Teen Workshop

Morgan Middle School sixth grader Liam Hollandsworth was a part of the crew that worked on a “The Bunny Heist.”

They aren’t household names just yet, but who’s to say the 15th annual Ellensburg Film Festival Teen Workshop didn’t set in motion a chain of events for the next Hollywood success story.

Even the legendary filmmakers and actors had to start somewhere. Ellensburg native and Central Washington University undergrad Brian Thompson came out of the Kittitas Valley on his way to roles in the “The Terminator” (1984) and “Cobra,” and a body of work on both the big screen and television.

This year’s Ellensburg Film Festival Teen Workshop had three teams of six or seven, middle school aged participants working together to put a 3-to-5 minute short film. When they weren’t on camera, they were working the camera, directing, involved in the wardrobe, the editing, the production — the film making process.

In just three, two-hour sessions the young, creative minds put together productions called “The Bunny Heist,” “The Mystery of the Blue Bunny,” and “The Bunny.”

“Before anything even started, we brought out these boxes of props and wardrobe from previous shows. We turned them loose, and it turned into a tornado of thought. It was really fun to watch,” said Ellensburg Film Fest board member Ralla Vickers. “We also told them the blue bunny was an element in every film that had to appear in each film. So the blue bunny was the common thread.

“But other than that, it was all them and it was amazing what they came up with in a combined five hours of effort.”

The films were shot and produced at the Ellensburg Public Library, corridors were lit for effect, sound added a bit of mystery, with editing, acting and direction set to bring out the very best in young, creative expression. And, of course, the blue bunny theme was interwoven throughout.

Morgan Middle School sixth grader Liam Hollandsworth was a part of the crew that worked on a “The Bunny Heist.” As part of the creative process, the 24 future filmakers were left to decide for themselves how to break into three teams. Some were meeting their members for the first time. Hollandsworth didn’t know everyone on his crew, but that was part of the fun.

“The theme was, it’s a cute bunny, right? But it turns, because you think of bunny, then cute bunny and it wouldn’t make it very exciting to do a story about a cute bunny,” he said. “So we made it into an evil bunny that does a heist. I had three parts on camera and some bit parts. I feel like we accomplished what we set out to do with what we had. It was a very cool experience.

“My mom signs me up for things, and sometimes I’m thinking, ‘Mom I don’t want to do this.’ But this was a good call.”

The acting and developing a storyline to fit into a five-minute format was just part of the process. They also did their own filming, complete with fadeouts and special effects.

“They are not intimidated by technology,” Vickers said with a laugh. “We had three Visia cameras and they’re small and really easy to use. The films were edited with iMovie on Macs.

“They used the editing program in iMovie and over the years the kids just love it. Editing is huge and it is so fun to watch that creative process, because it takes almost as much time to shoot the film as it does to edit.”

Others local teens involved in the workshop include: Skyler Smith, Sophia Smith, Julia Hazlett, Lilli Melton, Adrienne Herrion. Eva Herrion, Steven Kelsey, Taylor Kelsey, Krista Nolan, Tessa Ward, Jaylynn Doobivsky, Axel Sautter, Isaac Sautter, Abel Melton, Beckett Landon, Alley Hernandez, Isaiah Hernandez, Ashley Callan, Alex Gamache and Avery Patterson.

Since its inception in 2004, the Ellensburg Film Festival has grown into a major film and arts event in the Northwest with over 2,000 people in attendance.

The three-day festival is noted for its outstanding selection of critically acclaimed films, and numerous screenings.


Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.