A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Greenwood student Leo Pfeifer wins national independent filmmaking award

October 20th, 2015 by Doree

Greenwood resident Leo Pfeifer, a senior at Ballard High School, and his collaborator, Coleman Andersen, won the Best Drama award at the All American High School Film Festival in New York City on Oct. 11 for their film “Stolen.”

Pfeifer and Anderson co-produced “Stolen” at Ballard High last fall. Pfeifer plans to study film in college; Coleman is now studying film at New York University.

It was a good night for the Ballard filmmakers. In addition to Best Drama, Stolen was also a Finalist for Best Screenplay and Best Overall Film. Clipped Wings – also by Coleman Andersen and Leo Pfeifer, with Duncan Gowdy – was a Finalist for Best Directing, Best Documentary, and Best Overall Film. The films were judged by a prestigious jury including professionals such as screenwriter Diablo Cody, documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, and actors Kristen Stewart and Dylan McDermott.

Air Pressure (again by Coleman Andersen and Leo Pfeifer, with Josh Vredevoogd) was also an Official Selection of the festival.

Stolen questions the cost of revenge. Clipped Wings tells the story of those most affected by the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay members. Air Pressure examines the aftermath of a disaster at the Balloon Animal World Championships. To see the films, visit the Ballard High School Digital Filmmaking Program vimeo site atwww.vimeo.com/bhsfilmprogram . For more information on the program, visit www.bhsvideo.blogspot.com.

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Greenwood resident Leo Pfeifer wins 5 regional Emmys as part of Ballard High’s Digital Filmmaking Program

June 11th, 2015 by Doree

Greenwood resident Leo Pfeifer and his colleagues in Ballard High School’s Digital Filmmaking Program won five High School Awards of Excellence at the regional Emmy Awards last weekend. Pfeifer was part of all five winning entries: Short Form Fiction and Writing for “Stolen”; Long Form Non-Fiction and Photographer/Editor for the documentary “Clipped Wings” (which explores the impact of the ban on gays in the Boy Scouts of America); and Short Form Non-Fiction for “GeoForce: A Journey to Understanding.”

BHS DFP at 2015 Emmy Awards-resized

Pfeifer, a junior (middle of the back row, above), and his fellow BHS students won five of the six categories in which they were nominated.

You can the BHS award-winning productions here.

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Phinney Ridge filmmaker creating buzz online

December 17th, 2012 by Doree

By Emily Fletcher

As a student at Seattle Pacific University, film was just a hobby for Zeek Earl — a hobby that “snowballed” into Shep Films, a production company founded by Earl and friend Chris Caldwell. Operating out of Earl’s Phinney Ridge home, Shep Films specializes in commercial work that appears exclusively online, but the filmmaking duo also writes and produces short films.

Their film “In the Pines,” a nine-minute short about a young woman who seeks to reconnect with extraterrestrials she previously encountered, premiered at the 2012 South By Southwest festival in Austin and was screened at several other festivals this year. “In the Pines” was shot on the Olympic Peninsula, and Earl said he and Caldwell try to “champion the geography of Northwest” in their filmmaking.

Earl said many people were surprised by “In the Pines’” modest $3,000 budget. Because they didn’t attend film school, he and Caldwell developed many of their methods and techniques “in isolation” and realized they were different than those used by some other filmmakers at South by Southwest. The Seattle film scene is unique, Earl said.

“There is such a relaxed and inspiring feeling to being creative here,” he said, noting that he has no desire to move out of the neighborhood where he “feels at home” anytime soon. When he’s not at his house, Earl said he does much of his work at Herkimer Coffee.

Earl and Caldwell posted “In the Pines” in its entirety on Vimeo about three weeks ago in conjunction with the launch of their fundraising efforts for Shep Films’ latest project, “Prospect.”

Funded through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, “Prospect” is a gritty, survivalist film about a father and daughter who travel to an alien planet to harvest a new fuel source.

Shep films - Prospect-resized

A scene from “Prospect.” Photo provided by Shep Films.

Inspired by Westerns and shot in the Hoh Rainforest, the short film also will be attached to a feature script, and Earl hopes to eventually make “Prospect” a feature-length film. Although Earl and Caldwell set an $18,000 fundraising goal and were fairly pessimistic about reaching their target, they raised about $21,000 for the movie’s production.

Although his passion is creative filmmaking, Earl said working with commercial clients — primarily small- to medium-sized business — to create stylish, sophisticated spots for their websites is a rewarding job.

More of Shep Films’ work can be viewed here.

Emily Fletcher is a Phinney Ridge resident and journalism student at Dartmouth College.

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Former Greenwood resident finally finishes locally shot movie – 22 years later

August 18th, 2010 by Doree

Twenty-two years ago, Paul Gorman was living in north Greenwood and filming a movie at local sights, including Woodland Park Zoo, Green Lake, and his own home. Gorman and a partner shot the film in 10 days using volunteer Seattle actors and just $500. But the unedited footage sat in the can for two decades, until 2008, when he finally decided to finish it.

Now living in Redmond, Gorman’s feature film, “Broken Frame,” will premiere at 6 p.m. September 6 on SCAN TV (channels 23 and 77).

Sure it was faded and grainy and some of the sound had deteriorated, but I was surprised at what we had accomplished, and how good the acting and story was. But, as captivating as “Broken Frame” is, I felt it was part of a larger and more intriguing story as to the reason it took so long to complete and what had happened to everyone since then.

Thus the film evolved and developed into a trilogy. The centerpiece and heart and soul of the movie is “Broken Frame.” “Reconstructing Broken Frame” and “Deconstructing Broken Frame” are the bookends, which tell the story of making the movie and explaining why it took 22 years to finish.

Since it’s been so long since he first shot the movie, he doesn’t even remember the names of some of the actors. He’s got pictures of them on his website, and he’ll give anyone a DVD copy of the movie if you can identify and locate them.

(Photos courtesy of Paul Gorman.)

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