2017 Scholarship Recipient: Rhys Kroehler

We live in a polarizing time, with a lot of fear and hate directed at “the other side,” whether based on religion, race, gender, or nationality. By making films with positive messages that create an emotional, empathetic connection with the audience, I hope to help break down the “us vs. them” mentality and lead the viewer to realize that we are all human.

JDogg Film Scholarship is proud to announce Rhys Kroehler, a graduate of Shorecrest High School, as the 2017 scholarship recipient.  Rhys’ films have won the 3-Minute Masterpiece Grand Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival, Awards of Excellence at the Northwest High School Film Festival, and an Official Selection of the All-American High School Film Festival in NYC. Rhys will attend the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts starting in August 2017.

Rhys’ passion is to create stories that resonate with an audience and help to bring us all a little closer together. Bringing a camera to Mexico, he documented his time in Tijuana building houses for homeless families. In a recent film, “Found”, he dealt with the emotional struggle of a teenager whose experience of loss and feelings of isolation are echoed by many young people … and Rhys wanted to put something out there to remind us all that we’re not alone.

What his teachers say:  

Rhys has been instrumental in the success of the student newsshow both in front of and behind the camera for three years. Rhys has an exceptional attitude and is a great citizen of Shorecrest high school. His work ethic, maturity, and ambition will help him succeed in college. But it is his helpfulness and selflessness that will make him a huge asset for any program.
Rhys enjoys making films because it allows him the ability, through a unique combination of stimuli, to create an emotional bond with the audience like no other medium can. In 2017, he made multiple PSAs discouraging teens from driving distracted. The radio ad he made played across the country through iheartradio. The film he made focused on young love, showing how easily it can be taken away in a moment of carelessness. Rhys hopes to continue making films that will attempt to catalyze change, but also entertain audiences.

Rhys's work:
Some Things Just Can’t Be Replaced
So Much To Lose
Changing Hands


2016 Scholarship Recipient: Leo Pfeifer

Film has the power to tell stories that simply help their audience understand: understand
a person, place, culture, feeling, emotion, issue, or anything else. … when a film shows you the life, the
struggles, and the challenges of others, it can completely change your views on that subject. And it does
that all by simply telling you a story.

Leo Pfeifer, JDogg’s 2016 scholar, attended Point Park University in Pittsburg this past year.  He won best direction with his two teammates for a short film shot in 48 hours for the university’s freshman film festival. Leo also worked at the student production services, which allowed him to learn a lot of the equipment early in his university career, as well as meet a many other filmmakers. 

In the summer of 2017, Leo began an internship at a production company in Seattle (Workhouse Creative) that makes advertisements and other content for national brands. He quickly found it to be a place of great opportunity, giving him nearly unlimited potential for learning under the guidance of several highly skilled filmmakers. Because of that, and other contributing factors, he made the difficult decision to depart from Point Park University.

"I'm getting a firsthand look at many different aspects of work that's being made at a really high level, as well as vital guidance in developing my skills as storyteller and editor. I'll remember the things I'm learning here for the rest of my career."

Leo hopes to attend Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts beginning in the spring of 2018 to further his academic study of film. Until then, he will continue his internship in Seattle.

As a student in Ballard High School’s video production program, Leo created films that received six Awards of Excellence at the Northwest Emmys, nine Official Selections at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, and over 200,000 views online.

Leo’s work includes narrative, music video, and advertising, but his biggest interest is documentary. He likes the power of the stories that documentaries are capable of telling, and their ability to examine something real. His documentary “Clipped Wings” tells the stories of those most affected by the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay members. It gained a wide audience online, was featured by news and advocacy organizations, and played at festivals.

What his teachers say:

“Leo has elevated the climate and learning of every class he’s been in.  He enjoys other students and he listens to them.  Although he always brings his own ideas to the table, on multiple occasions I’ve seen him listen for the best ideas in the room and support them.  He’s one of those rare students equally adept at the social, collaborative elements of filmmaking as the technical elements.  He never fails to master the technical skills necessary to realize his creative ideas.”
~ Matt Lawrence, Video Production Teacher, Ballard High 

Leo personally enjoys filmmaking because of the incredible places it's taken him and the people it's allowed him to meet. In 2014, he was hired to make a film for the organization GeoFORCE Alaska. It followed one of their trips across the United States as they taught rural Alaskan youth about geology. Leo hopes to build a career on work like this, as well as creating his own films.

A sampling of Leo’s films:
Clipped Wings
Air Pressure
Leo’s Vimeo page

2015 Scholarship Recipient: Bogui Adjorlolo

“For me, the point of filmmaking is to tell stories that relate to people on a deeper level than pure
entertainment. I live and breathe filmmaking. It is not simply a hobby, but a passion of mine that
keeps me up at night, and ignites a fire within me that only grows with each passing day.”

