Variety hallmark of student film fest

SEQUIM — Short snapshots of teen-generated comedy and drama will light the screen Friday night in the Student Film Festival at the Sequim High School Performing Arts Center, 601 N. Sequim Ave.

In the 7 p.m. competition, which traditionally features a spaghetti dinner beforehand, some $6,750 in scholarship awards will be presented to the young filmmakers.

In addition, audience voting will determine which production team wins the “Elkie” Award, which is a trophy to be displayed at the students’ school.

The films, from youngsters in sixth through 12th grades, can be just about any type, said festival organizer Elna Kawal.

“It can be dramatic, comedy, narrative, a documentary or a commercial,” she said, adding that the only requirement is that the film be suitable for viewing “by your mother and your sister.”

Films can be no longer than seven minutes.

Friday night festival-goers are in for a variety of topics.

Films to be shown are:

■ “The Predator’s Prey” by sophomores Brendon Hudson, Aran Burke and Dorian Halverson.

■ “No Title” by Megan McAndie and Danyelle Wilson, both freshmen; and Amy McAndie, senior.

■ “Sick Day” by Jack McColl and Ryan Tucker, both seniors; and Ted McColl, junior.

■ “Ranger” by Pablo Van Renterghem, eighth-grader.

■ “Outsiders” by Torrie McIntyre and Carson Lewis, both sophomores; Jacob Lewis, eighth-grader; and Skyler Lewis, junior.

■ “Over the Fence — Outside the Law” by seniors Michael Cullinan, Ravi Carlson and Dalton Ackley.

■ “JCL Salmon Recovery Project” by Cameron Bluthenthal, eighth-grader, and Kelley Bluthenthal, sixth-grader.

■ “Storm Weathered” by seniors Margaret Norlund, Sarah Berkes and Joey Hall.

Last year’s winners included “The Summer Wind Came Killing In,” Michael Cullinan’s and Ravi Carlson’s spoof on wind energy; Brendon Hudson’s and Holly Hudson’s “Survivor: Banana Belt,” a movie set in Sequim and inspired by the “Survivor” reality television show; and “The Great Race,” a morality tale about two teens trying to beat each other to school to submit their films to the festival, by Luke, Jeb and Jenny Mooney.

Already this year, student film directors have shown resourcefulness, Kawal said.

Norlund, for instance, who wrote the screenplay for “Storm Weathered,” made the movie with fellow seniors Sarah Berkes and Joey Hall.

She spent hours after school editing and then learned she couldn’t use the music she’d chosen because of copyright issues.

Norlund and her team then worked out a deal with Sequim-bred songwriter Kory Nagler to use his tunes “A Cowboy’s Tale” and “Who You Are” and with the Port Angeles bluegrass group Abby Mae & the Homeschool Boys to use the band’s rendition of “I’ll Fly Away.”

But the work wasn’t over yet. Norlund struggled, on several computers, to finish editing “Storm” and finally had to buy an editing program.

“She has been one persistent person,” Kawal said.

Friday’s festival aims to cultivate perseverance and creativity — which can pay off with scholarships totaling $3,000 for the first-place team, $2,250 for second place and $1,500 for third.

The Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society also presents a $250 Environmental Award to the best ecologically themed film.

The sixth annual festival benefits the Sequim Education Foundation (, which raises money for scholarships and teacher grants in the Sequim School District.

Tickets to the whole Friday evening package — dinner and movies — are $15 for adults or $10 for students, while children younger than 3 eat for free.

Tickets are available at Pacific Mist Books, 121 W. Washington St.

Dinner is spaghetti, Caesar salad, garlic bread and dessert served by Sequim’s A Catered Affair from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Tickets to just the festival will be $5 at the door.

During the evening, T-shirts bearing the film festival poster designed by Sequim High School senior Sage Brown will be on sale for $12, a signed and framed poster will be auctioned, and a drawing will be held for a handmade quilt by Caity Karapostoles.

For more details about the festival, phone Kawal at 360-683-3027 or email


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at

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Matthew Nash/ Olympic Peninsula News Group

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