Bridging the gap between Renton and Hollywood

Armed with a passion that’s reserved for hopeless romantics, Ben Andrews has been trying to bring more national spotlights over to the local film scene.

Ben Andrews is an actor/director/producer who has been working on bridging the gap between Hollywood and the local film scene

The film scene in Washington, especially in Renton, might be small and seemingly insignificant compared to the big guns in Hollywood, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a gem that’s waiting to be polished.

At least, that’s what Ben Andrews believes.

Andrews is a well-known figure in Renton as he’s actively fought to preserve and promote the local film and art scene, not just through his work, but in Olympia. Not only is Andrews an actor, director, producer (he has appeared in the TV series “The Librarians”), but he is also part of the Renton Municipal Arts Commission and serves as director of events at the Chamber of Commerce.

“I’ve lived in Renton for 13 years and I love this city,” he said. “A lot of change is coming to this city and I want that change to be film, too. There’s a solid core of filmmakers here that has been building in the past five or six years, and a lot of these guys are respected in the Washington film community.”

Armed with a passion that’s reserved for hopeless romantics, Andrews has been trying to bridge the gap and bring more national spotlight over to the local film scene.

“Most of my career, I’ve worked through our local leadership system,” he said. “But I think I’m old enough and dumb enough to realize that we’re in this age where things are changing so rapidly that we’re having to reinvent everything. Starting with the relationships with filmmakers and producers in L.A. — I want to do my art here and not have to move to L.A. But L.A. is where you have the people who can help you take it to the next level. I want to have both worlds. I think we can live here but we can collaborate with the professionals in L.A. And I’m naive enough to know that we can do both.”

How is he colliding his worlds together? Through the Holly Shorts Film Festival (HSFF).

HSFF is an annual independent short film festival located in Hollywood, CA that features an eclectic mixture of short films of various genres from around the world. Through some networking, Andrews was able to create a Washington Film Block.

This means that Andrews’ production company, Evil Slate, sponsors the event, and in return, they are able to choose the winner of a screenplay competition from the previous year, and help the screenplay make into a film that will be premiered at HSFF the next year.

This year, the film that’s being featured at the festival is “The Lunchbox Brigade,” a coming-of-age story written and directed by Kyle Thiele. Though Thiele was from Ohio, Andrews was able to bring in an alliance of local crew and producers, and shoot the film locally.

Andrews is also part of the leadership for Renton FilmFrenzy, SIFF Renton and REEL Renton. In 2014, he was able to invite co-founders of HSFF from Hollywood to judge Renton FilmFrenzy, the 50-hour film competition.

But for someone who has dedicated the rest of his life towards the promotion and advocacy of the arts, his love affair with the craft is fairly new.

In fact, it wasn’t until 10 years ago that he became an actor.

Having grown up in a fundamental Christian household that didn’t practice or endorse the arts, Andrews said that he felt like “something was missing, but I didn’t know what was missing.”

“When I turned 30, I became brave enough to try,” he said. “I was terrified of acting, actually.”

So he gave up his years of project management for scripts, screenplays, auditions, callbacks and the spotlight. What started off as a hobby and a mission to find himself has turned into a gratifying career.

“I’m not a good actor,” he admits. “But in this journey, I realized I could direct or produce because I was a good project manager. Producing is just project manger, just change out the product and the vendors, and it’s the same thing. But I always wanted to be in front of the camera, whether it was in front of the camera or whether it was behind it. That magic on the film set — it’s pretty amazing.”

And it is in this magic Andrews says he has found himself.

“I spent my early years external — who do I have to please, what do I have to do, or what do I have to do to make sure I fit it — but now that I look internal, it helps me really know who I am. It helps me create magic, whether it’s acting, directing or producing.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

Renton church offers online funeral services

As a result of COVID-19 closures, the church decided to find a way for people to gather and mourn loved ones

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Relay for Life of South King County moves online

American Cancer Society donations to be taken during May 30 virtual gathering

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                A woman checks out jars of honey and jam at the Renton Farmers Market in 2018. This year social distancing guidelines are changing the look of the market.
Renton Farmers Market is back June 9

The 19th season of the market will look a little different due to social distancing guidelines

Auburn Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-21 season

Begins with Summer Series scheduled to start June 21

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Auburn dance studio finds creative solutions to keep going during COVID-19

Pacific Ballroom Dance moves to online classes; group returned home early from national competition

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                Boon Boona Coffee in downtown Renton is well-known for its large cafe space, but owner Efrem Fesaha has found a creative way to keep people to to-go orders only, putting a table right at the door. The order from the Governor hasn’t been easy for small businesses in Renton, and many are just taking it day to day and hoping for financial relief from local and regional leaders.
Renton communities reach out during shut-in

Local organizations, volunteers and businesses try to make the best of quarantine

Renton and AARP team up for seniors

New fitness park to funded and will open late in the summer

Renton March 2020 Youth of the Month
March Rotary Youth of the Month

Rotary members recognize three Renton School District high school students each month… Continue reading