LITTLE HOPE WAS ARSON—which reportedly drew standing-room-only crowds at film festivals—has now unveiled its trailer. “Little Hope Was Arson” weaves thought-provoking questions throughout a gripping true-crime drama, in which communities are challenged, families brought to crisis and, ultimately, redemption sought. Distribution company, The Orchard, and production companies theCollaborate and Goodnight Smoke, will debut the film—part detective story, part faith film—on November 21 in New York, and November 23, in the heart of East Texas where the story unfolded.
On November 28, the film’s release will spread to Los Angeles, and a number of other cities, including several in Texas. LITTLE HOPE WAS ARSON tells the 2010 story of ten East Texas churches set ablaze in one month, sparking the largest manhunt in regional history. But once the crime was solved, the real mystery began. What drove two young men to do it? What effect did it have on their families and the churches? And when a church loses its building… can it still stand?
“Little Hope Was Arson” is a feature-length documentary that tells the amazing true story of two boys with dark secrets, and the community struggling to forgive them. The film paints a fascinating portrait of the American Bible Belt set against the backdrop of a thrilling crime investigation. No stone is left unturned and even Satan himself is considered a suspect in this gripping investigation of a community terrorized from the inside out.
“From the moment I read about these fires, I knew there was a redemptive story that could rise from these violent and tragic acts,” said Theo Love, the film’s director. “When churches and families face such loss—of property and relationships—it can turn attention to what really matters.”
Produced by Trenton Waterson of theCollaborate and Love of Goodnight Smoke, LITTLE HOPE WAS ARSON was executive produced by Bryan Storkel.
PBS’ Independent Lens, with U.S. broadcast rights, will air the feature-length documentary during its 2014-15 season. Film and music distributor, The Orchard, acquired U.S. and Canadian rights other than broadcast and will release the film in theaters in multiple markets and through digital outlets.
Love—the child of foreign missionaries—was particularly attracted to the story as he was raised worshipping overseas most often without the benefit of a church building. Returned to the states, he worked in building maintenance for a California mega-church.
“It was a huge sanctuary, and I often worked in it alone at night,” Love recalls. “It really made me consider the values of Western Christianity. Was that the church? Or is it the people? It was these experiences and questions that helped me to dig deeper into this heartbreaking story.”
East Texas, affectionately referred to by locals as “the Buckle of the Bible Belt,” is home to over 1,400 churches. Every aspect of life is centered on these houses of worship.
On January 1, 2010, Little Hope Baptist Church burned to the ground. Fire officials concluded the fire was caused by an electrical problem in the century-old church’s wiring. But when nine more churches went up in flames, the rural communities of East Texas feared for the worst. With the clues beginning to point towards arson, hundreds of local law enforcement, Texas Rangers, and ATF investigators scoured the area in what unraveled to be the largest criminal investigation in East Texas history. The high profile case soon took a more personal turn when Texas Rangers followed a young man named Jason Bourque to a local store. Moments later, a janitor found scratched in the store’s bathroom the words, “Little Hope Was Arson.” Jason Bourque (19) and his best friend, Daniel McAllister (21), who were both members of a local Baptist church, were now the primary suspects.
Lead investigators Sgt. Brent Davis and Special Agent Larry Smith contacted the dispatch center to run a basic background check on the new suspects. With several hundred officers investigating the crimes that spread into three counties, the dispatch center played a pivotal role in the processing and organizing of information. Christy McAllister was the DPS Dispatcher who answered this particular call from the investigators. Her world was shattered as she heard the names of the suspects: her brother and his best friend.
Jason and Daniel first met in Sunday school as children. Children’s pastor, James Ellis, watched as these two young men went from a deep faith in God in his church classroom every Sunday, to one day seeing their mug shots on the news, arrested for the heinous crimes of burning churches. His forgiveness for them came easily; his forgiveness of himself would become an ongoing process.
Once the arrests had been made, the entire community now wrestled with practicing the forgiveness that they preached. While many were vocal in their forgiveness, others were filled with hatred toward the boys. The trial and subsequent multiple-life sentences dolled out on Jason and Daniel painted a true picture of how the community felt about these boys. Not one person was killed or seriously injured during the fires, and yet both were handed extreme sentences normally reserved for violent crimes.
