Bits 'n' Pieces: Photos put focus on charity

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Photography has long been Frank Nicholls’ counterbalance to his hectic days as president of Vancouver’s Silicon Forest Electronics.

The 63-year-old, who lives in Woodland, has had a passion for capturing images since his college days.

“You get to use the left brain as well as the right brain,” Nicholls said.

Over the past few years, he has been using his talent to help highlight the work of his favorite charity, Medical Teams International.

His photos, along with those of several others, are included in “Real Life,” an exhibit that shows some of the work the charity does to provide medical and dental care all over the world. The images are aimed at adults and children over age 13.

“The exhibit has full life-sized images and takes you through the relief efforts of the international team,” Nicholls said. “It captures the sights, but also the sounds, smells and other aspects of where the group has been.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public at Medical Teams International’s headquarters in Tigard, Ore. Visit here for more information.

Vancouver-made film builds buzz at festivals

“Dancing on the Edge,” the family feature film by Vancouver-based Highland Light Productions, is making a splash on the festival circuit. The film recently screened at the New York City International Film Festival, where it won the Best Director (Alexander “Sandy” MacKenzie), Best Cinematography (Daniel Steely) and Best Young Actress (Nicole McCullough) awards.

A number of cast and crew members went to New York for the festival, including MacKenzie and his wife, Victoria. In addition to directing the movie, MacKenzie wrote and produced it. He’s the founder, president and chief executive officer of Highland Light.

The film screened at Tribeca Cinemas. It was so packed that there was a second al fresco screening at Times Square that drew 7,000 people.

“It was bigger than life. It was almost surreal,” said MacKenzie, 64, a Vancouver resident. “This picture is grabbing people by the heart and holding them.”

The film also won a number of awards at Indie Fest: the Award of Excellence for Best Feature and Best Leading Actress (McCullough) and the Award of Merit for Best Supporting Actor (Camas’ Tom Zalutko), Best Overall Post-Production (Tara Krick), and Best Motivational/Inspirational Film.

The film also screened at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival in August, where it won the Triangle Award. The first screening at Kiggins Theatre was so packed that 200 people were turned away, and festival organizers offered an encore screening of the film.

Next up is the Tacoma Film Festival, in October. MacKenzie hopes that this festival success will lead to a distribution deal.

“We definitely have got a buzz going,” he said. “We’re putting Vancouver on the map.”

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, email features@columbian.com.