The 11th annual 168 Film Festival is off to a rousing start! Hundreds of filmmakers, distributors, press, broadcasters, and others interested in inspirational media were in attendance to see the first block of 20 films ranging from drama, to comedy, to documentary. Alicia Greenfield, sales associate for Hosanna Broadcasting came to find potential product for her burgeoning station. Others simply came to view the creative interpretations birthed through the 168 Film Project's challenge of a theme, a verse, and a week.
The quality of this year's entries is far and above any prior years in terms of story, production value, and well-weaved themes. Here are the top 7 from opening night:
What It Takes
Nominated for Best Student Film, this movie's production value, score, and acting is less novice and more professional. Entertainment-industry veteran Derrick Warfel, who executive-produced this offering had much to do with that, and director Bereketeab Tegene rendered a powerful telling of a mother's sacrifice to save her son from himself.
In terms of visuals, director Andy Crittenden borrowed heavily from The Book of Eli for this clever, futuristic tome; but that's where the comparison ends. Precinct 7 puts a new twist on atonement with a multi-layered script that tackles the serious topic of the choices and consequences of choosing life.
Nominated for the Evangelista award, producer/director Bob Springer launches the stories of Jerod Powers and other prison inmates who find freedom through faith in Jesus Christ. This compelling and powerful documentary lacks preachiness or pretense as each inmate outlines his journey from prison walls to personal freedom.
Gorgeously scored and deftly directed by Damaine Radcliff, this film takes the Day of Atonement to a new level, intertwining the war between faiths with the war of the soul that needs redemption.
The actors of Stepping Out expressed a range of emotions with very few words. Producer/Director Mark Baird shows, rather than tells, how one person's sin affects many, and how redemption can cancel sin's power.
Director Nina May delivers a nicely-layered, humorous, yet weighty film about a young teenager's guilt over his family's trangressions, and his quest to find atonement and build bridges.
A Bedtime Story
This zany, Pythonesque comedy is delightfully fresh. Director Richard Brian Galyean and his cast make a simple theme sing, to the benefit of their audience. There were very few moments that uproarious laughter was not heard in the room; so they succeeded!
The 168 Film Festival continues at the Glendale Performing Arts Center, 1440 E. Broadway in Glendale, Calif. through Saturday August 10. Tickets are still available through the 168 Film website or at the door. Doors open for tonight's screenings at 5:30 p.m., and the Saturday screenings begin at 9:00 a.m.