Monday, October 24

Controversy and Hope

This coming weekend, Vision Forum Ministries will host the Second Annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival and Jubilee Awards at the Lila Cockrell Theater and Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The festival will feature more than forty independent Christian films presented on four screens over a three-day span. Once again, I have the privilege of being one of the judges—though I will not actually travel to San Antonio this time. Indeed, King’s Meadow will actually host a companion film conference here in Franklin. But, I have had the chance to view all of the films submitted to the festival and I am even now working on reviewing each of films of the finalists. I am taking my responsibilities seriously. The stakes are high, after all. The “Best of Festival” winner will receive the $10,000 Grand Prize Jubilee Award.

All this is quite timely and quite important. “The mission of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival is to encourage Christian filmmakers to neither retreat from society, nor to synthesize with paganism--but to do God’s work, God’s way, from the ground level up,” explained Doug Phillips, the festival’s founder. “We are urging filmographers to force the antithesis between cultural righteousness and cultural evil.”

Last year’s inaugural festival drew more than seven hundred attendees, including filmmakers from England and Scotland. More than twelve hundred are expected to attend this year’s event.

“We are pleased that the call to take a stand for Christ in the critical arena of film has resonated with filmmakers across the globe,” remarked Phillips, “What this festival showcases is a groundswell of interest on the part of aspiring Christian filmographers to chart a new path and to define success using a biblical criteria--not to except the scraps from Hollywood’s table.”

“Our film festival is controversial,” continued Phillips,” not because it seeks to be avant-garde or push the envelope of visual acceptability. It is controversial, because it dares to proclaim that the Lordship of Christ applies to our methodologies as well as our ends. It is controversial, not because of the offensive things you will see, but because of what you will not see.”

In addition to the film screenings, the festival will offer workshops with seasoned filmographers, including veteran producer Geoff Botkin, adventure cinematographer David Rasmussen, and composer Ron Owen, who wrote the score for “Beyond the Gates of Splendor.” Bible teacher R.C. Sproul, Jr. and radio host, Kevin Swanson, will also address the gathering.

Festival attendees will be treated to outdoor entertainment at the Riverwalk’s enchanting Arneson River Theatre with dramatic presentations by narrator and actor, George Sarris, and rousing ballads with maritime balladeer, Charlie Zahm.

While some may not agree with the standards advanced at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, organizers believe the event provides a forum for hope for Christian filmographers, “Those who take part in the festival you will not only hear a message of hope,” explained Phillips, “but they will witness the fruits of the hopeful -- men and women laboring to advance the crown rights of Christ in a medium of defining significance for twenty-first century Christians.”

Festival passes are $125 for adults, $100 for students. Passes allow access to all the festival events. Space is limited. For more information on the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival and Jubilee Awards, please visit the vision forum film festival web site .

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