Local Sightings Film Festival kicks off tonight with Sprawl to Action, a short film showcase capturing moments of change in Seattle, followed by Northwest Film Forum’s 20 year anniversary party/costume party! Get your tickets here and check out the festival’s lineup here!
Thielke starred as Vern Fonk for the past 24 years, becoming a local television icon and a beloved celebrity in the Seattle area and beyond.
His presence in the community and on television will be greatly missed. Look for a tribute to Thielke in the upcoming issue of Media Inc.
Anny Havland of Talk It Up TV beat out some big names to win a coveted Best of Western Washington award for Best TV personality. Not only does Havland have her own web TV show, but she also has a full-service production company based in Seattle (www.talkitupproductions.com). Watch the story below to find out more about Havland’s story.
Portland filmmaker David Poulshock and his production company Red Door Films were recently awarded an astounding nine Telly Awards for TV commercials and web videos they produced on behalf of clients Spirit Mountain Casino and Goodwill Industries of the Columbia-Willamette.
“It’s a real honor,” said Poulshock, “especially for the recognition it gives the wonderful talent and stellar production crews who worked on these projects.” According to Poulshock, the overall production included six :30 spots for Spirit Mountain Casino, and five :30 spots and four 3-minute web documentaries for Goodwill.
Shot back-to-back over two weeks, the two projects couldn’t have been more different. “For Spirit Mountain’s Dare To Have Fun campaign, it was comparing crazy scary carnival rides and bungee jumps to the real fun to be found at the casino,” Poulshock said. “For Goodwill, it was telling heartfelt and inspiring stories about real people making the best out of their lives with Goodwill’s help.”
According to Dave Roberts, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette’s Sr. Marketing Services Manager, “We have such compelling stories to tell about the real people Goodwill helps, David Poulshock was the ideal choice as writer and director. He’s a great collaborator, and has an uncanny ability to connect with his subjects and get their real feelings onto the screen.”
Spirit Mountain had a completely different kind of story to tell. “We wanted a unique campaign that showcases all the fun and experience Spirit Mountain Casino has to offer,” said Angela LaBarbera, Advertising Manager. “Red Door did a stellar job. The spots really grab your attention. They’re fun, exciting and thrilling — just like the Casino!”
Of three entries for Spirit Mountain Casino, the TV spot Roller won a Bronze Telly. Of 11 entries, the eight Goodwill Telly Awards include: What Goes Around — TV:30 — Silver; Stacey’s Story — Webisode — Silver; Graciela’s Story — Webisode — Bronze; Pete — TV:30 — Bronze; Abby — TV:30 — Bronze; Abby’s Story — Webisode —Bronze; Graciela’s Story — Webisode — Bronze; Mission Campaign — TV:30 series — Bronze.
More winners and contenders can be seen at Red Door’s Vimeo Reel.
“Of course, winning all these Tellys feels good,” said Poulshock, “but more important, it was just a blast working with Spirit Mountain to create so much fun, and a joy working with Goodwill to tell stories that resonate with so much heart.”
While there are too many to list here, the combined production teams involved over 30 of Portland’s finest crew members. Directors of Photography were Mark Petersen (Goodwill) and Reed Harkness (Spirit Mountain). Locations included Portland, Bend, Mt. Hood Adventure Park, Tree-To-Tree Adventure Park and Oaks Park. Cameras provided by Koerner Camera Systems. Grip/Electric: Sasquatch. Sound: Runaway Trains. VTR:Cascade Video Systems. Insurance: Gales Creek. Editors were Nancy Anderson of Bingo Lewis and David Poulshock of Red Door Films. Color correction by Bingo Lewis’ Rob Anderson. Sound design and sweetening by Richard Moore and Randy Johnson of Tag Team Audio. And original music by Cal Scott. VO on Spirit Mountain, October Moore. VO on What Goes Around, David Poulshock
Founded in 1979, the Telly Award is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials, video and film productions, and web commercials, videos and films. The highly respected competition receives over 12,000 entries annually from 50 states and many foreign countries. “The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best,” said Linda Day, Executive Director of the Telly Awards. Red Door Film’s accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill and dedication to their craft.”
