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Kayhi senior Brittany Slick creates video for film festival
Some of the women featured in Brittany Slick’s video about beauty are, from left to right, Ann Simmons, Mey Tuinei, Marley Lewis, Shelby Lewis, Payton Simmons, Alma Parker and Keri Thomas. Photo courtesy of Brittany Slick

Daily News Staff Writer

“Beauty is pain. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is only skin deep. These are misguided, misconceptions of what it means to be beautiful, yet it is what we all seem to believe.”

These words, accompanied by soft piano playing, are the beginning of Ketchikan High School senior Brittany Slick's video submission for the Girls Impact the World Film Festival.

The festival is an annual event hosted by Connecther — an organization that “invests in women leaders who are creating sustainable impact in their local communities, and provides a platform for youth to tell their stories about critical issues facing women and girls” through the film festival, according to the organization.

Slick's video, titled “beau•ty,” features elementary, middle school and high school girls, and adult women from Ketchikan. Some are Slick's family friends, others are classmates at Kayhi.

The women and girls are all wearing white T-shirts and jeans, and they are shown sitting in front of a camera brushing their hair, putting on makeup, looking in the mirror and looking at photoshopped magazine images of women.

Her video talks about how beauty is misconstrued and how the media affects women's conceptions of beauty, and how they don't need to do their makeup and straighten their hair to be beautiful. In the end of the video, they take off the makeup to show that they are beautiful just the way they are.

Slick wrote the poem used in the video, and played the piano for its soundtrack. She said the poem took three days to write, and she recorded the music and poem in one day.

“One of the rules was to not use (copyrighted) material without special permissions, so I just avoided that whole conflict with writing and recording everything on my own,” Slick said.

She filmed the video in one day for seven hours straight at Kayhi, and then edited it for two days nonstop. Slick said overall, the whole project took around two-and-a-half weeks to put together.

“The planning was the hardest part. I worked on the planning of the scenes for about (two) weeks, writing out the script of what I wanted each person to do, and drawing all the posters and getting the props,” she explained.

Slick said she chose the topic and category that she did because she “felt connected to it.” She said the purpose of the video wasn't to put out a cheesy project that shows what “every mother says to their daughter,” like, “You don't need makeup.”

“I think the purpose was more of bringing awareness and recognition to how wrong beauty is being portrayed today,” Slick said. “There's just so much stuff in the media that every girl looks up to — being skinny and having flawless skin, and that kind of stuff. All of those qualities have just turned in to what we define as beauty today.”

In just a few weeks, Slick will have the opportunity to win monetary awards that will be given out for a variety of categories. The grand prize is $5,000 and is awarded by a panel of judges. The second place prize is $2,500, and the third place prize is $1,000.

There are a few other prizes, as well — such as the People's Choice award for $2,500. People's Choice is getting the most likes, share and tweets on Facebook and Twitter. The video has to be in the top 10 of likes and shares, and the judges will pick the winner from that.

Another award of $2,500 is given to a video category winner. For example, Slick's video is in the honest beauty category, and there are two other categories — global impact and stand up men — that have the chance to win a category prize.

A few other prizes and internships are available, and Slick said someone can win more than one prize. Voting for the People's Choice Award closes on March 1, and later this month, the judges will choose the top 15 videos that will be shown at a screening in Austin, Texas, on April 7. There, the judges will announce the winners.

There are 15 judges, ranging from doctors to actors, writers, humanitarians, models and philanthropists. Among them are Richard Curtis, Nikki Reed, Ian Somerhalder and Dr. Alaa Murabit.

If Slick wins an award through the film festival, she said she's going to put the money towards school. She plans on attending the University of Idaho next year, and although the school has awarded her a bit of money, she wants to have the least amount of student loans left over when she graduates.

As far as she knows, she's the only student at Kayhi who has made a video for the film festival, which surprised her — since it's a national competition and there's so many prizes to be won.

To view, like and share Slick's honest beauty video, visit http://bit.ly/2nGGNpS.

“I just wanted to thank the community and everybody. It's like really cool just to have a whole little community behind you and supporting you. Right now, my video is actually the number one most popular on their website,” Slick said on Monday.

“I didn't really think that it would get that big, so I just wanted to thank everybody,” she continued. “I mean it might not stay there, just at the moment. I just think that the message is really important and it's really cool that everybody is reacting to it.”