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Christian Film Festival Creates Launching Pad for Faith-Based Filmmakers

Taylor Berglund : Apr 20, 2018  Charisma News

"The market is really good for the Christian industry right now, and it's grown a lot. In the last six years, it's probably tripled in what we're seeing film-wise." -David Hoenig, founder of Christian Film and Music Festival

[CharismaNews.com] The International Christian Film and Music Festival is coming to Orlando, Florida, from May 1-5. The annual competition, now in its sixth year, gives Christian content creators a place to network, hone their skills and find distributors for family-friendly content. (Photo: International Christian Film Festival)

David Hoenig and Susan Crampton, two of the event's founders, say the show has grown from 50 attendees its first year to over 10,000 this year. Though the event has been just a film festival in past years, this year's event adds music.

"This year we decided to bring in music into it to show people how music and film come together and how to mash that up," Crampton said. "Because you can't have film without music."

From May 2-5, the festival will screen hundreds of original films, ranging from short student films to feature-length productions and documentaries. The event kicks off May 1 with a special performance by the Newsboys. The event culminates in an award show Crampton calls the "Christian Oscars."

The festival received over 400 submissions this year. The 12 nominees for Best Picture at this year's show include The Identical, Thy Neighbor, Wild Faith, Like Arrows, One Nation Under God, Freedom Net, My Many Sons, Edge of the World, Chasing the Star, The Redemption of Henry Myers, Prodigy and Heaven Bound. Full nominees are available at here.

Though Hoenig says the films don't have to be explicitly Christian, he says the festival encourages all films to champion wholesome family values.

"We want a 5-year-old to be able to come in and listen to it and he doesn't have to worry about covering his ears," Hoenig says. "But we need to make the content where it's exciting. [It] doesn't have to have Christian values, [but] it has to have wholesome family values. So it's just a good message, a feel-good movie when you're done, and it makes you do some thinking at the end."

Hoenig hopes the festival creates opportunities for Christian filmmakers to stand out in an industry increasingly open to faith-based productions.

"The market is really good for the Christian industry right now, and it's grown a lot," he says. "In the last six years, it's probably tripled in what we're seeing film-wise."

Crampton agrees, noting, "With what's happening in the world today, wholesome movies and messages are so necessary."

Hoenig and Crampton say the event is priced variably—from $15 to $400 per person—in order to allow the broadest range of people to attend. Tickets and more information are available at internationalcff.org.







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