In this year’s entries to Fresh Film Northwest, we found a very broad range of styles, themes, and approaches to assess. Some, often made with minimal resources by first time entrants, were short and to the point. Others were lengthy and complex, the culmination of an individual’s entire high school career. In making our selections, it came down to how well each piece achieved what the teen filmmaker had set out to do, and the extent to which they were successful in engaging us, the viewers, in their thoughts and dreams.
Reflected in the entries were recurring themes stemming from the adolescent experience of today. Many of the works demonstrated and/or directly explored the influences of television and media forms on friendships, life choices, and their perceptions of themselves. A number of them bemoaned the drudgery of “adult” life (please don’t let this happen to me) and sought to suggest a way out.
Yet the greatest overriding theme, one that permeated the vast majority of the entries, was that of identity and the struggle to discover it, believe in it, and ultimately to celebrate one’s own unique story. Whether expressed through a documentary, personal narrative, or hybrid form, many of our favorite entries are, at their core, about breaking through to a new and better place—a culture of acceptance, inclusion, and great possibilities.
Lev Anderson’s films and photographs explore his deep interest in local communities, urban infrastructures, climate and wilderness. His work includes the heralded music documentary Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone.
Jenn Chavez is a radio announcer for Oregon Public Broadcasting and producer for Think Out Loud. Previously, she reported on issues impacting underrepresented communities for XRAY-FM and was co-host of The Film Show on KBOO.
Mikai Lewis is a multi-media artist who uses film, photography, ecology, and writing to articulate and manifest emotional and enlightening commentary, and positive alternative realities, for her audiences.
Films in this Program
Directed by Mecca Bullchild
From MAPS Media Institute, Montana. What we achieve can be realized through what is imagined. A science classroom becomes the …
Directed by Derek Slade
From Vancouver School of Arts and Academics Looking through a box of polaroids, a teenage boy reflects on his friendship …
Directed by Liam Bonds
From Ballard High School An exploration of a young man's internal battle with insecurity and anxiety. I got the initial …
Directed by Mackie Mallison
18-year-old artist and activist Ameya Marie fights for change by creating pieces that address topics such as police brutality, school …
Directed by James Suave
From Northwest Film Center Surprises fall from the sky.
Directed by Dov Annuse
Independent Entry A person struggling to find joy in their generic life is rejuvenated by an encounter with nature. Inspired …
Directed by Kiera Ciano
From the Northwest Film Center Textures and rhythms of the city unfold.
Directed by Brendan Hickey
From Ballard High School To pay for college, a student and his friends aim to turn towards a life of …
Directed by Conner Wood
From the Northwest Film Center Circling back on what’s most important.
Directed by Penn Zacharias
From the Cinematheque A brief documentary about siblings Penn and Alex Zacharias, who spend a day together and describe their …
Directed by Megan Metz
From Reel Youth, YouthCO. Strong, young indigenous voices say "we are still here," despite the abuse and loss their people …
Directed by Ezra Avdeyev
From Reel Youth, Out on Screen, Love Intersections. Tori is not your typical Christian: she is a loving, accepting, welcoming Christian, …
From POWGirls. Girls confront the stories they have been told and refused to be Boxed In anymore. During the 2018 …
Directed by Chloe Fontenot
From independent entry. Constrained by the boredom orchestrated by summer, two teenage girls might have found the solution to their …