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Christian filmmakers converged on Cincinnati last week for the annual International Christian Visual Media Conference, culminating with the Crown Awards Night. Fifty of the top dramatic films, comedies, documentaries, television series, and shorts were up for gold, silver, and bronze awards in fifteen categories. The evening ended with “Providence,” a silent love story romance drama receiving four of the coveted Crown awards including Best Picture – Bronze; Best Drama Under $250,000 – Gold; Best Youth Film – Bronze; and Best Evangelistic Film – Silver.

“We were excited just to have our film nominated with such amazing movies,” says writer/director Sharon Wilharm. “We hoped for one award, best case scenario, two, never dreaming that we would win in each category we were nominated for.”

“Providence” is the second silent cinema feature film for filmmakers Fred and Sharon Wilharm of Mainstreet Productions. It uses dramatic action and a dynamic soundtrack of indie music to tell the story of a couple who grow up together but take forty years for their friendship to bloom into romance. “Providence” is told silent cinema style but has a more indie feel and features an eclectic blend of music by independent artists tied together by cinematic scoring. It is about Rachel Cartwright and Mitchell Little who grow up in the small town of Providence, Tennessee. Their paths keep crossing, and, at one point, it looks like they’ll finally get together. But the opportunity slips away, and they go their separate ways. It takes a tragedy many years later before they’re reunited.

“Providence” released theatrically Valentine’s weekend as part of the AMC Independent lineup. It showed in select AMC theaters across the country including NYC and L.A. and has accumulated an impressive list of festival nominations and wins.

ICVM is made up of Christian writers, directors, producers, performers and distributors working together in an association to more effectively reach people with the message of the Gospel since the 1970’s. Other top Crown Award winners were Best Picture – Gold "Sabina K," a Bosnian true story; Best Evangelistic Film – Gold "War Room," and Best Picture – Silver "Beyond the Mask." Past winners have included "Old Fashioned," "The Song," "Courageous," and "Fireproof."

The Wilharms travel the country promoting their films and teaching visual storytelling at film events. In addition, they run Faith Flix a blogzine that provides a behind the scenes look at faith-based films.

"Providence" is available at all Lifeway Christian Stores as well as online at Christian Cinema and Fish Flix. It airs on TCT Network July 3. For a limited time, the filmmakers are offering free church screenings. For more information, visit the Providence Web site.