News Column

The Wenatchee World, Wash., Rufus Woods column

April 30, 2013

YellowBrix

April 30--The second annual Vox Docs Film Festival has been added to the already full schedule of events this weekend, highlighted by the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival.

Rick Wray of Leavenworth, who coordinates the festival, stopped by the office on Monday to talk about the documentary films to be shown. Every film has won a major award at a prestigious film festival, so the quality is guaranteed to be exceptional. Patrons will have the opportunity to see the films in a first-class facility -- the new Snowy Owl Theater at Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth.

There are some heavy social issues to challenge our thinking, along with uplifting stories of achievement. The festival kicks off with "Bully" at 7 p.m. Friday. At noon Saturday, "A Place at the Table," which focuses on hunger in America will be shown, followed by "Ready to Fly" (about female ski jumpers), Academy Award winner "Searching for Sugarman" (the true story of a 70s rock icon who disappeared into obscurity) and "Chasing Ice" (a film about a photographer seeking evidence of global climate change).

Ticket sale proceeds will benefit local nonprofits.

I found last year's festival to be a provocative experience that allowed audience members to see different and complex sides of issues than are portrayed in the simplistic media and political environment that exists in this country. There is a power in video that exceeds the printed or spoken word.

Wray is a also doing some groundbreaking work in North Central Washington helping educators teach students how to tell compelling stories in video. A total of 29 educators from Leavenworth, Wenatchee and the Methow Valley are using digital story telling in their classes. Wray has done similar programs in Utah and Puget Sound with great success.

Doing video well is not easy, Wray said, but it's an important tool that can help inspire kids to achieve in a project-based environment. "The technology means nothing if you can't build a successful learning experience," he said.

Being successful requires communication, collaboration and innovating thinking. Those are exactly the skills needed in today's fast-changing business environment.

If you want to see documentaries done well, we'll see you at the festival. And stay tuned for student-produced documentaries from our local schools.

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(c)2013 The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.)

Visit The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.) at www.wenatcheeworld.com

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