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Directed by Various


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
Jenn Chavez
Mikai Lewis


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.  Previously, she was a producer for OPB’s Think Out Loud, a reporter for XRAY-FM focusing on issues impacting underrepresented communities, and 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

Aisitsimstā /Imagination

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

Aliens with a Side of Milk

Directed by James Sauve

From Northwest Film Center Surprises fall from the sky.

Quiet Desperation

Directed by Dov Annuse

Independent Entry A person struggling to find joy in their generic life is rejuvenated by an encounter with nature. Inspired

Sudden Drop

Directed by Kiera Ciano

From the Northwest Film Center Textures and rhythms of the city unfold.

The Midnight Criminals

Directed by Brendan Hickey

From Ballard High School To pay for college, a student and his friends aim to turn towards a life of

Before I Go

Directed by Conner Wood

From the Northwest Film Center Circling back on what’s most important.

Siblings in Transition

Directed by Penn Zacharias

From the Cinematheque A brief documentary about siblings Penn and Alex Zacharias, who spend a day together and describe their

We Are Still Here

Directed by Megan Metz

From Reel Youth, YouthCO. Strong, young indigenous voices say "we are still here," despite the abuse and loss their people

Tori Phillips: When We Change Our Views

Directed by Ezra Avdeyev

From Reel Youth, Out on Screen, Love Intersections. Tori is a loving, accepting, welcoming Christian who works hard to heal the

Boxed In

Directed by Faby Bautista, Tess Ferryman, Peace Irakoze, Angela Lares-Benitez, Avery Medinger, Jo Ta

From POWGirls. Girls confront the stories they have been told and refused to be Boxed In anymore. During the 2018

That Sucks

Directed by Chloe Fontenot

From independent entry. Constrained by the boredom orchestrated by summer, two teenage girls might have found the solution to their


Directed by Claire Kilkenny, Rachel Warsaw, Brendan Hickey

From Ballard High School. Expert assassin Bruce Viper stalks his newest target Oswaldo Mcgee on a late rainy night in

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.