Slugco Home Page     About     Watch     "Stills"   Reviews & Screenings   Production Photos

"A Friendly Game"

What happens when two brothers escalate a one-point tennis match beyond “a friendly game”?

Over their Spring break (April 2008), Ben and his friend Dylan made a two-minute movie. In contrast with "009", which had six filming days and countless days of editing, this movie had one filming day and just a couple of days of editing.

Here is the movie, some stills, and some production photos. (One of the "stills" isn't really still.)

- Carl

p.s. You're encouraged to share the link to for this movie with anyone who might find it interesting. All the and material is shareable.


Vimeo HD Version


YouTube Version

Here are some "stills" from the movie.

Reviews and Screenings

Sept 29, 2009: Festival do Rio in Brazil screened "A Friendly Game". This will was Ben's first film screening with subtitles. How did they translate "ball wrangler" to Portuguese?

According to Matt Lawrence of Ballard High:

The festival is the largest film festival in Brazil and Latin America. Each year, major films of the Cannes, Sundance, Venice, Berlin, and Australian film festivals are presented to the public during the event. The festival also features films by youth 18 and younger. It has a distinguished history of showcasing the early work of young filmmakers who have gone on to successful film careers.

June 18, 2009: "A Friendly Game" was screened as a bonus film at the NFFTY-organized "Five High Schools, Five Films" program of teen safety films.

kfff May 26, 2009: KIDS FIRST! selects "A Friendly Game" for their film festival of film festivals. This makes it eligible for more 120 venues nationwide that show films selected by KIDS FIRST!

Sunday double screening for 'A Friendly Game': Newport Beach & NFFTY

On Sunday, April 25, 2009, audiences in California and Washington will watch 'A Friendly Game'. The Newport Beach Film Festival in California, one of the top 20 festivals in the U.S., will show the film at 11:30 AM. The National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) will show the film at 12:45 PM in Seattle. The film premiered Seattle last year. Newport Beach will be it's first California screening.

April 17, 2009: Both "A Friendly Game" and "Murder at the Pharaoh's Grave" are official selections at the Westport Youth Film Festival (Connecticut) in May. Ben learned of the festival from youth filmmakers at Ballard High School in Seattle.
Alliance For Young Artists & Writers March 31, 2009: "A Friendly Game" has won a National Gold Medal from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. According to Scholastic, 140,000 pieces of art and writing were submitted and fewer than 300 won the National Gold Medal. Ben is the only middle schooler to earn a gold medal in "Video and Film" (and the only middle school medal winner in Washington State). The awards have been given since 1923 and folks such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol were recognized as teens. There is an ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City (but it conflicts with Ben's 8th grade trip and he may choose the 8th grade trip). The web site is
November 15, 2008: The Cucalorus Film Festival of North Carolina today showed “A Friendly Game”. Time Magazine calls Cucalorus one of its Film Festivals for the Rest of Us". The festival considered over 1000 films and selected 157.

Click the logo to the left to see "A Friendly Game" in the Cucalorus catalog.

October 26, 2008: The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), largest annual festival of films for children in the world, today screened “A Friendly Game”. The film was one of 220 films selected from over 600 submissions. The CICFF is the only Academy Award qualifying children's film festival.
September 28, 2008:  The Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival screened both “009” and “A Friendly Game” as part of their teen filmmaker program. The festival, one of TIME magazine's “Film Festivals for the Rest of us", is a celebration of new independent cinema in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

Click the poster to the left to see "A Friendly Game" in the Sidewalk on-line catalog.

 “A Friendly Game” wins Regional Festival

September 14, 2008: "A Friendly Game" is among the winners of the 32nd Annual Young People’s Film & Video Festival. Students in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Alaska competed in the festival which the Northwest Film Center coordinated. A jury of educators and film professionals judged the films for their storytelling, originality, artistic merit, technical achievement, and investigation of subject matter. Only 15 productions were chosen for the festival from over 100 entries. The Festival Winners’ Program was screened on in the Portland Art Museum.

Click on the poster for the NW FilmCenter web site.


Sept 14, 2008: The Chicago International REEL Shorts Fest screened both "009" and "A Friendly Game" at Columbia College. The festival, with sponsors such as the “The Onion” humor magazine, seeks to showcase films “to REEL PEOPLE in the Chicagoland area.” A still from "009" appears of the festival’s poster.

