Quentin Tarantino, George Lucas, and most other directors started somewhere small.
So have several local filmmakers who put their eyes to the lens for the seventh Sequim Student Film Festival at 7 p.m. on April 20.
The event offers Sequim students in grades six-12 the opportunity to create any movie they could imagine so long as it’s tasteful and under seven minutes.
This year sees 12 entries and a number of firsts for the festival with the first seventh-grade team, the first foreign-language film, the first international documentary, the first robot film, and the first instructional video.
Films range from documentaries on becoming a firefighter (“The Explorers”) or the local area (“Sequim, Washington”), to comedic spoofs (“How to Make a Movie”), awareness videos (“Cowboys Versus Zombies: A Buckle Story”) and the fantastical (“Ali in Wunderland.”)
Students are competing for college scholarships worth $1,000, $750, and $500. Students can win up to $3,000 for first, $2,250 for second, and $1,500 for third, to be divided among team members. An independent panel of judges selects the winners based on content, presentation, and production techniques.
Prior to the film festival, a spaghetti dinner is held to benefit scholarships.
Sequim High School senior Skyler Lewis, 18, and junior Torrie McIntyre, 17, are returning to the film festival with their documentary “Reduction.”
Last year they entered “The Outsiders,” a film that Lewis said people mistook for a comedy.
While brainstorming for this year’s festival, they axed an idea about hunting trolls because they just didn’t see how it could work.
McIntyre then came up with the idea of “Reduction,” about the reduction of agriculture in Sequim and Clallam County. The students interviewed local sources on farming that identified causes of that decline and solutions to promote agriculture.
“It was different from what we normally do,” McIntyre said about her film. “We wanted to focus on real things that affect us today.”
Lewis said they learned a lot about farms in Sequim while filming.
“We learned about the growth of mini-farms and the buy-local movement, and ways to support farms and local stores.”
To up their game, he said, they got a new camera and microphone and worked on several elements that judges were looking for: good lighting, sound and story.
“It puts off a feeling of a real documentary,” Lewis said.
For their film, they incorporated stop-motion animation, still pictures and film and tried out a method of attaching the camera with a suction cup to their car.
Earlier this year, they participated in a workshop to make their own mini-movie with other students. They learned details of camera angles, lighting and sound and watched last year’s movies.
For more information on the Sequim Education Foundation and the film festival, visit www.sequimed.org.