Whatcom Museum hosts its 16th annual Art Career Day on Friday, March 15, in which more than 100 Whatcom County high school students converge to learn about the visual arts. Among the presenters is Bellingham's Terri Krantz, who will show winning films from the Guerilla Film Project, an annual competition that takes place each February.
Question: What is the Guerrilla Film Project?
Answer: The Guerilla Film Project is an annual, 65-hour filmmaking competition for high school students. At 6 p.m. on a Thursday, we give the kids two props and one line of dialogue that they have to include in their three-minute narrative film.
Sixty-five hours later, they turn in their films and we have a screening. A panel of judges chooses the best film and there is an audience choice award, as well.
GFP was started in 2002 by Alice Clark and it ran in conjunction with Projections Film Festival. Both events were sponsored by the Whatcom Film Association, which is now the Pickford Film Center.
After that first year, Alice turned GFP over to Michele Siemion, who recruited me to help with organizing the event and to be on the judges' panel. I have been involved with GFP for nine sessions and have been the director for the last six.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I was born in Seattle in 1958 and grew up in the suburban wasteland that is Bellevue.
Q: What brought you to live in Whatcom County?
A: After graduating from Bellevue College, a friend invited me up to Bellingham to housesit for the summer. I fell in love with this town and I've called Bellingham my home ever since.
Q: What is your day job?
A: I am the owner of Teravintage Antique Jewelry and have four locations in Bellingham: Aladdin's Antiques, Black Market Boutique, Fairhaven Antique Mall and Penny Lane Antique Mall.
Q: What's up with your love for antiques and collections?
A: I do not consider myself a collector, because in order to stay in business I need to sell the things I find. But I do have a true love for antique jewelry and purses. The design and craftsmanship in a good piece is awe-inspiring.
There is an intense thrill when I find a rare piece that only other collectors understand. I indulge myself occasionally and siphon off a few pieces to wear. When I do that, I have a rule I have to give something up. That keeps me from accumulating too much.
Q: What was your involvement with the "American Collectors" project?
A: The "American Collectors" documentary film grew out of my work in the field of antiques. I've known many collectors over the years and often wondered what motivates a person to collect. A true collector is a different breed from the general population. They have a very deep passion for the object they collect and many go to comical extremes to attain their prize.
My friend and partner in this film, Bob Ridgley, and I wanted to look at the activity of collecting as a psychological study. We released the film in 2008 and I was overwhelmed by the response it received. My proudest moment was winning the Mayor's Art Award for that film.
Q: What do you hope to impart to the high school students on Friday?
A: Two things. The first thing is the elements of what makes a good film. Many people think filmmaking is merely picking up a camera and shooting footage. Making a good film requires a compelling story and lots of organization and planning. Filmmaking also involves compromise: with the elements, with your team and with your equipment.
The second thing is that activities like the GFP are perfect vehicles to improve your skills. To my dismay, high schools are dropping film programs just as our culture is becoming more multimedia-oriented. Participating in the GFP gives students lots of real world experiences; collaborating with your team, dealing with setbacks and deadlines, learning from your mistakes and mishaps and, especially, the other students' films.
It's very inspiring to see how much the kids improve each year. I hope seeing examples from this year's contest will compel them to grab some friends and join in next February for GFP 2014.
Q: What are some of your plans?
A: I'm very excited about the last project I worked on with Binary Studio as an assistant director, called "It's Good to Be Home," which played at the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival last month.
I'm also saving money for a trip to Europe in 2014. I belong to an antique-purse collecting society and our yearly gathering will be at the Tassenmuseum Hendrikje Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam. At our 2012 gathering, I met Ingrid, whose mother and father started the museum with their large collection of antique purses. Now the museum has over 4,000 pieces. I'm sure it will be a heart-stopping experience for me.