Click the poster to the left to see the full-size poster.


On August 16, 2008, Ben introduced "A Friendly Game" to an enthusiastic crowd at the Fremont Outdoor Cinema. The film appeared before "The Iron Giant". Other Three Minute Masterpieces will appear in coming weeks.
2008 festival poster As the youth winner from the Seattle Times Three-Minute Masterpiece digital film contest, "A Friendly Game" was invited to a second screening at the Seattle International Film Festival. This time as part of the FutureWave program for artists under 18.

Click the little poster for details from the afternoon including comments to the young filmmakers by author Sherman Alexie.

3 Minute Masterpieces 2008


"A Friendly Game" is the J. Michael (Youth) Award winner at the 2008 Seattle Times Three-Minute Masterpieces screening.

Of more than 100 entries to the Seattle Times contest, eleven films were Three-Minute Masterpieces winners, receiving a screening at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) . At the very fun screening, "A Friendly Game" won the J. Michael Award youth filmmaker award. Ben is the first filmmaker to win the youth award twice. (He won last year with "Perilous Skies".)

As the youth winner, Ben received a generous prize the Rima Family -- the J. Michael award is a memorial to their son.

Click the logo to see the newspaper article announcing the Three-Minute Masterpieces on-line availably.

Here is the Seattle Times' description:

"A Friendly Game"

The laws of physics are nothing compared with the imagination of Bellevue filmmaker Ben Kadie, a seventh-grade student at Seattle Country Day School. Young Kadie's dazzling "A Friendly Game" is the ironic title of a tale about a tennis match that defies gravity and concludes with a ball banking furiously off trees and a few foreheads. Production stills reveal Kadie's homemade dolly (using a re-purposed skateboard) and a giant sheet of green fabric (hanging from his family's deck), against which special effects were shot. The resourceful Kadie (a winner of last year's Three-Minute Masterpiece contest as well) says he used real tennis balls during the shoot as well as an "animated, spinning tennis ball I added during editing."

LA "Keep up the good videos coming!!!!"
Tucson '"Friendly Game" is terrific [...] And you've got wonderful actors.'
Wausau, Wisconsin "Fun Movie and great special effects!"
Texas "Very interesting special effects! I liked it!"
On-line forum "That absolutely rocked! [...] It was amusing and just the right length; long enough for a good laugh and a "how'd he do that?" but short enough to keep the interest. Again, fantastically amusing and well-done video!"
Newcastle, WA "Hey, this is a great video! I really liked it and I hope you make more great videos like this!"
Seattle "Totally Cool soooo awesome"
YouTube Comment: "This is great!"
Peoria, IL 'I loved "A Friendly Game". I spent the weekend with some friends kids a couple of weeks ago and they liked it, too.'
An LA Filmmaker: “I love that short, amazing! You’re going to have to teach me all your special effects. Wow, that was great, a really good story mixed with effects, great!”
Theatre professional, Illinois:
Maryland: "Your video short was truly delightful, and your effects and animations are wondrous to behold! You'll be a favorite at a film festival!"
St. Louis: "Very funny short! [My daughter] won't stop bugging me to play it."
Unbiased star actor's grandparents: "That's terrific. We are waiting for the next one. What is the price of the shares in their company - we may be interested, for several hundred shares anyway!"
San Francisco: “I liked this a lot. [I'm going to forward this to a friend] I know she’ll laugh and laugh.”
Seattle: “Fun!”

(Send your unbiased, positive reviews to

Production Photos

The boys shoot the film on a local tennis courts. The day's light rain, while not ideal for filming, keeps other court users away.

Several shots in the film use Ben's newly-completed dolly. Its skateboard wheels ride on PVC pipe tracks. Nanci, Ben's mom, built the dolly with help from the Internet, Ben, and me.

Ben films Dylan with our family's new Canon HV30 camcorder.

Some of the film's shots will contain real tennis balls. Others will contain an animated, spinning tennis ball that Ben will add during editing.

We move the equipment to shoot me being hit in the head with the ball.

Returning to the house, the boy's shoot the film's green screen segments.

Related Web Site with More Films

The End