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One of the best public school film programs in the country is in Seattle

It's true! The Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking program has been teaching students about careers in media since 2001.

“This program is all about teaching young people to express themselves through digital mediums and sound," said Anna DeTurk, a student in the program. "It's all about just exploring your creativity, working with other students and learning new things about yourself and about the world."

DeTurk is just one of the many students who says this program has taught them valuable lessons.

“You learn how to operate cameras and lights, you learn a lot about management, managing crew, yourself," said DeTurk. "You learn how to be professional with others you learn a lot of communication skills.”

The founding instructor of the Ballard High School Film program, Matt Lawrence, set a high bar and the faculty and students that succeed him continue in that spirt. Steven Bradford is the current film-making teacher at BHS, who says it's a struggle keeping up with the way technology continues to evolve almost daily.

"In just ten years we’ve gone from thinking about things that are going to go out on TV stations, networks - to now pretty much thinking in terms of Youtube, Vimeo or straight out streaming,” he said.

The BHS Filmmaking Program's classroom, studio and editing suites are tucked in the back corner of the library. The walls are lined with awards and teams of students are hard at work stitching together video projects on non-linear editing computers.

Other students are in the studio learning about lighting and organizing video gear for their next shoot in the field. The talented young people in this class can create amazing movies and videos. Some students, like Liv D'Arche, plan to go pro.

“I just got accepted into NYU and want to continue making films for the rest of my life,” said D'Arche, who thinks demand for video content will keep growing for years to come. "I think [...] every single company and aspect of our world is going to be involved with media, and it will be available all the time. It's a good and a bad thing. It's going to be fast paced."

In the classroom, Bradford said he finds great value in teaching his students the essentials. He believes no matter how camera technology or media distribution methods change, things like great storytelling, proper audio and beautiful lighting and composition will always be important.

Those skills "are eternal" and an integral part of the curriculum of the filmmaking program.

“We are a career training program," he said. "So we want to have them up to speed.”

Want to watch some student films from this program? They're all online, enjoy!

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