Alone Together




Running time: 8 min 53 sec

The story of Megan, a closeted gay 15 year old, who runs away from her mother's expectations. Hiding in an abandoned subway tunnel, she uses spray paint to create art for her mother. Megan hopes that through this gallery of graffiti she can help her mother understand who she is.

Director Ben Kadie (age 17) filmed in downtown Seattle and in the 100-year-old underground bunkers of Fort Casey State Park. Ben, a high schooler, turned these locations into graffiti-covered subway tunnels using visual effects including motion tracking and 3D modeling. Emma Rae Johnson leads a cast that includes Seattle-area actors Molly Berg, Andrew Tribolini, Rex Davison, and Victoria Puckett. The film features licensed songs by Now, Now and Bethurum.






  Full Film  

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Also see the Production Photos Page


Molly Berg as Megan's mother and Victoria Puckett as young Megan



Molly Berg as Megan's mother and Victoria Puckett as young Megan



Emma Rae Johnson plays Megan with John Kauffman



Emma Rae Johnson as Megan.



Emma Rae Johnson as Megan with mural of Abby Carter



Molly Berg as Megan's mother and Emma Rae Johnson as Megan



Emma Rae Johnson as Megan



Emma Rae Johnson as Megan



Emma Rae Johnson as Megan



Rex Davison and Andrew Tribolini as police officers and Emma Rae Johnson as Megan



Andrew Tribolini as a police officer



Rex Davison as a police officer



Andrew Tribolini as a police officer



Emma Rae Johnson as Megan




Best Special Effects Award for Teen/Parent/Graffiti Film

10/9/2013: On Sunday in New York City's Times Square, the All-American High School Film Festival gave their "Best Special Effects" award to Ben Kadie's The Painted Girl.

Unlike some of Ben's previous work, this film has no
monsters and no shipwrecks. Instead, it uses visual effects tell the story of a 15-year-old graffiti artist (Emma Rae Johnson) and her mom (Molly Berg). The production shot in the 100-year-old underground bunkers of Fort Casey State Park, but unsurprisingly park rangers wouldn't allow the fort's walls to be painted. To realize his vision for the story, Ben first created original art using both conventional and digital materials. He then used visual effects -- including motion tracking, compositing, and 3D modeling -- to turn the bunkers into graffiti-covered subway tunnels.

In addition to the award,
The Painted Girl earned five festival nominations for Best Overall Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Cinematography. The festival's full list of award winners is here. Stills and a trailer from the film are here.

The Painted Girl @ Phenom Film Festival / Sept 19-22 / LA / Best Student Short Film 17 And Under
The Painted Girl @ Woodstock Film Festival / Oct 4 / NY
The Painted Girl @ San Pedro International Film Festival / Oct 6, 11 AM / Pop-Up Movie Theatre,
421 W 6th St, San Pedro, CA
The Painted Girl @ Fresno Reel Pride / Sept 18-20 / CA
The Painted Girl @ Chicago International REEL Shorts Festival / Sept 14 / IL
The Painted Girl @ Naperville Independent Film Festival / Sept 15 / IL
The Painted Girl @ White Sands International Film Festival / Sept 4-8 / NM
The Painted Girl @ Oceanside International Film Festival / August 25 / CA
The Painted Girl @ Film Festival Twain Harte
August 30-Sept. 2
delayed by wildfire / CA
The Painted Girl @ Sidewalk Film Festival
August 24 / Birmingham, AL
The Painted Girl @ Columbia Gorge International Film Fest
August 14-18 / Vancouver, WA
The Painted Girl @ Mosaic World Film Festival
August 3 / Rockford, IL
The Painted Girl (6 minute version)
@ Interlake High School Sendoff / June 17

Return to Comic-Con

 7/17/2013: For the second year in a row, one of Ben's film will screen at Comic-Con, the nation's largest pop culture convention. Ben's film Sparks in the Night, a 2009 film noir parody, will screen as part of the children's film program, curated by San Diego International Children's Film Festival. Last year, Comic-Con screened Secret Club. Other programs at this year's Comic-Con include panels with actors Hugh Jackman and Simon Pegg.

