Sunday, February 26, 2012

SAICFF Saturday Report

Today is the day that the Jubilee Awards ceremony is held. Over 200 films were submitted, and tonight the field was narrowed down to one Best of Festival Jubilee Award Winner, who received a check for $101,000. But first, there were more films to be seen. First thing in the morning, Rescue Haiti’s Children sponsored a screening of ‘Rescued: The Movie’ and included a celebration and testimony of families who have adopted children from around the world. The big surprise of the week turned out to be Seasons of Grey. The reactions I got ranged from, I had never heard of this film until watching it today, to I was looking forward to it, and it blew my expectations out of the water. Just before dinner, Geoff Botkin gave us a look at how his family views films together, by taking through a few minutes of the film, “How to Train Your Dragon.”

The Jubilee Awards ceremony began at 7:30 p.m., with performances again by Charlie Zahm and George Sarris. Soon, awards began to be announced. ‘Lady Jane Grey’ took runner up in the Short film category, and ‘The Jester’ took the Short Film Chrystal Award. In Great Commission, ‘The Koren: Forgotten but not Forsaken’ took runner up, and Two Hats was awarded the Great Commission Jubilee Award. ‘Crying Wolf,’ which has been highly acclaimed all week, was awarded the Jubilee award in the Creation division, and ‘Check This Out’ came in as runner up. After a brief break to watch some the Hazardous Journeys trilogy of shorts again, the Best Feature announcement was made. Unsurprisingly, Courageous took the Jubilee trophy, and slightly more surprising, 7 Days in Utopia took the runner up. Two great films by Colin Gunn headlined the Documentary category, Captivated (which took runner up) and Indoctrination (which received the Jubilee award).

Finally, the two most hotly anticipated awards were announced: Audience Choice, and the $101,000 Best of Festival award. The Audience choice film won by a landslide—it went to ‘Seasons of Grey.’ This feature about a modern day Joseph will have a theatrical release soon. The runner up for the Best of Festival award went to IndoctriNation, and the winner of the 2012 SAICFF $101,000 best of festival award went to Courageous! The film from the Kendrick brothers has been at the top of the DVD sales leader board for some time. If the Oscars snubbed George Lucas when he produced the evolutionary but best-selling masterpiece Star Wars, the Christians will not make the same mistake. Courage has triumphed!

In Christ,

Jonathan Potter

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday at the SAICFF

Today was a major day for viewing films. Here at the festival, the Young Filmmaker and Short Film categories are heavily anticipated, and both began showing today. After lunch, the theater room showing the short films was filled to capacity. By the end of the day, all the feature films and most of the documentaries have shown at least once. By the end of tomorrow, most of these same films will have been shown twice. There are usually four different theaters showing different categories of film at the same time, so attendees usually get to see about half the films. Because I’ve seen about 10 of the films before (significant thanks to the National Movie Night program, which screened several of them recently).

The evening program included performances by Charlie Zahm and George Sarris, as well as the worldwide premier of three of Vision Forum’s new short films, shot by the Leclerc brothers in Iceland: Dominion, Risk, and Manhood. Doug Phillips also cast his vision for the Hazardous Journeys Society. To sum, National Geographic and other nature programming TV and media which promote evolutionistic scientism have had the upper hand for two long. This is my Father’s world, and the Hazardous Journeys Society exists to document the world where Christ is Lord and King. Mr. Phillips called for independent filmmakers to take teams all over the globe, to 7 continents, 5 oceans, and 195 countries by the year 2022. In the next 24 months, Vision Forum hopes to take a venture on the Virgin Galactic private space shuttle to the next frontier: space.

In Christ,


Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday SAICFF Report

Today was the first day of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, or SAICFF. Two special events happened this morning: Vision forum offered a special photography class for attendees of the Academy, and one of the producers held a special pre-screening of a yet to be released film, ‘Remember’. After a brief lunch break, we headed over to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center for the first session of films. Six categories of film opened in the afternoon, followed by the opening ceremonies around 6:30 p.m. The evening premieres included Captivated, Crying Wolf, Detained, and Seasons of Grey. Charlie Zahm also gave a concert on the San Antonio Riverwalk. Voting for the audience choice has begun!

In Christ,


SAICFA Report 2

Wednesday was the final day of the SAICFA, or Christian Filmmakers Academy. Once again, Extreme Meetings provided some statistics about the filmmakers in attendance. Christian Filmmakers primarily watch PG-13 rated films (39%) on DVD (71%). When they rent, they like to use Netflix (41%) and Redbox (25%). About half of the attendees see 1-2 films in a theatre per year (49%), and the rest are split between those that visit the theatre 1-2 times per month, and those who have never seen a film on the big screen.

Today’s theme was the business of film, focusing especially on distribution, fulfillment and marketing. Kirk Cameron, Stephen Kendrick, Philip and Chris Leclerc, Curtis Bowers, Collin Gunn, John Moore, David Cook, J.D. King, Geoff Botkin and Doug Phillips all took the stage to offer their unique insights into the business end of film production. One consensus introduced by Curtis Bowers is the importance of grassroots in marketing. Once people are excited about a film, they want to tell their friends. The day ended with Kirk Cameron discussing his new film, Monumental.

Trig Jacobson opened the morning with the ‘Brand Identification Model’, a simple system to evaluate your brand. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was an example: “Ben & Jerry’s serves ice cream lovers who don’t do things by halves [or halfway]. Ben & Jerry’s fills your face full of flavor so you can feel gloriously righteous about your indulgence. It is outrageously packed full of the stuff we love to love.”

Collin Gunn remarked on the importance of tone in documentaries, saying, “Theology without art is impassionate. Art without theology is selfishness.”

John Moore on distribution noted a maxim that his father had taught him. That is, wherever you are, you are an ambassador for yourself, your business, and your brand. So always be professional.

Oh, and one more thing, unanimously agreed to by the panel: if you can, win the SAICFF Jubilee award; It’s one of the best things you can do for distribution and sales. Thursday the festival begins, and the $101,000 best of festival winner will be decided. Who are you rooting for?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SAICFF Tuesday Report

Hello Faithful Followers,

Here's a summary of what I did yesterday:

Today was the second day of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Academy (SAICFA). This year, the academy is equipped with automatic voting systems, and the day began with about 15 minutes of polling and research. Some surprising results: over 50% of attendees aren’t currently working on a project. 7% came to look for new films to finance. Another highlight of the day was Justin Tolley’s lecture called, “I once was at Lost, but now am found.” Here, he discussed the difference between working on the set of Lost, and working on the set of Courageous. The evening Keynote was split between retired advertising executive Tryg Jacobson and Doug Phillips. First, Tryg delivered an eye-opening lecture on branding for filmmakers. The key word of branding is trust: making and keeping promises. He also discussed the power of “mental real estate”—how companies can corner a certain word, like Volvo owns “safe” or Heinz meaning “thick.” Then, Doug Phillips spoke on the need for action, and not just story. Here are some quotes:

“This is my father’s world—you may not take it!”
“Don’t pretend to be an expert on a subject you don’t own.”
“The reason some of us don’t write well is that we don’t study well.”
“There are no bench warmers in the Army of God.”

In Christ,