Four Ballard High School student filmmakers have won Cinematic Arts awards from the National YoungArts Foundation – tying the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) for the most winners from a single school.
Ballard Digital Filmmaking Program teacher Matt Lawrence says Ballard students have been winning the prestigious national award for years, but four winners is the highest number ever. The accomplishment is particularly exciting because Ballard is competing nationally with the likes of LACHSA, which draws students from all over the LA metro area in competitive enrollment.
“They have a staff of seven just for their Cinematic Arts program,” Lawrence says. “It's flattering to match a program like that.”
While Lawrence’s program has not grown in size in recent years, its reputation has grown. For example, this is the 11th year in a row that students from Ballard’s Digital Filmmaking Program have been honored by Fresh Film Northwest. Two short films by Ballard students recently won honors at the competitive regional teen festival coordinated by the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon.
“As you’re around longer, people become more aware of the quality, and when that happens, then more students who are serious line up,” Lawrence says.
The National YoungArts Foundation identifies talent in the areas of music, theater, visual arts, photography, writing and cinematic arts. This year, portfolio submissions from over 12,000 young artists nationwide – the most competitive year ever – were evaluated through blind adjudication by a renowned panel of judges, master teachers and artists.
Ballard’s winning film students are Coleman Andersen, Leo Pfeifer, Sho Schrock-Manabe and Meagen Tajalle. YoungArts winners receive cash awards, validation by renowned mentors, and opportunities to participate in YoungArts programs in Los Angeles, Miami and New York.
- Coleman Andersen (’15, pictured above) achieved the highest possible YoungArts ranking – that of Finalist. He had entered his dramatic short "Stolen," (click to view -- please note that this film includes a weapon and a vulgar term) which he produced with Leo Pfeifer during his senior year at Ballard. The short previously won Best Drama prizes at Chicago- and New York-based film festivals, as well as recognition at the Northwest Emmy Awards last spring. Coleman is a freshman in the film program at New York University.
- Leo Pfeifer, a Ballard senior, is a YoungArts Merit Winner for his documentary “Clipped Wings” (click to view), produced with Coleman Andersen and Duncan Gowdy. This examination of the ban on gays by the Boy Scouts of America has also earned awards at national and regional festivals and competitions. Leo plans to study filmmaking in college next year.
- Sho Schrock-Manabe (’15) is a YoungArts Merit Winner for his music video “Hologram” (click to view), produced during his senior year at Ballard with Miles Andersen, Emily Black, Sophie DeGreen and Jesse Romero. The narrative music video contrasts the challenges of art and life. It recently won Best of Show at a Cleveland competition. Sho is currently a freshman in the Creative Producing program at Chapman University.
- Meagen Tajalle, a senior at Ballard, is a YoungArts Merit Winner for her documentary “Raven Rock” (click to view), produced with Rachel Cole and Jaya Flanary. The film, examining a treatment program that pairs survivors of childhood abuse with rescued horses for mutual healing, has also earned awards at national and regional competitions. Meagen plans to study filmmaking in college.
More Ballard student productions can be seen on the BHS Digital Filmmaking Program’s Vimeo page.