Ready, set, action! Student Film Fest prompts creativity for a decade

Ready, set, action! Student Film Fest prompts creativity for a decade in Sequim schools

SEF Student Film Festival 2015

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

Where: Sequim High School auditorium, 601 N. Sequim Ave.

Cost: $5 entrance fee

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Nearly $8,000 in scholarships and cash prizes are ripe for the picking by Sequim students participating in this year’s Student Film Festival.

Having awarded more than $50,000 to 70-plus festival winners since 2006, Sequim Education Foundation officials are busy preparing to celebrate the 10th annual film festival on Friday, April 17.

“The film festival started as an additional opportunity to recognize creative students in the school district,” Elna Kawal, SEF vice president and film festival chairman, said. “It gives some students the chance to create something they can be proud of.”

Unlike previous years, a “community service” film category with a $500 cash prize was opened to the students spurred by a donation from Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club. Community service is at the heart of the club, but its members seek to engage more youth, Carolyn McGinty, Sequim Sunrise Rotary president, said.

“We’ve always supported the SEF, but we approved extra funding for the film festival because we think more of a focus on youth is important,”  McGinty said. “We hope to inspire more youth to get involved with community service.”

Kawal first spearheaded the festival and years later still finds herself heavily involved. However, she admits having reached the 10-year mark and looking ahead, she hopes to bring in someone to help manage the festival and continue to develop it.

“I’d like to get someone involved within the school district to help promote it and be there for the students because I think it takes a lot of courage for them to make a film knowing it’s going to be shown to a wide audience,” Kawal said.

In recognition of the film festival’s milestone anniversary, Kawal has caught up with past participants to gather updates and incorporate them into the festival.

“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 is inspiring,” she said.

Steadily growing throughout the past decade, the SEF Student Film Festival has evolved into an annual community event that draws hundreds to enjoy original and creative work of local students through film.

In addition to the community service category award winner, awards for first, second and third place will be given out and the “Elkie” Award recipient will be decided by the audience response.