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‘Ninja Police’ earns honors for Oak Harbor
The Guerilla Film Project competition, held at Bellingham’s Pickford Cinema, recently awarded a third-place prize to Oak Harbor High School for the short film “Ninja Police.”
On Valentine’s Day weekend, about 24 teams from high schools in Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties raced the clock to write, shoot and edit three-minute narrative films in only 65 hours.
Oak Harbor’s media arts club sent five teams, or 25 students, for their second year in the competition. Video teacher Chris Douthitt said many of the teens worked all night, finishing at about 3 or 4 a.m.
“It can be pretty intense,” said Douthitt. “It has long hours, but it’s more like real-life filmmaking than what they get in school. In school, they spend 55 minutes a day on a project but professionals work 10 to 16 hour days.”
An added challenge was that each film had to include the following objects and line of dialogue: a roll of toilet paper, a board game and the line, “Is that a herring?”
“Ninja Police” was awarded third place for “Audience Choice.” The film follows a law enforcement officer determined to stop ninjas from destroying a town. It’s creators were Geoff Worley, Maric Sobreo, Brandon Maragrag, Jessie Cunningham and Stephen Olson.
To incorporate the props, the students had a character in the film prevent a ninja from covering a house with toilet paper. In another scene, a ninja empties a board game out of his pocket, along with a guitar and other oversized objects.
The films were judged on the spot, with first, second and third place winners selected by a panel of local filmmakers and participant vote. All the films were shown to a full house after the awards ceremony.
“It’s a fun competition; I’m very proud of all of them for taking that on,” Douthitt said. “They have a better taste of the real filmmaking world.”
The next contest for the video students is the Northwest High School Film Festival this May, which is held at the Cinerama Theater in Seattle. For the last three years, Oak Harbor has brought home the top prize for “Best Music Video.”