October 30th, 2014 | Articles | Comments »
Hundreds of thousands of people in early October (2014) saw the inaugural film of Dr. James Dobson’s new series BUILDING A FAMILY LEGACY, in a simulcast world premiere.
The Legacy project caps the decades-long career of America’s well-known family expert and encompasses eight films, eight books and eight study guides. More than 7,000 churches and other groups simulcast YOUR LEGACY, the first film in the series. The full series, with related books and guides, are available now for individuals, families and church libraries at Christian retailers.
“This is the culmination of my life’s pursuit—helping parents build a family legacy of faith to endure for generations,” Dr. Dobson said. “Despite what the media and popular culture claim, there is deep hunger for a family emphasis on faith and passing our values to the next generation. The worldwide turnout for BUILDING A FAMILY LEGACY shows it.”
Simulcast sites spanned 49 states and 21 countries, including many areas especially challenging for faith messages to reach, such as Malaysia, China and Afghanistan.
The centerpiece of BUILDING A FAMILY LEGACY is an eight-DVD series that combines four updated films from Dr. Dobson’s classic Focus on the Family videos, with four new films from Dr. Dobson and his son, Ryan.
The simulcast film, YOUR LEGACY, is a personal story of faith that traces Dr. Dobson’s own family history. More than a century ago, his great-grandfather began to pray daily that the next four generations would be Christians.
The BUILDING A FAMILY LEGACY films:
- Your Legacy
- Bringing up Boys
- Bringing up Girls
- Love For A Lifetime
- The Strong-Willed Child
- Dare To Discipline
- Straight Talk To Men
- Wanting To Believe with Ryan Dobson
The Legacy books, leader kits and DVDs:
- Your Legacy—The Greatest Gift
- Wanting to Believe—Faith, Family and Finding an Exceptional Life
- The New Dare to Discipline
- The New Strong-Willed Child
- Bringing Up Girls
- Bringing Up Boys
- Straight Talk to Men
- Love for a Lifetime
In the late 1970s, more than 80 million people—a third of the U.S. population at the time—saw the original Focus on the Family films that changed the way a generation viewed family and parenting. In 2008, Ryan Dobson found those films gathering dust and convinced his father that today’s generation of young parents, more than ever, needs Dr. Dobson’s timeless insight.
Recently, pastors, politicians and celebrities joined more than 500 people and groups from more than 10 countries to see David take on Goliath in a Christian movie shot in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and London.
“I was so blessed seeing this film,” said Jimmy Delshad, Mayor of Beverly Hills. Mayor Delshad reportedly echoed the sentiments of the vast majority of people who attended.
“I thought Tim Chey (the director) did a stunning and remarkable job,” said Pastor Mike Lewis outside the packed theater at Fox Studios. “A lot of people in my section were crying—very moving and, I add, very God-honoring film.”
“Amazing and awesome film on crazy faith,” said Joel Rodrigo. “I can’t wait to watch the film again. Huge blessing seeing this.”
The film stars Miles Sloman, who plays David. Reportedly, over 4,000 actors submitted their names to play the role. Other actors in “David and Goliath” include Richard Summers-Calvert, Makenna Guyer, Paul Hughes, Simon Davies, Joseph Emms, and Jerry Sokolosky, who plays Goliath. Sokolosky is one of the tallest men in the world at 7’8”.
“Jerry was a tremendous blessing,” says the director Tim Chey. “We didn’t want to create a CGI imitation like ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and so our casting directors set out to find the biggest guy and he’s very big.”
The casting team scoured the planet until they discovered the Canadian actor in Toronto. “They flew Jerry to North Africa just to meet with the director and producers,” says Michelle Albright, the U.S. Casting Associate. “While there, they decided to cast Jerry and the rest is history.”
“Goliath stood at nine feet,” adds Chey. “So Jerry is only about a foot and four inches shorter than the real thing. He adds an incredible, realistic dimension.”
Sloman and other cast members flew from London to be at the premiere.
The film wrapped principal photography in North Africa and in studios in London.
“David and Goliath” looks at one of the most powerful and beloved Bible stories of all time. The film focuses on the early life of David who fought against the Philistine giant, Goliath against all odds.