Bogui Adjorlolo has completed his second year at University of Southern California, and will be spending the summer in LA to work as a producer. “I took my first “real” production class, where we had to fill out a bunch of paperwork like location permits and liability forms before we started shooting, which was extremely annoying, but a great insight into what it’ll be like once we graduate.” Bogui is getting to connect and work with industry leaders – for example the production class professor was Sheldon Larry, who has been directing TV shows and features for 38 years now, with over 50 IMDB credits for directing alone. “From his mentorship, I learned a lot more about how to effectively direct actors and use the camera to tell the story in creative

During his freshman year at USC, Bogui won two awards at USC for his video Snooze, and the WaveMaker grand jury award at SIFF for his short film Sable Mire.

“His enthusiasm for cinema is extraordinary. … I’m proud to say he’s shown dedication to the
craft of filmmaking and a constant pursuit to explore and experiment in picture and sound. He’s
one of the brightest and hardest working students currently enrolled at USC, without question”.
~James Savoca, Professor, Directing, USC

During his high school career, Bogui received seven Northwest High School Film Festival Awards. In 2015 his film, Goldfish, was an Official Selection of the National Film Festival for Talented Youth. Bogui will attend the University of Southern California’s film program starting in the fall of 2015. 

What his teachers say:  
“Bogui is, without a doubt, the most talented video student I've ever had the pleasure to teach at Shorecrest. Most students excel at one part of the video making process. However, Bogui excels at writing, directing, acting, and editing. … Bogui is team leader and helps to pull other students up to his level. Bogui’s storytelling ability, technical knowledge, and calm demeanor are just a few of the many assets that will help him become an excellent producer and director. His body of work speaks for itself, but he is also a caring individual who keeps improving his craft without the need of outside motivation.”
-Trent Mitchell, Video Production Teacher
Shorecrest High School

Bogui’s work ranges from art film through dramatic narrative to documentary, and often grapples with subjects that challenge seasoned filmmakers.  

His 2013 short film “Tennis Ball” tells the story of a young man reflecting on the loss of a close friend and finishes with the young man visiting his friend’s gravesite at the cemetery. The story is powerful, emotional, and very mature in subject matter. The cinematography is gorgeous and the editing choices are spot on. In Sable Mire, a 2015 film, Bogui hired and directed professional and student actors to tell the story of a family that struggles to stay together after losing a loved one.

To see Bogui’s earlier filmmaking efforts, go to youtube.com/mindcontrolfilms.

Bogui has enjoyed several years of school music, playing the tenor saxophone and performed in two High School drama productions in his senior year.  He enjoys traveling, skateboarding and sleeping (when he can find the time).


2014 Scholarship Recipient: Raven Two Feathers

Film has made me the person I always wanted to be; confident, perseverant, and conscientious. It taught me how to convey my ideas, motivate people, and trust others that such a collaborative art form requires.  I went from rarely putting out ideas to friends, to pitching ideas to clients. Seeing myself accomplish feats that seemed only for those I thought of as betters has lifted my self-worth immensely.  Even better is seeing the relief and delight in friends after we all put 110% and sleepless nights into a film because we all love bringing stories to life and the journey that bonds us together while making the production happen.

Raven Two Feathers was a 2014 graduate of Ballard High School.

Raven is entering their senior year at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where they were First Assistant Director on the 2016 Shoot the Stars, and is completing their Advanced Directing final about the emotional and psychological aftermath of a fatal car crash.

Through their connections at Santa Fe University, Raven snagged a volunteer position at the Sundance Directors’ Lab during the summer of 2017 where they were assistant to the production supervisor. They worked as a juicer and grip during most of their time at the lab, with some substitute script supervising.  It was a fantastic networking opportunity and familial environment they hope to experience in the rest of their career.

Raven has been working to make student voices and concerns heard during the closure of SFUAD, in both activism and documentary work after seeing the frustration and fear in fellow students when the school’s possible closure was first announced.  Simply documenting led to concern about lack of communication leading to the formation of a collective, becoming the middleman for students to get the latest news and sharing information with one another via a Facebook group. The activism Raven has engaged in has helped teach them about the process and the commitment that truly goes into a cause.

On the production side, Raven has been fine tuning their directing in both documentary and narrative forms over the course of the previous year with pieces exploring gender and sexuality. Raven has continued to serve in the 1st AD role – one that is appealing more and more as a career choice - along with expanding into untouched areas such as 1st assistant camera.

While back in Seattle, Raven worked for the Seattle Public Schools Media Operations Center, who she interned for her senior year of high school.