For more information, please visit davidpoulshock.com or contact David Poulshock at email@example.com.
Seattle-Area High School Boasts Award-Winning Filmmaking Program
Since its inception in 2001, the Digital Filmmaking Program at Ballard High School in Seattle has not only provided students with an opportunity to learn the various aspects of film production, but it has propelled many into prestigious filmmaking programs around the country and into stellar careers in the industry.
Indeed, recent graduates of the program are studying at NYU and USC, among other top film schools, while others are currently writing television series, directing commercials and producing documentaries.
One major success story from the program is that of alums Kyle Seago (’07) and Jesse Harris (’04), who co-founded the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), which has since become the largest youth film festival in the world. Another is that of Louis Weissman (’12), who, after a successful summer internship in Los Angeles, got an opportunity while still in high school to join an L.A.-based crew on the set of the feature film Bounty Killer. With sufficient credits under his belt, Weissman was able to graduate early and join the camera crew in the spring of 2012, before heading for Emerson College in Boston that fall.
Matt Lawrence, who runs the program at Ballard High and has been involved since the beginning, couldn’t be more proud of his students and the film program’s success over the past decade and a half. And many BHS alumni reciprocate their gratitude to Lawrence by keeping in touch and remaining assets to the program.
“Many college programs have active alumni networks, but I was pleasantly surprised when one began to develop around this high school program,” said Lawrence. “Former students advise me on curricula and emerging technology. They provide current students with college and career advice, internship opportunities and mentoring. The Digital Filmmaking Program is very fortunate to have this level of support from our alumni!”
Another major coup for the program is the sheer number of awards and accolades that students and their films have earned over the years.
“Since the program started in 2001, students have won over 500 awards and honors from film festivals, professional organizations and arts organizations,” said Lawrence. These include awards at regional, state, national and international film festivals, as well as honors from the National YoungArts Foundation and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (at the NW Regional Emmy Awards).
Most recently, students from BHS swept both Documentary awards at the 2015 Dominique Dunne Film Competition and earned the FutureWave Jury Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival’s Golden Space Needle Awards.
“It’s tremendously validating, for me and my students, when their productions are awarded by festivals, professional organizations and national arts organizations,” said Lawrence. “We’re very proud of the track record we’ve established.”
“Motion picture production is a synthesis of art forms, so students learn diverse arts in the program—as well as powerful tools,” explained Lawrence. “In general, they learn to critically analyze and produce a variety of motion picture productions, including ads and PSAs, dramatic narratives, news features, documentaries and music videos. Story is a critical component to many media productions, so we pay special attention to story structure and development. Because motion picture is a visual medium, students learn strategies to show their stories through images, rather than relying on dialogue alone.”
But tech and tools aside, Lawrence enjoys the human aspect of his job most: “There’s nothing more rewarding than helping young people discover and develop their talents.”
For more information and to view students’ work, visit the DFP blog at www.bhsvideo.blogspot.com and the DFP vimeo channel at www.vimeo.com/bhsfilmprogram. To contact Matt Lawrence, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Blake Laitner
First off, let me say, “Movie magic is real.” I’m living proof of it. My story came flying off my script pages and into an indie film.
It all started one day, when I met fellow student filmmaker, Hakym. I presented him with my idea: “Let’s start a film club and call it ‘Project Portland,’ due to the fact that is where we are located.” Hakym laughed.
My dream consisted of bringing Portland’s finest filmmakers, actors, grips, booms and volunteers together to make an indie film. Their responses, for the most part, were positive. Now, we needed a project to bring to the table.
I had written a screenplay called The American Dream. Hakym loved it. It’s a story of one man’s search for independence. Hakym advised me that the story was too long and that it needed a rewrite. I started doing my part, while Hakym met at coffee shops with the right people. He put together a solid cast and crew. They all believed in The American Dream and didn’t mind working for free.
I brought Hakym a revised copy of my script, and recommended, “Why don’t we schedule a meeting at a library and see who shows up?”
The next week, Hakym called with great news. “I can’t believe it! We had a cameraman, actors and a boom show up.”
