon Taft, Sue Ellen Riesau, Jessica Plumb, James Trekas and Ellen Frick.

Students Ben Heintz and Danny Willis will serve as masters of ceremonies with past Citizen of the Year Stephen Rosales and comedian Mike Piper.

All proceeds go to the foundation's scholarship fund.

For more information, visit the foundation's website at www.sequimeducationfoundation.org.


Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 17. 2014 7:28PM
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