Audiences for faith-based films are growing at a record pace according to reports.
“David and Goliath” is set for an early-2015 nationwide theater release. The film team is currently raising $10 million in P&A (prints and advertising) to be on 1,000 screens.
Timothy A. Chey also produced another epic film, “Freedom” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and William Sadler that recently opened in Australian theaters and will soon come to the U.S. (January 2015). He also directed “Epic Journey” that took him to 29 countries and was submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for most countries traveled for a feature film.
October 14th, 2014 | Articles | Comments »
“Left Behind,” which opened on October 3, 2014 on 1,790 screens across the United States and 35 in Canada, garnered strong box office from moviegoers this past weekend commanding $6.3 million ($3,452 per screen average) in receipts. Although questioned by critics, audiences turned the other cheek and flocked to theaters to watch Nicolas Cage lead a cast through the story of the Rapture that brings Biblical prophecy to life in modern times. leftbehindmovie.com
Producer and co-writer Paul Lalonde commented, “We are pleased with the response the film has had from moviegoers across North America. With a marketing budget less than one tenth of what the studios spend on the movies we’re competing with, we had focused our marketing efforts toward our core Christian audience. We had a strong social presence and knew awareness in the core demo was strong. Our goal was to enlist those fans to spread the word and to bring friends and family who weren’t necessarily believers. I have to give thanks to director Vic Armstrong, star Nicolas Cage and the rest of the cast and team that brought it all together so well. But most of all, I want to thank the fans for supporting this movie, and all faith based movies, by actually buying tickets and going to the theater.”
Freestyle Releasing’s Co-President Mark Borde stated, “We were bullish on this film from the very beginning. Originally slated for a 1,200 screen run In the U.S., we bumped it up to 1,790 theaters due to the pre-release demand. We are very pleased with these results in light of being up against five films, each in more than 3,000 theaters with far larger marketing budgets.”
“Left Behind” is based on the New York Times bestselling book series of the same name, co-authored by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Published in 32 different languages, the series has sold more than 63 million copies and is one of the best-selling fiction series of all time. The film follows Rayford Steele (Nicolas Cage) who is piloting a commercial airliner just hours after the Rapture when millions of people in the plane and around the globe suddenly vanish. Thirty thousand feet over the Atlantic, Rayford is faced with a damaged plane, terrified passengers, and a desperate desire to get back to his family. On the ground, his daughter, Chloe Steele (Cassi Thomson) is among those left behind, forced to navigate a world of madness as she searches for her lost mother and brother. “Left Behind” was produced by Paul Lalonde, Michael Walker and Ed Clydesdale and co-written by Paul Lalonde and John Patus.
See our review page on “Left Behind.”
About Stoney Lake Entertainment
Stoney Lake Entertainment (SLE) is a film production company created in 2012 by CEO Paul Lalonde, co-founder of Cloud Ten Pictures. SLE is focused on producing big budget faith-themed films for a wider audience. LEFT BEHIND is SLE’s first feature film.
October 14th, 2014 | Articles | Comments »
A new video called “19 Kids and Preaching,” released by Living Waters, shows that the Duggar family members are passionate about their Christian faith. While they often pray and talk about God on their TV program, this video shows them getting out of their comfort zone to share their faith with others.
Ray Comfort, Executive Producer of “19 Kids and Preaching,” says, “If you follow the famous family, you’ve no doubt enjoyed watching them throughout their many adventures. From shopping and preparing meals, to traveling and skydiving, with a family of 19 kids it’s always life at the extremes. But you’ve never seen them do anything as exciting or controversial as open-air preaching.”
Here is the trailer: 19 Kids & Preaching Trailer
On the video, Comfort, a seasoned evangelist and TV host, teaches the family how to follow in the footsteps of the great evangelists of the past by preaching the gospel in the open air. Joshua Duggar preaches outside the White House, and Jim Bob and Michelle testify to their Christian faith in the open air at a local university.
Details about the DVD, which was released this week, can be found at www.19KidsAndPreaching.com
October 14th, 2014 | Articles | Comments »
On Valentine’s Weekend, OLD FASHIONED, a New Indie Faith Film, Opens Opposite FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
This Valentine’s 2015, romance-minded moviegoers can choose between the girl-meets-bondage story of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, in which a couple explores their dark desires, or its polar opposite, OLD FASHIONED, about two broken people coming out of the dark into real love.