I was ecstatic about this news. A real experienced cast and crew. My dream was really coming alive. I started thinking peanuts and popcorn. I told Hakym, “When you think popcorn, you got a blockbuster on the way.”
He nodded his head in agreement.
On paper it looked perfect, but it felt intangible. That was, until the cast and crew met for the first time. I was as nervous as a cat on a celluloid roof. I didn’t know what to expect, but everyone was here for Hakym and The American Dream.
Now that pre-production was completed, it was time to execute.
The next three days of shooting were a paradox: long days that flew by. Having an experienced cast and crew made my life easier, but just like in real life, we did have a lot of problems to solve.
After the three days of hard work and months of preparation, I knew The American Dream would be an astonishing film.
Film festivals, here we come!
By Peyton Scheller, Communications Manager, Visit Spokane
It’s clear from Spokane’s “Near nature. Near perfect.” mantra that outdoor filming locations throughout the region are not hard to come by. All things outdoors aside, Spokane’s never-ending “places to shoot” list is as diverse as they come, with a thriving downtown, unique public spaces and eclectic neighborhoods scattered throughout the city. While the possibilities are almost limitless, here are just a few specific scene location ideas that are sure to take your project to the next level:
Located in 90-acre Manito Park, Duncan Garden follows the classic Renaissance garden style with symmetrical design, geometric planting beds and a central water feature. The sunken garden includes three acres of colorful displays, adding the necessary brightness to complement any garden scene. Duncan Garden is just one of five different gardens within Manito Park.
For a blast from the past, head a few miles north of downtown Spokane to the Garland District. The historic Garland Theater, anchored with a giant neon sign in original art deco design, sets the stage for classic movie-theater shots. For the old-fashioned diner feel, stop by Ferguson’s café, or get your fill of milkshakes and burgers at the Milk Bottle (a restaurant housed in a building shaped like—you guessed it—a milk bottle).
As Washington’s largest state park, Riverside State Park consists of 14,000 acres of lush Douglas firs, wildflower-lined trails and huge basalt rocks protruding out of the rushing Spokane River. For an urban forest scene that is relatively easy hiking but doesn’t skimp on the views, Riverside State Park is your place.
Spokane recently hosted the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference, mainly because of the city’s abundance of historically preserved buildings and homes. Neighborhood pockets such as Browne’s Addition and the Rockwood Blvd. area provide tree-lined streets with mansions on either side, showcasing the early 1900s homes of Spokane’s former elite.
Spokane is neighbored by the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse, but for farms packed with produce, head to Green Bluff, just 20 minutes away. A co-operative of 40-plus family farms nestled at the bottom of Mt. Spokane, Green Bluff features strawberry fields, apple orchards, pumpkin patches and everything in between.
No action movie is complete without a foot chase scene. Add a new dimension with a dash through the Steam Plant, a once fully operating steam plant that powered downtown Spokane. The space has been completely refurbished to hold a restaurant, brewery, shops and more, but the original catwalks and boiler pipes are still exposed in true industrial form. Think steampunk and you’ll get the picture.
Spokane is a filmmaker’s paradise with a dynamic city vibe, unmatched scenery, picturesque parks and more. Plus, the region is extremely accessible, with little to no traffic and an airport just 10 minutes from downtown. The icing on the cake? You don’t have to look far for talented actors and a hard-working crew—the local film industry is just as amazing as the city itself.
For more information about Spokane, check out www.visitspokane.com.
“I always want to film in Cine Rent,” says director Kevin Costello, “whether it’s shooting a scoop of ice cream, or an entire village in snow. For me it’s a perfect balance of size, layout, facilities and vibe. Definitely a place where you can do your best work.”
Located in Northwest Portland’s industrial-turned-creative district, the full service facility with its 5,000-square-foot soundstage and 1,600-square-foot cyc wall, attracts producers and photographers looking to create exceptional work for their clients. And that means they bring their biggest production challenges.
Cine Rent West owner Chris Crever, who began his career as an assistant cameraman, remembers what it was like to work on ambitious productions.
