Dancing on the Edge

Tom Zalutko MFA ’10 and Emily Abramson ’14 pose on the red carpet at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival. (Photo credit, Highland Light Productions, LLC)

Pacific alumnus Tom Zalutko MFA ’10 and current student Emily Abramson ’14 joined forces in “Dancing on the Edge,” which was shown at two international film festivals in August and won many awards.

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When Tom Zalutko MFA ’10 and Emily Abramson ’14 began working on the film “Dancing on the Edge” in Vancouver, Wash., they realized almost immediately they had something in common – Pacific University. Zalutko was a recent MFA graduate and Abramson was a freshman.

While Zalutko is a partner in Highland Light Productions, the company producing “Dancing on the Edge,” Abramson became involved in a much different manner. 

The film, which focuses on a young ballerina named Corey who struggles through addiction and tries to get her life back together, has a strong tie to dance. When Abramson heard that auditions were being held at her former dance studio, she decided to try out.

Abramson ended up getting the second lead, Diane, a “misguided” dancer who meets Corey at her dance studio. Together, the girls fall deeper into trouble.

Not only was Zalutko a partner in the production company, he was an important part of the cast. He played Corey’s father, a character Zalutko describes as being more interested in his job than in dealing with family issues.

The film took 23 days to shoot and two months of post-production work. The film has won numerous awards, including the Triangle Award from the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival; Best Cinematography from the New York City International Film Festival; and Award of Excellence for a Feature Film at the IndieFest.

According to Zalutko, the feeling he had when he saw the film accepted into the film festivals was “unbelievable.”

Zalutko and his production partners are already planning their next film, “Michael’s Ride,” and Abramson is continuing her dance minor at Pacific University and looking forward to more acting projects.


"Winner—Traingle Award"

"Best Director" Alexander "Sandy" Mackenzie
"Best Young Actress" Nicole McCullough
"Best Cinematography" Daniel Steely

"Award of Excellence" Feature Film
"Award of Excellence" Leading Actress Nicole McCullough
"Award of Merit" Supporting Actor Thomas Zalutko
"Award of Merit" Inspirational/Motivational Film
"Award of Merit" Overall Post-Production Rexpost