View the trailer at oldfashionedmovie.com.
“The timing of it all definitely provides a stark contrast—and that’s the point,” OLD FASHIONED writer/director/star Rik Swartzwelder said. “The conversation should be pushed. Not all fantasy is harmless and not all paths lead to true and lasting love. We have two movies here, both about people with troubled pasts… but both taking very different approaches to getting romance right.””
The romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh (Swartzwelder), a former frat boy who gives up his carousing ways and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance. When Amber Hewson (Elizabeth Ann Roberts), a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories, and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds, as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” courtship in contemporary America.
“The wheels of OLD FASHIONED were in motion long before the FIFTY SHADES book got to Hollywood,” Swartzwelder said. “We didn’t create our film in response to any other specific book or film, at all. …but the decision to hold-off on our release so it could open alongside FIFTY SHADES? Yes, that was indeed deliberate.”
“We thought it was a unique opportunity to set up a film as antidote,” he continued. “Think of a young woman you care about. …which love story would you wish for her?”
News of OLD FASHIONED facing off with FIFTY SHADES drew international attention in leading media outlets.
MTV understood Swartzwelder’s choice: “There’s a faith-based film about “old-fashioned courtship” hitting theaters on the exact same day as the sinful, S&M-filled adaptation of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. And if you thought that was some sort of divine coincidence, you’d be wrong. This is a challenge.”
Britain’s Daily Mail headlined its story, “Trading bondage for Bibles: Christian movie takes on FIFTY SHADES OF GREY at the box office with its “godly romance” alternative.”
E! Online clearly captured audience options: “If you want to see a love story this coming Valentine’s Day, you can either go to the very clean and tame end of the spectrum, or you can go to the other end of the spectrum that leads to the red room of pain. Your choice.”
“FIFTY SHADES will attract that book’s readers and a lot of curiosity,” OLD FASHIONED Producer Nathan Nazario said. “The OLD FASHIONED audience will include people drawn to real life, real love. Of course, we’re after conversations prompted by two contrasting takes on sex, love and romance. …on what men and women really want, and what it takes to get it.”
In addition to Roberts (“Criminal Minds,” “Southland,” “CSI”) and Swartzwelder (THE LEAST OF THESE, WAR PRAYER), OLD FASHIONED features Dorothy Silver (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES), Tyler Hollinger (BLACK DOG, RED DOG; TRUST ME, I’M A LIFEGUARD; Taxi Brooklyn; What Would You Do?), LeJon Woods (HOMEMAKERS, TOMORROW you’re GONE), Nini Hadjis (CROSS-EYED DINNER THEATER PRESENTS!, FOCUS ON ME), Maryann Nagel (INTO THE STORM, TRUE NATURE), Joseph Bonamico (Miami Vice, The Light of Day, Unsolved Mysteries), Lindsay Heath, Anne Marie Nestor (TURBINE, One Life to Live, The Onion News Network) and Ange’le Perez.
OLD FASHIONED is produced by Swartzwelder’s Skoche Films, Nazario of Motion Picture Pro Studios, Dave DeBorde and Nini Hadjis. Freestyle Releasing distributes. Freestyle recently released the faith-based drama GOD’S NOT DEAD, which surpassed $60 million in domestic box office receipts.
Tyndale House Publishers releases two books based on the movie: Old Fashioned, a screenplay novelization by Rene Gutteridge, and a non-fiction devotional, The Old Fashioned Way—Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance, on relationships and dating, and written by Ginger Kolbaba.
E-versions of both titles released September 1, 2014; print versions release mid-January 2015.
For churches only, bulk orders for advance print copies can be placed now for immediate shipment. Call 800-323-9400.
Advance praise for Old Fashioned, the novel, captures its heart:
“In a world where adultery is rampant and lust is exalted, it’s time for a new outlook on romance,” said LifeChurch. TV’s Amy Groeschel, co-author of From This Day Forward. “Refreshingly quirky with a compelling plot, ‘Old Fashioned’ is a divinely romantic tale of two hurting souls that discover a not-so-new but spectacular way of pursuing love.”
