Films are ready to roll

Friday’s festivities mark 10th Sequim Education Foundation's Film Festival

SEF Student Film Festival 2015

When: 7 p.m., Friday, April 17

Where: Sequim High School auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave.

Cost: $5 entrance fee

More information:


Note: See list of films below.

Nine films ranging in topics from outdoor, scientific and community-centric to stop-motion animated are set for this year’s 10th annual Sequim Education Foundation Student Film Festival on Friday, April 17.

“I’m really excited about these films,” Elna Kawal, SEF vice president and film festival chairman, said after screening the films. “There’s a wide variety, depth and interests among them.”

Through their use of videography, sixth-graders Jaden Rego, Delaney Nucci and Abby Garcia tackle the seriousness of bullying and suicide prevention while other students like Jessica Dietzman and Maddy Dietzman worked to create an entertaining portrayal of an attack from King Kong in a Lego stop-motion film.

The annual festival has grown from an opportunity to recognize creative students throughout the school district into a community event that draws hundreds to enjoy original and creative work of students from all grades.

“It (the festival) gives some students the chance to create something they can be proud of,” Kawal said.

Among the entries, Kawal is pleased to spotlight two films entered into the newly created “community service” category. One video by high school senior Zavier Zarit provides insight into the Sequim Food Bank while another by Sebastian Goettling and Matt Schock explores a local nonprofit animal welfare group.

“It’s my first time entering into a film festival, but in doing so I learned how involved our community is,” Zarit said. “I wanted to give basic information about the food bank and where all the food comes from.”

Zarit, a high school senior and Running Start student bound for Western Washington University to study communications and video production, is competing for nearly $8,000 in scholarships and cash prizes at this year’s student film festival.

Because the documentaries created by Zarit, Goettling and Schock have a community emphasis, they’re eligible for a $500 cash prize sponsored by the Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club. Although the club members historically have supported the SEF with a desire to inspire youth to engage in community service, the members decided to devote more funds toward the film festival, Carolyn McGinty, Sequim Sunrise Rotary president, explained.

“It’s great to be partnering with the Sequim Sunrise Rotary this year,” Kawal said. “Each year the festival continues to evolve.”

With support like the Rotary members, within the past decade the SEF has awarded more than $50,000 to 70-plus student film festival winners since 2006.

To celebrate the past filmmakers and the festival’s 10th year, Kawal has caught up with former students in hopes of sharing highlights from previous participants throughout the upcoming event.

“The film festival provided me with an excellent outlet for my creativity,” Jack Simmons, a 2007 and 2008 film festival participant and now teacher as Ellensburg Christian School, said. “While film creation for one’s own pleasure is certainly fun, it is in the creating of an experience for others that my joy was truly found.”

Having been involved with the SEF Student Film Festival since the beginning, Kawal’s favorite aspect continues to be the opportunity to “see the change in students, how they’ve blossomed and the impact that it (film festival) has had on a whole group of students,” she said.

Angelina Morales, a 2013 Sequim High School graduate and past student filmmaker, took her passion for film and has since graduated from the Seattle Film Institute and recently started her own production company, but recalls having a “blast” participating in the SEF Student Film Festival.

“I learned that making films is hard and getting people on the same page as you isn’t always easy,” she said. “I knew I wanted to make films and go to film school. I also wanted to have fun with my friends and work hard to create something and have something to show for it at the end.”

Like Morales, Sequim High School students Christian Davis, Brandon Stamper and Reynaldo Perez have taken their mutual passions and combined them with an interest in filmmaking. The trio of outdoor enthusiasts with a thirst for anything with a board, including skateboarding, long-boarding, wake-boarding, snowboarding and skim-boarding, will take the audience on a local outdoor tour in their video, “Finding Passion Around the Pacific Northwest.”

“We want to try to show people what’s so beautiful about this place,” Stamper said. “We hope to inspire people and get them out there to have fun, too.”

With the mountains, lakes and rivers “you have everything here,” Davis said.

Given the submitted films and varying focuses, Kawal said she expects “it to be a really fun event and appeal to those of all ages.”

Among the award-winning films chosen by a panel of judges, per tradition, at the end of the show the audience will have the chance to support the film they feel is most deserving of the “Elkie” award. Additionally, the 2015 SEF Student Film Festival poster by Sequim High School sophomore Breyanna Taylor and framed by Creative Framing Prints Etc., will be auctioned off.

“I’m always on pins and needles waiting to see what the students come up with and every year I am always pleasantly surprised,” Kawal said. “I really applaud the filmmakers.”


2015 SEF Film Festival’s featured films:

• “Facts and Info About CenturyLink” by seventh-grader Nicholas D’Amico takes you inside to see where the Seahawks play.

• “Heartlake City Gets Invaded” by seventh-grader Jessica Dietzman and sixth-grader Maddy Dietzman is a Lego stop-motion attack from King Kong.

• “Stop” promotes anti-bullying by sixth-graders Jaden Rego, Delaney Nucci and Abby Garcia.

• “Finding Passion Around the Pacific Northwest” by high school students Christian Davis, Brandon Stamper and Reynaldo Perez showcases a montage of outdoor activities enjoyed in the Pacific Northwest.

• “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by seventh-grader Zoe Yates is a stop-motion Lego film taking you through the layers of the earth, right down to its core.

• “Seahawk Super Bowl Heartbreak” by sixth-graders Kalli Wiker and

McKenna Hastings highlights the love and passion for the Seattle Seahawks.

• “WAG” by high school students Sebastian Goettling and Matt Schock gives insight into the nonprofit Welfare for Animals Guild rescue organization.

• “So That No One Goes Hungry,” is a documentary about the Sequim Food Bank by high school senior and Running Start student Zavier Zarit.

• Sequim High School Senior Paul McMullin’s film, “Storage” is an abstract view of storage sheds.