At Ballard, Raven was president of the Future Filmmakers Club, and producer of Just Plane Lucky in the 2014 NFFTY 48-hour Film-Off, which placed second overall.  Raven has used her experiences of moving around the U.S. from the age of five to give her a fresh perspective of the world with the goal to tell stories that aren’t normally heard — stories about “the diversity that life has to offer.” In 2013 Raven, along with teens around the country, participated in the SuperFly Filmmaking Experience workshop where she told the story of the Suquamish Tribe in the Kitsap Peninsula. The film, Live to Remember, which she produced with other participants, screened at the Seattle International Film Festival and was added to the collection at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

2013 Scholarship Recipient: Vann Fulfs


Vann Fulfs,the 2013 JDogg scholarship winner, has become our first JDogg college graduate!  

“I'm happy to announce that I have graduated with high honors from Columbia College Chicago.  Your ability to take such a tragedy and transform it into something so positive is inspiring and deeply moving.  And has the power to change lives like mine.  My journey would not have been possible without your combined efforts, and I hope I can hold a candle to the bright flame of Justin's legacy."

Vann Fulfs was a 2013 graduate of Ballard High School, Justin’s high school alma mater. In 2016, Vann graduated from Columbia College of the Arts in Chicago, after busting it out to finish college in 3 years!  He is in the process of applying to assistant editing positions across Chicago and in New York and continues to create short films on the side.  “My future has never looked so bright and that is thanks to what you have all done”. 

Vann’s personal projects investigate the subcultures in the greater Chicago area, for example:
Free Street Theater: Underprivileged Youth Theater
22: Veterans Dealing with PTSD Nightrider: Exploring the Underground Drag-Racing Community

At Ballard High, Vann served as president of the Future Filmmakers Club and performed community outreach and fundraising for the school’s Video Production Program. His very first video, Leisure Biking, received an Award of Excellence in the News Feature category at the 2010 Northwest High School Film Festival. His dramatic/horror story, At First Sight, received an honorable mention at the same festival and was judged a Work of Merit at the Young People’s Film Festival. In 2012, Vann’s comedic digital short Love at First Bite received a Creative Self-Expression Award in the five-state regional festival Fresh Film Northwest for outstanding achievement in cinematic storytelling.

In the words of one of his teachers:
It’s rare for students to achieve festival recognition with their first productions, but that’s been the case with Vann. He has perseverance, dedication, and creativity. He’s productive working alone or with peers. Although he often emerges as the leader of his groups, he is not dominating and is equally comfortable as a leader or in a supporting role. His critical and creative mind is also apparent in his strong visual designs and media strategies. He is also one of those rare and rewarding students who return to projects after evaluation in an effort to do the best possible work.
~ Matt Lawrence, Video Production Teacher
Ballard High School

As the Ballard News-Tribune reported, Vann describes the announcement of his selection like this: “I actually think I started crying, to be honest…. It was very emotional for a lot of people in the room. It’s hard for me to express it … just being put to where Justin was, was a huge honor.”

The JDogg Scholarship Fund would like to thank photographer Jerry Gay and the Ballard News-Tribune (Ken Robinson, managing editor, Zachariah Bryan, writer). For more information about Vann and the scholarship, see Through scholarship, Ballard High film student helps carry on legacy.

"This would not have been possible without Justin & Blair & Craig… it is so touching to see tragedy & heartbreak transformed into such a poignant, moving tribute.  Blair & Craig - you are so beautiful, incredible, & inspirational.  I did not have the pleasure of meeting Justin; but with parents like you guiding him, I can totally see how he made such a huge, lasting impact on everyone he encountered!
This would not have been possible without ALL of you and your hard work and dedication!!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you - to all of you and all the JDogg supporters & community!
I am so darn proud of Vann.  This is so very special & dear.
All my love & gratitude,
Holly (Mother of Vann)



2012 Scholarship Recipient: Sophie Mitchell

The scholarship committee is pleased to announce that Sophie Mitchell is the first recipient of the Justin Amorratanasuchad Scholarship. Sophie is a 2012 graduate of The Center School, a public high school is Seattle. In Sophie’s words:

Film has had an immense impact on how I view myself and how I view the world. I have developed skills that have provided me with the self-confidence I never had but always needed and has helped to further my voice in a whole new light…. Film has changed the way our society runs and film has truly impacted how we get our information.

In my opinion the biggest and most important issue in film making today is diversity. What I would love to help do is change the disproportionate system and allow people who never thought their dreams could come true, have the confidence to make them come true, like myself. I aspire to educate people not just by speaking and writing, but by inspiring people by the movies I someday will make and sharing my story…. Thank you for this amazing opportunity.

Sophie is the winner of The Center School’s 2011 Intermediate Film Student Award for Achievement and the NFFTY 48-Hour Film-Off Award. Her work received an Award of Excellence and an Honorable Mention at the 2012 Northwest High School Film Festival. Sophie is also a member of the National Honor Society. Some of her work:

Sophie will be using the scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year at Bournemouth University.