“When you’re pushing yourself to do your best work,” he says, “you don’t play it safe. You’ve told the client, ‘Yeah, we can do that.’ You plan carefully and then there’s that moment at the start of the day when you think, ‘Are we really going to be able to pull this off?’”
From working with trained animals (like the mischievous cat that shuts Sir Spamalot in the microwave for a SPAM commercial), to holiday TV spots requiring a dozen child actors, to complex projects that require a melding of digital effects and live footage, Cine Rent West has positioned itself as the go-to facility for ambitious work.
Creative agency Mutt Industries brought a unique challenge to the production facility when they landed the job of creating a TV spot for Nike’s Hyperdunk basketball shoes. The concept was to show a single player fast-breaking the length of an outdoor court on the surface of the moon. Because of the moon’s low gravity he’s able to launch himself at the top of the key and dunk on an 18-foot rim.
Working with production company Cardboard Castle, the creative team and crew marked the green cyc wall for motion capture. Then they spent the next few days filming the talent driving, jumping, and dunking from every conceivable angle. The resulting spot looked like it had been shot in a lunar blimp hangar, with the illusions of size, reduced weight, and even moon dust perfectly created.
Still photographers have come to Cine Rent West to do indoor shoots for things that are too large to fit inside anywhere else. Marcus Swanson rolled in the Castrol Rocket, a 25-foot-long Triumph super-motorcycle, designed to break the land speed record at over 400 mph. Bushwacker, maker of off-road vehicle accessories, regularly brings in three big trucks at a time. Runner’s World magazine could photograph women marathon runners at race speed. And Energy BBDO brought in an eight-foot-tall yeti for their Altoids breathmints shoot.
The challenge that brought in business portrait photographer Kelley Dulcich was when she needed a spread out group photo for a local realty office—all 46 realtors.
“Sometimes a client’s challenge isn’t nailing a special effect,” says Cine Rent West stage manager Brynden McNew. “It’s getting everything shot in a single day.”
Because of the facility’s extra room and ample selection of lights and other gear, when a problem comes up, producers can quickly get the equipment they need to keep going. There are no extended breaks while a grip makes a frantic trip to a rental house. This efficiency has made Cine Rent West a favorite location for music videos, attracting recent shoots from Liv Warfield, Gossip, Sepiatonic, and Goldfoot.
“If it’s Nike or Adidas shooting next season’s big shoe with pro athletes, or a direct response agency getting testimonials from real people, they’re here because they need to do exceptional work,” says Crever. “And we are set up to help make that happen.”
By Jesse Widener
The Klamath Independent Film Festival highlights resident filmmakers of Klamath, Lake, Jackson, Siskiyou and Modoc counties of Oregon and California. As a new addition to the festival this year and part of its continual expansion, films from outside filmmakers primarily shot in the region are also welcome. There is no cost to filmmakers to submit, and general admission is free thanks to full support from sponsors and donations.
At nearly a mile in altitude, Southern Oregon’s Klamath Falls sits against a backdrop of rugged high desert and alpine mountains, miles of national forest, and the largest and deepest freshwater lakes in the Western United States. It also serves as the hub of commerce and entertainment for Southern Oregon and Northern California residents off the beaten path as far as 100 miles in any direction. With its roots in timber and agriculture, and an increasingly strong technology presence, Klamath’s burgeoning arts community is as varied as it is spread out. Painters, photographers, musicians, writers and filmmakers grown locally, along with those settled in from greater metro areas, are seeking out means to exhibit their work in this community previously unknown for its arts presence.
The Klamath Independent Film Festival (KIFF) is the premier event bridging the gap to put the best films from the best filmmakers in and around the region on the big screen… and what a big screen! 2015 marks the third year of the festival, produced by the Klamath Film Makers Group in partnership with the Ross Ragland Theater, a genuine 700-plus-seat Art Deco theater from the 1930s. This theater had fallen into disrepair in the 1980s and was on the brink of demolition. It was rescued, renovated and expanded into Klamath’s cultural arts center as it stands today. Twenty-five years into its tenure, the Ragland serves up national and international entertainment for the region, capping its season each year with the festival in late August.