Ben is hard at work on
Big Silver Nights, his next film, and won't be able to personally attend the convention. (The new film, also a comedy, recently started fund raising.)

Sparks in the Night screens Sunday at 3:30pm in room 9.

The Painted Girl @ Long Island International Film Expo
July 20 / Bellmore, NY
The Painted Girl @ Interrobang Film Festival
June 28 / Des Moines, IA
The Painted Girl @ Filmstock Colorado Film Festival
June 22 / Denver
The Painted Girl @ LA Film Fest / June 15 and June 22
The Painted Girl @ Greenville International Film Festival
June 8 / SC

Award: Best Emerging Filmmaker

The Painted Girl @ deadCenter Film Festival / June 8 / Oklahoma City
The Painted Girl @ Upstate Youth Film Festival / June 1 / SC
The Painted Girl @ BAYMN Fest / June 1 / San Francisco, CA
The Painted GirlTreasure Coast International Film Festival
May 31 / Port St. Lucie, FL
Youth Grand Prize at Seattle International Film Festival

5/27/2013: The Seattle International Film Festival has given The Painted Girl (6 minute version) its Wavemaker Award, the grand prize for filmmakers 18 and under. This was Ben's fifth film in SIFF. The previous four films entered via the Seattle Times/SIFF Three-Minute Masterpiece Contest.

(Family pictures)

Award: WaveMaker Award (Top Youth Award)



The Painted Girl Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival
 May 24 / Canada

The Painted Girl @ Fastnet Short Film Festival
May 25 / Schull, West Cork, Ireland

Award: Best 17-and-Under Filmmaker


Ben to Receive Medal in Washington DC Ceremony

May 6, 2013: The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, established in 1964 by executive order of the President, has designated Ben a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. The award, based on artistic and academic achievements, is the highest scholastic honor available to graduating high school seniors. The 20 Scholars in the Arts join 121 other scholars to receive medals at a White House ceremony. Also, on Sunday, June 16, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will screen the films of the two Cinematic Arts winners: Ben's The Painted Girl and his friend Cameron Covell's The Most Beautiful Thing. The screening is free.

Press Release from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Smithsonian screening details
Early newspaper article about nomination


The Seattle Times: "A Mini-Movie Master: A Former Winner of the 3-Minute Masterpiece Contest Goes on to Bigger Things"

By Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times movie critic

March 10, 2013
: "Ben Kadie knew that he wanted to a filmmaker in the third grade. With a friend he started" ... More > (Image) 
The Painted Girl @ National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) / April 25-28 / Seattle

This is 17-year-old Ben Kadie's record seventh year and eighth film in NFFTY. This screening will be the film's local première, so expect most of the cast and crew will be in attendance. (photos)

Award: 'Be Yourself' Audience Award


The Painted Girl @ Teen Truth Film Festival / CA

Award: Truth Award (1 of 5 top)

The Painted Girl @ KIDS FIRST! / NM
The Painted Girl @ Santa Monica Teen Film Festival / June 1-2 / CA

Award: Best Live Action Film

The Painted Girl @ Grand Rapids Film Festival / May 15-19 / MI
The Painted Girl @ Rainier Independent Film Festival / May 10-12 / Ashford, WA
The Painted Girl @ Lovett School High School Film Fest / May 4 / Atlanta, GA
The Painted Girl @ International Family Film Festival / May 4 / Hollywood, CA

Award: Winner Age 14-18 Drama, Independent

The Painted Girl @ Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival / May 1

The film is
on a program of short films about woman that "tells the beautiful, intricate, and even hilarious stories of women as they embark into the world of love, loss, and everything in between." This will be the film's first LGBT festival screening.
The Painted Girl @ Newport Beach Film Festival / April 28 / CA

Cast member Molly Berg, who now lives in Irvine, will attend. Last year, Secret Club played the festival. Two years before that Sparks in the Night won the festival's top youth award. In 2009, the festival showed A Friendly Game.

