Local filmmaker named YoungArts finalist

Ben Kadie submitted his original film “The Painted Girl” as part of his application for the YoungArts Foundation Scholarship.   - COURTESY
Ben Kadie submitted his original film “The Painted Girl” as part of his application for the YoungArts Foundation Scholarship.
— image credit: COURTESY

When you work really hard and follow your passion, sometimes dreams really can come true. And if there is any evidence of this, it comes in the form of Ben Kadie.

Already making waves as a budding filmmaker in Bellevue, the Interlake High School senior was recently named a National YoungArts Foundation Finalist in Cinematic Arts. The award, which includes a minimum $1000 scholarship, also includes an all-expense-paid trip next month to Miami for YoungArts Week.

Considered to be one of the most prestigious arts competitions for young adults, the 32nd annual YoungArts Week takes place Jan. 6-12, 2013 in Miami. As part of the program, Kadie will join 151 other finalists in a week of intense master classes with internationally renowned artists such as Adrian Grenier (1994 Alumnus in Theater), Marisa Tomei, Bobby McFerrin, Andrew Rannells (1997 Alumnus in Theater) and Bill T. Jones (YoungArts Artistic Advisor).

Students will also have the opportunity to share their work each evening through performances, readings, exhibitions and screenings that are free and open to the public. YoungArts Week will culminate in An Affair of the Arts Performance and Gala on Jan. 12.

“This year’s extremely talented students represent a diverse group whom we consider to be the most promising young artists in America today,” said Paul T. Lehr, YoungArt’s Executive Director. “The quality of this year’s winners is a testament to the strength of our expanding program.”

Kadie was chosen as a finalist through a blind judging process from a pool of applicants representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as all U.S. territories.

Kadie submitted an original short film entitled “The Painted Girl” (along with clips from his film “Alone Together”) as part of his application. Kadie says he chose these clips because he felt they were the best produced, most important stories he has told.

“The Painted Girl” tells the story of Megan, a closeted gay 15-year-old, who runs away from her mother and her idealistic expectations. Hiding in an abandoned subway tunnel, Megan uses paint to create art for her mother. in hopes that the gallery will help her mother understand her better.

Kadie filmed in downtown Seattle and in the 100-year-old underground bunkers of Fort Casey State Park, turning these locations into graffiti-covered subway tunnels using visual effects such as motion tracking and 3D modeling.

During the YoungArts Week, monetary awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 will be presented to students exhibiting excellence in their discipline.

From this pool of 152 finalists, up to 60 will also be nominated by YoungArts to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, 20 of whom will be selected for the honor by the White House appointed Commission on Presidential Scholars. U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are awarded the opportunity to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. YoungArts Week performances will be available to live stream on

Kadie said he is most looking forward to meeting the other finalists selected in the Cinematic Arts category.

“There are a lot of talented filmmakers from all around the country,” Kadie said. “It will be cool to get advice from them and talk to them about what they are working on.”

This is Kadie’s first award from YoungArts and the first award for “The Painted Girl.” Kadie’s other national awards include five National Medals (two Gold, three Silver) from Scholastic Arts & Writing and a National Merit Semifinalist designation.

Kadie, who plans to study film in college, is currently applying to schools across the United States. His top choices include the University of Southern California, New York University and Chapman.

In addition to Kadie’s win, a handful of other students on the Eastside were recognized: Srinivasan, Meera (Interlake High School, Honorable Mention, Dance); Andrus, Jaylyn (Liberty High School, Merit, Voice); Davis, Benjamin (Lakeside School, Merit, Cinematic Arts and Merit, Music); Sie, Amelia (Home School, Merit, Music).

Learn more about Kadie’s films at HERE.


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