The Klamath Film Makers Group (KFMG) works to create motion pictures produced by or involving filmmakers of all levels in and around the Klamath region. It establishes, grows and supports a base of local talent through the gathering of like-minded individuals, building and utilizing skill sets relating to the film industry, and promoting those films. KIFF is an extension of KFMG’s mission to provide the means and venue for Klamath filmmakers, as well as for other filmmakers in Southern Oregon, for whom there is no other festival headlining filmmakers and films of all genres from the region. KFMG also sponsors additional film-related events to enrich and challenge local filmmakers and the local community. These include filmmaking workshops, guest speakers, and corollary events such as Portland’s Northwest Filmmakers Festival annual traveling show.
This year’s Klamath Independent Film Festival runs Saturday, August 29. Screenings start at 7pm, so mark your calendar and see what else Klamath has to offer. KIFF 2015 is sponsored by the Ross Ragland Theater, Southern Oregon Film and Media, Main Street Jewelers, Klamath Audiology, Bank of the Cascades, Riverside School Learning Annex, and Sharky’s Shack Restaurant. For more information about KIFF and the Klamath Film Makers Group, visit www.klamathfilm.org.
Jesse Widener has a wide range of experience in the arts, including architecture, music composition, photography, software development, drawing and writing, in addition to filmmaking. Jesse is a member of both Klamath Film Makers Group (www.klamathfilm.org) and Southern Oregon Film and Media (www.filmsouthernoregon.org).
By Jackie Weissman (Photos by Jan Sonnemair)
Oregon Doc Camp recently wrapped its second year of programming during the last weekend in May 2015 at Silver Falls Conference Center in Sublimity, Oregon. Keynote presenter Steve James, director of award-winning documentaries Life Itself and Hoop Dreams, kicked off the Friday evening programming with a “Silver Linings” Master Class. He shared clips from his films Stevie and No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson, discussing what he learned, what he would have done differently, and how he was able to redeem troubled projects. Oregon Doc Camp, designed as an intimate retreat fostering both learning and fun, was comprised of around 35 attendees hailing from as far away as Florida and New York. Both Oregonians and visitors alike marveled at the beautiful forested setting in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
Tangible takeaways included communing with other documentary filmmakers, attending talks by guest presenters, watching works-in-progress, hiking, relaxing, and talking story at campfires together.
Inspired four years ago by a group of Portland-area documentary filmmakers as a way to gather informally and watch works-in-progress, Oregon Doc Camp is now hosted under the mantle of Women in Film-Portland, with additional sponsorship by other local organizations such as Pro Photo Supply, Hot Pepper Designs, Koerner Camera and others.
In addition to Steve James, this year’s dynamic roster of presenters included Caitlin Boyle, executive director of noted grassroots distribution company, Film Sprout; Curt Ellis, co-founder and chief executive officer of Food Corps, Inc. and producer of the documentary, King Corn; Greg Snider, senior editor at Blue Chalk Media and editor of How to Die in Oregon, among many others; and Courtney Hermann, producer of Crying Earth: Rise Up!, among others. Also offered was a “Speed Dating” pitch session, in which attendees met one-on-one with guest presenters, resulting in a valuable experience for both parties.
Oregon Doc Camp combines immersive learning and community building for documentary filmmakers in all stages of production. This blend of relaxation and inspiration form a rare experience for filmmakers who usually work alone or with very small crews. One attendee said, “Doc Camp is an awesome opportunity to meet others from the documentary community, get out of your vacuum, and gain new insight and ideas you didn’t even know were out there.”
More information about Oregon Doc Camp 2016 will soon be up on the website at www.oregondoccamp.com. For more information, please contact Jackie Weissman at email@example.com.
For the past 25 years, Jackie Weissman has worked as a media producer, director, editor, writer, and educator. Her documentary, Rock N Roll Mamas, has shown around the world to sold-out audiences. Her award-winning documentary, The Gorilla and the Piker, was featured on WNET, Channel 13 in New York, as a part of its Reel New York series. She is a founding board member of Women In Film-Portland and has served as Board President from 2012-2014. Jackie is also a founding organizer of Oregon Doc Camp. She received her MFA in film and video production from Columbia College-Chicago and lives in Portland with her husband and teenage son.