Kendra Ann Sherrill, 17, will graduate from Central Valley High School on Saturday. In September, she plans to attend Eastern Washington University. She will be in the school’s honors program, where she plans to major in film production.
“I see things through a set of lenses,” she said. “My thoughts transfer into moving pictures on a silver screen that plays inside my head. My mind is always occupied. I am constantly searching for inspiration. I love being able to do something that not that many people can do; tell a story through a set of moving pictures.”
Driven to tell stories on the silver screen, Sherrill has applied and received many grants for school. She has also spent the past few years learning the ins and outs of film work and editing, fine-tuning her skills with more than 40 videos on YouTube with thousands of hits on some. Recently, she won first place and $1,000 at the teen videofest, a contest put on by the Spokane Regional Health District. Her five-minute video, “Raise your Voice,” shows a dramatic representation of a girl who starves herself, a boy who is bullied, a boy who has an STD and a girl who turns to drugs, with a message of “open communication is the key.”
The video also earned her a Best Production award and a director’s chair with her name on it from North by Northwest Productions. The chair sits in her room in her Spokane Valley home, so does a green screen she purchased with her winnings. She also has drawers filled with potential props for upcoming projects.
Other projects include a music video for a local musician and an entry at the 50 Hour Slam, a local short film competition which has filmmakers scrambling in a short amount of time to complete the film. Sherrill’s film called “Heaven is Home” was debuted at the Magic Lantern with other entries.
Using only a video camera and her imagination, Sherrill is prepared to create visually touching pieces for the rest of her life. “With each project I do, I want to be extremely passionate and dedicated to it. I want to be able to make films that have certain aspects that have never been done before,” she said, “My hope is that mainstream films will become more like the independent film scene, with films that have profound meanings and sincere intentions.”
Her ultimate goal is to become an acclaimed independent filmmaker, winning awards while raising awareness about social issues. She will then set up a scholarship for local young aspiring filmmakers, so they can have opportunities to fulfill their dreams. “I realize that the movie business is a competitive battlefield but I have no doubt in my mind that I will accomplish my goals,” Sherrill said.
This summer, as she prepares for college, she will continue recording what inspires her to show others what the world looks like through her eyes. She said she hopes to intern at a local production company and continue to learn. “I’m so excited to just get out into the world and see what I can accomplish.”