In less than two weeks the biggest Christian film festival in the world will be presenting seven new feature film finalists, and dozens of other Christian films, for the $101,000 grand prize competition. The San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF) says this year’s finalists reflect the depth and diversity of films coming out of the independent Christian film movement.
Vision Forum will be hosting the the Christian Filmmakers Academy (CFA) and the Eighth Annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF) and Jubilee Awards on February 4–9 at the beautifully reconstructed Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The central location of the festival in North America makes it convenient for families, filmmakers, and churches to travel together for the event. In recent years the SAICFF, which has become the largest Christian film festival in the world, has been held during the same month as the Academy Awards Ceremony to deliberately present the Biblical anti-thesis to Hollywood's humanistic view of the arts and cinema.
The festival usually attracts thousands of Christians from around the country, both independent filmmakers as well as families who are interested in finding and supporting better entertainment for their homes. It's a time of tremendous encouragement and vision. Attendees meet the filmmakers and actors behind some of the most important films coming out of the independent Christian film movement. Frequent participants at the event have been renowned Christian filmmakers such as Stephen Kendrick or Courageous and Fireproof, and Jon and Andy Erwin of October Baby.
In past years Christian filmmaking has been looked upon with great disdain due to the lack of production quality and entertainment value such films have presented. By in large, the foremost reason for the pathetic character of the films has been that Christians abandoned the arts as not being something "spiritual" they should care about. But as more recent Christian leaders and teachers such as VanTil, Rushdoony, and Schaeffer have re-awakened the Church in America to the connection between theology and culture, there has slowly been a renewed interest building for Christians to develop in the craft for the glory of God.
Admittedly, the Christian film industry still has a long way to go to keep pace with the production quality of movies from Hollywood, but over the last ten years the Christian film industry has been catching up at very rapid speed as new technologies have also made production more affordable. The SAICFF has spear-headed that effort since 2004 and provided a forum for these growing filmmakers to present their works and improve them.
As important as the improvement in production quality and entertainment value has been, even more important has been the effort to help these growing Christian filmmakers become self-conscious about how to reflect a Biblical theology, philosophy, and morality in their productions. It is not enough that these movies are made by people who profess Christ as their Savior. The movies must present a Christian worldview that draws a stark contrast to the humanistic world views being presented in most movies and shows today.
Whether you are a filmmaker, a student, or a Christian committed to advancing the cause of distinctively Christian culture, America’s premiere Christian school of filmmaking — the Christian Filmmakers Academy gives attendess the opportunity to learn from leaders in the field, all committed to “taking every frame captive” to the obedience of Christ, as well as presents a great opportunity to network with people working in every level of the field.
Those who cannot come to the academy may still attend the festival, which starts on February 7th. Admission to the festival is $75 per person, $65 for students, and $295 for a family of five or more and registration can be done on the SAICFF web site.
Friday Preview of Alone Yet Not Alone
On Friday night of the festival, attendees will be treated to a special screening of Alone Yet Not Alone. This historical drama is based on a true story captured in Tracy Leininger Craven's novel. The full-length feature film recounts the faith and courage of a German-American immigrant family as they face hardship, loss, and sorrow during the French and Indian War.
Pursued by a relentless and cunning warrior, an American colonial woman and her three fellow captives must cross over two hundred miles of raw wilderness in their effort to reach friendly territory. Will their courage and trust in God be enough to see them through? Alone Yet Not Alone depicts the riveting true story of a family at a critical juncture in our nation’s history.