Horn Happenings

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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Film Festival

WOW! That's all I can say about the last several months. From Thanksgiving on it has been a wild time for our family, with the "Busy Season" at work continuing through this month, and participating in the Film Festival. So that's why you haven't heard from us for a while. Hopefully we'll be getting back into the spirit of writing. Speaking of the Film Festival, I think I'll give you a synopsis of the week, and our roles in it.

To start out, we had the Christian Filmmaker's Academy, January 5-7. This was a time of training for a smaller group of people than come for the actual Film Festival. There's a great balance between theology and hands-on training. Below I'll share a few highlights from the Academy.

Symposium on Science Fiction and Christian Filmmaking (Doug Phillips and Geoffrey Botkin)

A eye-opening look at the history of the science fiction movement, a look at what science fiction really is, and an in-depth study of whether Christians can or should biblically make science fiction films. We watched clips from films including Star Wars and Gattica, analyzed the driving forces behind them, and discussed their impact on society.

A huge point of discussion was aliens, and how they have played a role in the movement. Attendants were shown why Scripturally it is impossible for aliens to exist, and why they should have no part of our films. We also studied futuristic films dealing with cloning, robots, and of course, incredibly smart computers.

To summarize the message, science fiction is not an inherently evil genre, and while it must be approached with much caution, Christians can produce such films, excluding alien and extra-terrestrial influences.

Cinematography (Isaac Botkin)

A fabulous talk about the ins and outs of color correction, backgrounds, lighting etc. We watched examples of good and bad color correction, how it can change a movie, and themes which can be subtly demonstrated. We also looked at some especially creative eye-pointers which experienced directors such as Steven Speilberg have introduced into their films, directing the viewers eye, without their knowing it, to a particular object.

Symposium on Stunts: How to Understand, Depict and Execute Violence (Jimmy Broyden)

From a "fun" perspective this lecture definitely topped the charts as long-time stunt man, Jimmy Broyden participated in a mock fight on stage which was filmed live, promptly edited and shown to us in about twenty minutes time!

It can be hard to figure out how much violence we should film, what is necessary and what is titillating. Hollywood's action movies have degenerated to shows full of blood and gore, hardening and brutalizing the audience. We also watched a quick video of one of his many stunts, in which he drives a car through an RV, does a pipe roll mid-air, lands and turns over and over probably close to ten times! It was amazing!

After three wonderful days at the Academy, we transitioned right over into the Film Festival, both of which were held in the spacious Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center right off the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio. I was able to see a number of the contesting films, for which I was very grateful. I'll give a synopsis of three of these films below:

The Widow's Might:

Heumoore Productions

Best of Festival

A warm-hearted musical for the whole family! When the Moore family finds out that a widow in their neighborhood will be kicked out of her home due to tax foreclosure, they step in to help. Since they're already competing in a film festival, they decide to make a Western musical using the widow's situation as a basis for the plot. However, problems arise when another competitor in the film festival tries to stop their project with bad press, attempting to make them look like a cult. It's a roller-coaster ride of adventure to overcome this opposition.


Provident Films

Best Feature

When fire fighter Caleb Holt was married, he was in love. But relations have cooled, and divorce is pending. When his father gives him a special book called the love dare, he agrees to participate, but does not have much heart in it. As a fire fighter he has learned to never leave a partner behind. But can he do this in his marriage? An action-packed love story, and a must-watch for every Christian family.

Pendragon: Sword of His Father

Burns Family Studios

Roman legions leave Briton, exposing it to hoards of Barbarian invaders. One village is the gate of Britain. The young Pendragon must overcome all odds including enemy imprisonment and the betrayal of friends, to save his country, and the girl he loves. The first Christian film of its kind, this was one of my favorites.

All of the movies here are for sale from Vision Forum, or Behemoth.com. Just click on the pictures if they interest you.