In The Old Fashioned Way—Reclaiming the Lost Art of Romance, award-winning author and speaker Ginger Kolbaba pens 40 daily readings that show—contrary to popular opinion—“old fashioned” doesn’t mean dull or unromantic. A true old-fashioned relationship,” Kolbaba said, “can be more exciting and romantic than any alternative.”
To learn more about OLD FASHIONED, visit: OldFashionedMovie.com
For updates visit the “Old Fashioned Movie” Facebook page.
About Skoche Films
Skoche Films is an independent motion picture development company dedicated to crafting cinematic narratives that entertain, challenge and inspire. For additional information on Skoche Films and its properties, visit the official Web site at www.skochefilms.com.
About Motion Picture Pro Studios
Motion Picture Pro Studios is a production and creative services company specializing in film, television and entertainment. For more information on Motion Picture Pro Studios, visit motionpicturepro.com.
About Freestyle Releasing
Freestyle Releasing is a secular, full-service, theatrical, motion picture distribution company that helps independent companies, major studios and mini-major studios exhibit their films in first-class theatrical releases. The founders and principals of Freestyle Releasing, Mark Borde and Susan Jackson, are motion-picture industry veterans. The Freestyle platform is an anytime-anywhere capability in the viewer’s choice of medium, a positive digital viewing experience on any device in any location.
October 14th, 2014 | Articles | 1 Comment »
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is making its final preparations in advance of the debut of the new film called “Heaven,” which will release on November 7, 2014 coinciding with Billy Graham’s 96th birthday. In addition to the never-before-seen message from Billy Graham—filmed last year from his home in Montreat, N.C.—the program includes the impactful stories of writer and speaker Laurie Coombs and Los Angeles firefighter Cheyane Caldwell.
“We are excited about the release of this new film called ‘Heaven’ next month,” said Steve Rhoads, vice president of My Hope 2014 with Billy Graham. “We are offering this as a resource for evangelism to the local church and Christians nationwide to help them simply share Jesus in their communities.”
Over the last several months, area coordinators have been spread across the nation, encouraging local pastors in their efforts to reach people with the Gospel. Though only one month remains until the new film is released, there is still time for churches and individuals get involved in My Hope.
“We are asking God to move in the hearts of people across the country,” added Rhoads. “But, it begins as Christians everywhere pray specifically for people they know who need to hear this message of hope.”
Churches and individuals are encouraged to get started, like thousands of others have already done, by ordering a free copy of Heaven and beginning to pray and prepare for an event in their community. For more information on My Hope, including tips on how the free My Hope resources can be used, visit www.MyHopewithBillyGraham.org.
About My Hope
Beginning in 2002, My Hope has been implemented in 59 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East. More than 305,000 churches and 4 million individuals have participated, and more than 10 million salvation and rededication decisions for Jesus Christ have been recorded.
About the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world by every effective means available. From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., the BGEA directs a wide range of domestic and international ministries. For more information, please visit www.billygraham.org. Get news updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BGEAnews.
October 14th, 2014 | Articles | Comments »
A new movie in the works by Ray Comfort (a Team Member of ChristianAnswers), whose award-winning documentaries have been seen by millions, has raised more than $276,000 in a crowd-funding campaign (WeDid.It) in less than 30 days. Comfort said, “We are delighted with the response, and are within $60,000 of the total production cost. It’s important that the movie be funded through donations because it will be made available without charge on YouTube.”
The production, called “Audacity,” is a departure from Comfort’s usual filmmaking style. It’s his first scripted drama film, and it uses Hollywood actors to present a biblical view. Other Christian films address homosexuality in documentary form, but Comfort wanted something different to keep the attention of skeptics. “It is a stirring story…a powerful movie that we believe faces this most controversial—even volatile—issue, in a unique and loving way.”
