Starting Monday, hundreds of students from around the country will be connecting with top Christian independent filmmakers in hopes of becoming more effective in transforming the culture through media and film production.
For three days, participants of the Christian Filmmakers Academy (CFA) in San Antonio, Texas, will be learning from seasoned professionals and cultural innovators about the nuts and bolts of making “epistemologically self-conscious” films for Christ.
This year, students at the CFA will be able to get a behind-the-scenes look at the development, production, and marketing of two Christian-geared box office hits – “Expelled” and “Fireproof” – and hear from and dialogue with their producers, Logan Craft and Stephen Kendrick, respectively.
“Our goal with the CFA and the SAICFF (San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival) is to light a candle,” stated Doug Phillips, founder of SAICFF and the CFA, in a statement. “We endeavor to show that there is hope outside Hollywood by encouraging culture changers who are recapturing film for Christ ’s glory.”
For the past three years, the Christian Filmmakers Academy has provided developing Christian filmmakers an opportunity to network with professional filmmakers, producers, writers, and directors. Past “graduates” have gone on to coordinate and fund filmmaking efforts as a result of contacts they made at the academy.
The academy also includes many workshops to assist independent Christian filmmakers in honing their craft, with classes on topics such as “Science Fiction,” “the Theology of Filmmaking,” and “Financing, Distribution, and Marketing the Independent Christian Film”
“Students will learn to stage intense, God-honoring stunts and screen violence from a world class, award-winning stunt professional,” reports Vision Forum Ministries , which runs the academy and sponsors the annual SAICFF. “They will learn new strategies of financing and marketing from filmmakers who are proven success stories. They will be challenged to expand their biblical worldview and apply it to every aspect of the filmmaking process.”
Each year, the academy has had to move to a larger venue to accommodate for the increasing student attendance, and was this year forced to limit admission to 750 students.
“We are experiencing tremendous momentum in the independent Christian film movement this year,” Phillips observed back in September.
Following the Jan. 5-7 academy, participants will be staying in the city for the 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, which will be held Jan. 8-10 and give away the largest single film festival grand prize of its kind in America – the $101,000 Best of Festival Jubilee Award.
This year, 50 films will be competing for the type prize, narrowed down from the 250 entries that were received last year. Aside from the grand prize, awards will be distributed to the winners of each category and for the best trailer, the best original score, and the best biblical family, among others.
The SAICFF is open for all to attend.