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More than seven hundred participants representing states from Oregon to Florida and foreign lands like England and Scotland were on hand for the presentation of the Jubilee Awards at closing ceremonies at the first annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, held at the Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio.

“Hollywood is at war with Christianity and the American family,” said Doug Phillips, founder of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. “Our goal this week, however, was not to curse the darkness, but to light a candle of hope by casting vision for the burgeoning movement of independent Christian filmmakers, by promoting the highest and most God-honoring standards for filmmaking, and by recognizing and rewarding excellence in Christian filmmaking.”

Phillips, who also served as one of the five Jubilee Award judges noted, “We had more than 120 film submissions to our festival. We had numerous important and noteworthy films, so selecting the winners was no easy task. We are delighted to now recognize our winners—all worthy films that give glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The “Best of Festival” Award—a $10,000 grand prize—went to “The Art of Play,” a film short that poetically communicates the beauty of childhood in a Christian worldview. “Our film endeavors to capture the play habits of another era and the significance of the little things that make up life,” explained Graham and Joel Fisher, the two twenty-year-old twin brothers who both directed and produced the fourteen minute short film. The Fisher Twins run Beowulf Studios, and “The Art of Play” was their first independently produced film. The total project cost for the film short was $1,500.

The top honor in the “Best Narrative” category went to “Choosing Life,” a powerful twelve minute film about a nineteen-year-old girl who struggles over whether to abort her baby following an unplanned pregnancy. “[T]he film focuses not on graphic images…but rather on the beauty of choosing life,” noted Shane Sooter, who produced and directed the film. “It is our goal to convince mothers that an unplanned pregnancy is not the end—there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” Sooter, who runs City on a Hill Productions, also tied for the runner-up award in the “Best Narrative” category with “After Hours,” a nine minute short film that shows how seemingly innocent flirting can quickly turn into office place adultery.

The “Best Documentary” Award went to “Broad Oak: A Father’s Legacy,” a half
hour documentary about the father of the great Bible commentator, Matthew
Henry. Nineteen-year-old, Abigail Fox, of the United Kingdom, produced the
film. “On hearing of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film
Festival…my father made the suggestion of a documentary about Philip
Henry, and the influence he undoubtedly had on his son, Matthew,”
commented Abigail. “And so the research began.” The project was a family
affair. Abigail’s brother, Daniel, was the videographer for the film, and
both flew to the Alamo City from the UK to be a part of San Antonio’s
first Christian film festival.

“Shaky Town,” a fifty-five minute documentary that examines the violent
assault on Christian churches by San Francisco’s militant homosexual
rights community, took first place in the “Best Political” category. “The
title ‘Shaky Town’ is the name given by truckers for San Francisco,”
observed Scotland natives, Colin and Euan Gunn, the two brothers who
produced the film, “and here we use it to describe the unstable
foundations of a city built on immorality.”

The “Best Creation” Award went to the twelve minute short film, “From Genesis to Genes.” The film looks at the difficulties rising from modern-day genetic manipulation and engineering and offers biblical guidelines to address these issues.

“Washington’s Cross” easily won the “Audience Choice” Award. An overwhelming
favorite among festival attendees, the 22 ½ minute short film also tied
for runner up in the “Best Narrative” category. “‘Washington’s Cross’ functions both as an allegory of Christian martyrdom and a harsh criticism on postmodern values,” explained Richard Ramsey, the film’s writer/director. “This film is an all out attack on the three philosophical pillars of our postmodern culture: relativism, pluralism,
and humanism.”

Vision Forum Ministries is already making plans for the second annual San
Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival and Jubilee Awards, which will
be held on October 27-29, 2005.