Etcetera - 6/11/13


Documentary filmmaking has opened doors of discovery and adventure for Walla Walla native Chris Cresci, a member of the Walla Walla High School Class of 2008.

Chris’ parents, Sue and Greg Cresci of Walla Walla, said their son co-produced the documentary “Among Giants,” which has been played at national and international film festivals. It’s finally been released for public consumption.

The gist of the film is described at “Risking injury and incarceration, an environmental activist disrupts the clear-cutting of an ancient redwood grove by sitting on a tiny platform a hundred feet up in the tree canopy. Already three years into the tree-sit when filming begins, ‘Among Giants’ blends vérité cinematography with intimate personal reflection to remarkable effect.”

“Over the past few years I have had the most amazing opportunities to travel the world and tell people’s stories,” Chris notes at his website, “From the rugged boulder fields of Joshua Tree National Park to the remote uranium mining towns of New Mexico, a small meditation yurt in German’s countryside to 100 feet up in the Redwoods of Northern California, every film has been a new and exciting adventure.”

His work has been screened on regional PBS stations around the nation, and at film festivals across the world, including AFI SilverDocs, the Big Sky and Atlanta film festivals and Telluride Mountain Film.

Chris lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., where he’s pursuing a career in freelance filmmaking and photography. “I’m always looking for the next great adventure and the next great story to tell.”

The 2012 alum of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film in Orange, Calif., earned a bachelor’s in public relations and advertising and a bachelor’s in fine arts in film production with an emphasis in documentaries.

In late May, Chris and movie-making partners and Chapman graduates Sam Price-Waldman and Ben Mullinkosson, launched their production company’s website at

At Chapman the trio filmed and produced “Among Giants,” their first documentary, which they say was one of the most successful student documentaries to come out of Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

In the first two days it had 28,000 views on and has been rated a “staff pick” and “short of the week.” It has screened on Outside Television and regional PBS stations across the country and was accepted at more than 50 film festivals around the world including AFI Silver Docs, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Santa Barbara Film Festival, Telluride Mountain Film and Doc NYC.

It won a variety of documentary awards, too.

In his free time, Chris is an avid rock climber who enjoys hiking and camping. This led to his thesis film, “Why We Climb,” a documentary about boulderers and rock climbers in Joshua Tree National Park.

For more details, contact Chris at

DeSales High School senior Reilly Roach and Alternative Education Program (Walla Walla Community College) senior Clare Reese received the Exchange Club of Walla Walla’s 2013 Youth of the Year $1,000 college scholarships.

A local Catholic schools student since pre-school, Reilly participated in Knowledge Bowl for four years, two years as team captain. He was on the math team, was ASB vice president and a member of National Honor Society. For four years he played football, baseball and basketball. A Boy Scout, he holds the Eagle Scout rank as well as a 4.0 GPA. He plans to study business at Gonzaga University this fall. His parents are Jacquie and Dan Roach.

Clare is off to Whitworth University this fall to earn a degree in elementary education. She demonstrated excellent academic promise based on SAT and cumulative GPA, was invited to Whitworth’s honors colloquium for incoming freshmen and received an annually renewable $17,500 merit scholarship.

She has loved being with and working with children and has taken several early childhood education courses during her senior year at WWCC. Through 4-H she received honors for animal showmanship at the Walla Walla County Fair and for her 4-H secretary’s record book. She is involved in her church and enjoys spending time with her family, including parents Daniel and Cynthia Reese. She enjoys horseback riding, cooking, skiing, hiking and playing piano in her spare time.

Exchange club Youth of the Year Committee members are Mark Higgins, chairman, and Kim McDaniels, Josh Gonzales, James Payne and Tera Davis.

Walla Walla American Association of University Women Branch awarded its first scholarship to a local woman at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.

The event is co-sponsored by the AAUW Leadership and Training Institute, said local member Jenny Romine in a release. The scholarship is for college leaders from around the country. Recipients will attend a weekend conference in the Washington, D.C., area.

The first recipient here is Ionne Valesco, a psychology major at Walla Walla Community College. She also works 40 hours on the weekends for Residential Services, providing care to disabled adults.

In her scholarship application, Ionne said her motivation to attend

NCCWSL comes from the “desire to continue to be a leader in programs for my future career. I visualize myself making a political difference in this country. As a Latina woman leader, I believe that leading for change is possible with the proper tools, which I can gain through conferences like this. Through the workshops I hope to learn more about parliamentary procedure, lobbying, enhancing communication, and interactive methods for meetings.”

Ionne was nominated by WWCC sociology instructor Susan Palmer, who said Ionne “exhibits an ability to connect verbally with the content of my sociology lectures. She has the self-confidence to speak up in class ... (and) is a natural leader who also recognizes the dignity of every human being, regardless of circumstances.”

Ionne will talk to the local AAUW Branch about her experiences at NCCWSL.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313.


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