The Painted Girl @ Toronto Student Film Fest / April 26 / Canada
The Painted Girl @ Arizona International Film Festival / April 27 / Tucson

Ben's grandparents will attend and have, they say, recruited many friends.


On Saturday April 27, the film plays the San Francisco International Film Festival. Last year SFIFF screened Secret Club and two years before that Sparks in the Night.

Also, The Bay Area Reporter newspaper previews films at the San Francisco International Film Festival and calls THE PAINTED GIRL a "must see".

The Painted Girl @ West Chester Film Festival / April 27 / PA
The Painted Girl @ Lifetree Film Fest / April 20 / Loveland, CO

Award: Budding Talent Award (Top Youth Award)

The Painted Girl @ Nashville Film Festival / April 20
The Painted Girl @ Reel Teal Film Festival / April 19 / Wilmington, NC
The Painted Girl @ ViewFinders Atlantic Film Festival / April 18 / Halifax, Canada
The Painted Girl @ Reality Bytes / April 8-11 / DeKalb, IL

Award: Best High School Film

The Painted Girl @ Albany Film Festival / March 2 / CA
The Painted Girl @ Sun Valley / March 14-17 / ID
The Painted Girl @ Crossroads Film Festival / April 12-14 / Jackson, MS
The Painted Girl @ Capital City Film Festival / April 11-14 / Lansing, MI
The Painted Girl @ da Vinci Film Festival / July 19-21 / Corvallis, OR
The Painted Girl @ JamFest Indie Film Festival / February 23 / Amite, LA /

Award: Platinum Award (Festival's Top Award)

The Painted Girl @ San Luis Obispo International Film Festival / March 10 / CA
The Painted Girl @ Short, Sweet Film Festival / February 23-24 / Cleveland, OH

Award: Best Film (Festival's Top Award)

The Painted Girl @ Flathead Lake International Cinemafest/ February 2 / Polson, MT /

Awards: FLIC Jr Best of the Fest and Judges Best of Fest Honorable Mention

The Painted Girl @ Phoenix Film Festival, April 4-11

Ben Wins Two Top Regional Scholastic Awards

January 31, 2013: The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers today awarded a Regional Gold Key to a portfolio of eight of Ben's films. The portfolio included six previously-recognized films and two new ones: The Painted Girl and Soapbar Butterflies (an experimental film using puppets to dramatize an original slam poem). The Painted Girl also won a second Gold Key individually.

This marks Ben's fifth year (and seventh and eighth films) to receive the Alliance's highest regional honor. Three previous films went on to win National Silver Medals and two went on to win National Gold Medals.

The Alliance has given awards since 1923 to teens such as Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, and Robert Redford.

Ben Named YoungArts National Finalist for The Painted Girl

November 13, 2012: YoungArts, considered by many to be the most prestigious arts competition for young adults, has named Ben a National Finalist. The award includes a minimum $1000 scholarship. Also included is an all-expense-paid, January trip to Miami for YoungArts Week, a series of master classes and showcase performances. This year, of 10,000 applicants, 150 were selected via blind judging as National Finalists. Ben submitted his new film The Painted Girl along with clips from his previous film Alone Together.

This is Ben's first award from YoungArts and the first award for The Painted Girl. Ben's other national awards include five National Medals (two Gold, three Silver) from
Scholastic Arts & Writing and, on the academic side, a National Merit Semifinalist designation.


"Local filmmaker named YoungArts finalist"

Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer
December 27, 2012 · Updated 10:00 AM

When you work really hard and follow your passion, sometimes dreams really can come true. And if there is any evidence of this, it comes in the form of Ben Kadie.