Noting that many Christian films are unfortunately low quality, Comfort stated, “This issue is so important, we don’t want anything to detract from the message of the movie, or give people any other reason not to see it. So we are pursuing excellence in every facet of this production.” The crowd-funding campaign ends October 17. Click here to see the trailer: https://livingwaters-1568.wedid.it
March 1st, 2013 | Articles | Comments »
Methinx Entertainment (Oregon) has released its first feature film, “The Lost Medallion,” in theaters nationwide (March 1, 2013). The film stars several familiar faces including Billy Unger (Disney), Sammi Hanratty, James Hong, Marc Dacascos (“Iron Chef,” “Hawaii Five-O”), and Alex Kendrick—Co-Producer and writer of “Facing the Giants,” “Fireproof,” and “Courageous.” The film is reportedly being well received. The film was shot in Thailand 3 years ago.
The action-packed film aims to entertain and inspire kids and parents alike. “The Lost Medallion” features themes of friendship, teamwork and good overcoming evil, all while teaching kids the truth of their tremendous value.
The film was written, directed and produced by bestselling author and owner of MeThinx Entertainment, Bill Muir (“The Crossing,” “Invisible Enemies”) and is based on a series of fictional novels of the same name, also written by Muir and released in 2011. A new version of the novel, co-written by New York Times bestselling author Alex Kendrick, is slated to hit shelves in conjunction with the theatrical release.
The story of “The Lost Medallion: The Adventures of Billy Stone” starts as Daniel Anderson (Kendrick) visits a foster home to drop off a donation and is quickly roped into telling the kids a story. Daniel tells the tale of Billy Stone (Billy Unger—“Lab Rats” on Disney XD, “American Treasure,” “You Again”) and Allie (Sammi Hanratti—“American Girl,” “A Christmas Carol”), two 13-year-old friends who uncover a long-lost medallion and accidentally wish themselves back in time.
In order for Billy to save Allie’s life, he must give up the lost medallion to the evil warlord, Cobra, (Dacascos) who rules the island and its people. Now, in order to retrieve the medallion and save the island people from slavery, Billy and Allie must work together with a young arrogant king (Jansen Panettiere—“The Perfect Game”), his best friend, and a wise old man (James Hong—“Kung Fu Panda,” “Chinatown,” “Blade Runner”). Together, this unlikely group will learn not only how to work together, but learn that when they do, great things can be accomplished.
Kendrick, known for his passion and work with Sherwood Pictures, became involved in “The Lost Medallion” to help make a significant impact on children’s lives.
“Our kids’ hearts are under attack from the deception of ‘destructive lies’ found in media and our culture and the words of ‘mean kids,’” says Kendrick. “This is a film that every family should see… twice.”
“The Lost Medallion” was filmed primarily in Thailand with an all-star production team including cinematographer Brian Baugh (“The Ultimate Gift,” “To Save a Life”), as well as producers Kevin and Bobby Downes, owners of Downes Brothers Entertainment (“Like Dandelion Dust,” “The Visitation”), Mark Burman (“The Heart of Christmas,” “In the Blink of an Eye”), Michael Scott (“The Encounter,” “The Mark,” “Me Again”), and producer/editor Phillip Moses (of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Mist,” “Fantastic Four,” “Spider-Man 3”). Other producers include Jamie Muir, Wych Kaosayananda, and Executive Producer John Duke. MeThinx Entertainment has also brought on board Charlie and Suzette Schafer of Purpose Driven Sales to oversee the church and marketing efforts, theatrical release, TV and DVD distribution and licensing.
With a unique development plan in place for the release of the film, theaters for opening weekend are increasing through MeThinx Entertainment’s “Medallion Squads,” in various communities to determine which cities to select for release throughout the United States. Organizations and ministries across the nation such as Awana, GMC TV, Youth for Christ, Church Web Works, Equipping Kids and J12 are partnering with “The Lost Medallion” to bring high level awareness and support to this film.
MeThinx Entertainment LLC is a studio, production, distribution and publishing company based in Southern Oregon. The company was founded in 2008 by author and director Bill Muir and entrepreneur and philanthropist John Duke, two men who wanted to bring family entertainment to the big screen. MeThinx Entertainment’s vision is to produce family-oriented films that are especially attractive to children and teens while positively influencing the entire culture.
February 12th, 2013 | Articles | Comments »
More than 1,800 participants from around the world were on hand in the Alamo City for the presentation of the Jubilee Awards during closing ceremonies at the 8th Annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF), held at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in downtown San Antonio last Saturday night. An additional 5,000-plus registered users tuned in via the Web to watch the free live broadcast of the event.
