A look at the Friday Harbor Film Festival highlights

The fourth annual Friday Harbor Film Festival on Nov. 4–6, featured line-up of documentary films, as well as many special events that celebrated the art of filmmaking.

“I started working on feature stories to enlighten and inspire so it is fitting to receive an award from an organization with the same goal,” said film editor Richard Chew, who is this year’s film festival winner of The Andrew V. McLaglen Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chew is a distinguished academy award-winning film editor and producer. The festival honored his 50 years in the film industry at the Opening Night Gala at the San Juan Community Theatre on Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m.

During his acceptance speech, Chew regaled the audience with his past including stories about his early work on shooting documentaries in the Peace Corps to filming Woodstock. He talked about the transition from editing films with hard materials like scotch tape in your hands with a large team to working on films on a computer. Now he works with monitors instead of other people.

“So it goes,” said Chew.

The film festival showed clips of some of Chew’s most notable works like “Star Wars,” One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Risky Business,” “That Thing You Do!” and “I Am Sam.”

They also screened the movie “The Way,” also edited by Chew.

Other awards

After a full weekend of films, the Friday Harbor Film Festival attendees chose “Glen Campbell I’ll be Me” won favorite film Sunday, Nov. 6. The film recounted country singer Glen Campbell’s “Good Bye Tour,” the concert tour he held after being diagnosed with Alzheimer.

“One filmgoer said everything she saw was wonderful, a three out of three, in terms of voting so it was hard to choose a favorite,” said Lynn Danaher, director of the Film Festival.

The ultimate choice, “Glen Campbell I’ll be Me” is very moving, portrays the difficulties of living with the disease, and being a family member of loved one of someone who has it.

Elsa Sinclair also won the “Local Hero” with her documentary “Taming Wild, a girl and a mustang” which showed her journey with her horse.

Awards included:

1) Explorers and Adventurers: Lost & Found

2) Things to Consider: The Babushkas of Chernobyl

3) Tales of the Heart: Last Gold

4) Local Heroes: Taming Wild

5) Overall Winner: Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me

6) Best Short Film: The Serene Heartache

7) Winner of The Young Filmmakers Project: El Juego. Directors Max Kessler and Par Black received a $500 scholarship from the YFP.

Overall, attendance was up 13 percent, Danaher reported, “We have had many volunteers, filmmakers and visitors say that this was a really fun event to participate in and the film goers were thrilled with the quality of the films.”

Young filmmakers

Students and their friends and families turned out in force Sat. afternoon to watch the Friday Harbor Film Festivals Young Filmmakers Project.

“We will be watching a set of eight shorts that Friday Harbor students put together themselves.” said Chris Lott, the festival’s master of ceremony.

Subjects ranged from being a good land steward, discussing the environmental movement Leave No Trace, to a snapshot of a day at Spring Street School, and a story about the tragedy of the Tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 and a thriller called El Juego.

El Jueg0 (The Game) by Max Kessler and Par Black was the winner. The two received a $500 scholarship from the Young Filmmakers Project.

The Young Filmmakers Project also featured “Screenagers”, which documented a young mother struggling to do the right thing by her preteen daughter who wants a smartphone. Throughout the film, the mother speaks to other parents, teachers, scientists and even teenagers themselves on the effects of not just smartphones, but digital technology of all kinds. One of the highlights of the film was when she says, after showing a couple fight about computer usage, “We can not expect our children to be responsible with this new technology when we can not handle it ourselves.”