The “Best of Festival” Jubilee Award—with its $101,000 cash prize—went to “The Dropbox,” a 72-minute documentary directed by 22-year-old Brian Ivie that chronicles the loving sacrifice of a Korean Pastor named Lee Jong-rak who built a wooden hatch on the side of his house in 2009 to collect disabled, unwanted babies. Ivie heard about Pastor Jong-rak’s efforts through a Los Angeles Times article and was determined to document the pastor’s story in the hopes of bringing him support.
The six judges for the SAICFF were so moved by Ivie’s vision—originally outlined in a Kickstarter Campaign and then brought to fruition through his film—that they each came to the podium when the award was given to explain why this documentary was chosen for “Best of Festival.”
“We [as the judges] talked about how Nehemiah heard about the walls being broken down and was so broken by it that he said, ‘I must go and do something about that.’ …Many times, we are moved with compassion and do nothing. [Brian] saw an article and said, ‘I am going to run to the battle.’”
Judge Curtis Bowers, who won ‘Best of Festival’ in 2010 for his film “Agenda,” remarked:
“We saw in this young man someone who loved life so much; that loved the truth; that was willing to defend those that no one cares about and wants to get rid of. If he’s that passionate about that in a movie that he didn’t know if it’s ever going to make money or not… we could tell: That’s a young man we want to invest in, because he’s going to change the world with his films.”
Ivie, who came to Christ while producing “The Dropbox,” shared these pointed words upon receiving the SAICFF’s grand prize:
“…I deified movies for 21 years of my life, and I made them my god, and it failed me. I’m done with that story. I’m done with that idol. And I promise in the fear of God that I will steward this investment, because I would rather tell the plainest truth with $100,000 than the most sophisticated technological lie with ten million dollars or one hundred million dollars.”
The film was also honored with “Best Sanctity of Life” Award earlier during the ceremony, prompting these remarks from the film’s director,
“[I saw] all these kids come through this dropbox with deformities and disabilities, and eventually—like a heaven flash—I realized that I was one of those kids, too; that I have a crooked soul, and God is a father who loves me still.”
Ives further commented:
“This world is so much about self-reliance and self-esteem, self-worth, and these kids… can’t be self-reliant, because they have these disabilities. The total illusion is that we can be self-reliant, because we rely on God for every breath that we take. And the day that we stop realizing that we are disabled is the day that we stop fighting for Christ as the only one who enables.”
The top honor in the “Best Feature Film” category went to “Return to the Hiding Place.” The film, directed by Peter Spencer and produced by his daughter Petra Pearce, is set in Holland during World War II and follows Corrie ten Boom’s army of untrained teenagers as they navigate a deadly labyrinth of challenges to rescue the Jewish people. “Return to the Hiding Place” also garnered the Audience Choice Award and was runner-up for “Best of Festival.”
Upon receiving these honors, Spencer explained that the persecution of Christians in our own time compelled him and his family to make this film about persecution during the Second World War:
“175,000 of our precious brothers and sisters will give their lives for Jesus Christ this year. We want[ed] to do this in remembrance of the martyrs of the faith.”
“The Pink Room,” a gripping expose of the sex slavery of young girls in Cambodia, garnered the “Best Documentary” Award. Producer Shawn Small, who received the honor, put the project into context:
“‘The Pink Room’ started in 2008, and it was never just a story. It was about exposing the problem, the atrocities that are happening in Cambodia to little children. It was about bringing solutions. It was about raising awareness and support for those who are doing it. On behalf of heroic women like Mien and those still trapped [through] sex trafficking, and organizations like Agape International Missions, we humbly accept this.”
The “Best Short Film” Award was given to “Useless,” an 11-minute film based on Philemon 1:10–11. Written and directed by Brandon Adams, the film short previously won “Best Film” at the 168 Project.
In winning “Best Short Film” at the SAICFF, the film’s director automatically received a $250,000 opportunity to produce a feature film with Echolight Studios who sponsored this Jubilee Award category. Bobby Downs, President of Echolight, explained their vision in partnering with the SAICFF for this commendation.
“Storytellers have shaped our society in the way that we think for all of recorded history… Stories are used for teaching, for entertainment, for passing on old knowledge and wisdom,” noted Downs.
“Tonight, Echolight is going to do something about encouraging storytellers. We believe that supporting this generation of Christians making movies will have a significant impact on lives in the years to come, so we are planting a seed here tonight by awarding the winner of the Jubilee Award for Short Film with $250,000 as an opportunity to make a movie with Echolight Studios and get worldwide distribution.
The message is this: Those who are faithful in the little things will be better equipped to pursue bigger projects.”
Downs then passed the baton to special guest U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, who presented the award on Echolight’s behalf:
“It is my honor to be here with Echolight. I’m excited about them and what they’re doing, trying to nurture and build, to create a real powerful portal for this industry.”
Santorum also commended the SAICFF and the filmmakers in attendance for their important labors in the culture wars:
“You are the ones who shape the culture, and Washington, D.C. is simply a reflection of that. So I just wanted to come here to encourage you and to thank you. …This country needs you. …[I] think that really great things are going to come in the darkest times and be lit… from this festival.”
Kevin Sizemore, one of the two lead actors in “Useless,” received the award on behalf of Brandon Adams, who directed the film, but who was unable to attend due to the recent birth of his son who was born five weeks early. Sizemore read a statement Adams texted him when he learned he had won this award.
“Thank you for this tremendous honor and opportunity,” wrote Adams. “I have spent the last ten years seeking to learn how to create art that glorifies God, which has included cultivating my craft; but, more importantly, growing in the grace and knowledge of my Redeemer. My hope is to express the work that Christ has done in us and in history through the medium of film, with the prayer that Christ will be exalted over all things. And this award and prize has granted the opportunity to do so.”
The “Best Promotional Media” Award went to “The Lamplighter Guild,” a 5-minute film that explains the vision of this one-week art school founded by Mark Hamby in which students learn the elements of radio theater production, including voice acting, sound design, script writing, music composition, and more from experts in the industry. Producer Phillip Telfer offered these thoughts on receiving the award.
“John-Clay [Burnett] and I are both very grateful for what Doug Phillips and Vision Forum have done to invest in filmmakers,” Telfer said. “When I was invited to attend the [Christian] Filmmakers Academy back in 2007, I had no provision at all for filmmaking. Last year, John-Clay and I, along with Colin Gunn, had a feature documentary film, ‘Captivated.’ That opened the door for [us] to take some of the things we have been learning here and share it at Mark Hamby’s Lamplighter Guild. So we talked about it and also took that time to make this promotional.”
“The Founding Fathers App” took home the top honor in the “Best Commercial Advertisement” category. The 60-second spot promotes the Founding Fathers Project, a series of interactive iPad books allowing viewers to interact with and learn about each of the founding fathers. The goal is to teach American children who these great men were and what they did. The film was written, directed, and produced by Preston Cone, Daniel Walsh, and Jeremiah Warren.
Nathaniel and Jonathan Johnson received the “Young Filmmakers” Award for “Joseph in Egypt III,” a 15-minute film that is the final chapter in their Joseph in Egypt Trilogy, which is told through Lego Stop Motion Animation.
The “Best Original Score” Award was given to “The Lost Medallion,” a feature film starring Alex Kendrick in which his character, Daniel Anderson, visits a foster home to drop off some donations and is quickly roped into telling the kids a story which transitions into a heart-racing adventure of Billy Stone and Allie. These two teenage friends uncover a long-lost medallion and then accidentally wish themselves back in time as part of an exciting adventure. “The Lost Medallion” was also the runner-up for “Best Feature Film.”
Other winners included “Ru: Water is Life,” which garnered the runner-up award in the “Best Documentary” category; and “Static,” which took second place for “Best Short Film.” Runner-up for “Best Sanctity of Life” went to “BIRTH CONTROL: How Did We Get Here?”; and “Indescribable” was tapped for second place in the “Best Original Score” category. “Mobile Mayhem” took the runner-up award for “Young Filmmaker” Award. The “Best Treatment” Award went to “Fire and Forgiveness,” with “Sola Fide” getting the second-place nod in this category.