The inaugural International Faith and Family Film Festival, which is designed to encourage the growth of the faith and family film industry, is set to take place in August as a part of Bishop T.D. Jakes' MegaFest 2013.
"Americans are looking for wholesome entertainment that reflects the values they practice and teach their children every day. We're filling that void," said Jakes, according to a press release. "This film festival is designed to encourage studios and the rising number of faith and family-based film companies to help this type of entertainment grow."
Brian Edwards, executive producer of History Channel's "The Bible" miniseries; DeVon Franklin, senior vice president of production at Columbia TriStar Pictures; and Randall Wallace, who wrote the screenplay for "Braveheart," are just a few of the industry experts participating in the festival as either a panelist or keynote speaker.
Among the films to be shown at the event, which will take place Aug. 29-31, are Image Entertainment's "Winnie Mandela," starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard, and Fox Searchlight's "Black Nativity," starring Hudson, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker. Sony Picture Entertainment's "Heaven is for Real," which is based on the testimony of a Nebraska boy who says he experienced heaven while undergoing emergency surgery, will both be shown and will be the focus of a roundtable discussion.
Panel discussions on topics such as "Marketing within the Faith-Based Community" and "The Now and Future of Faith-Based Film and TV" will take place during the three-day festival, as will workshops for actors and screenwriters. There will also be a Screenwriters' Treatment Competition, and the winner will have their project developed by TD Jakes Enterprises.
"This is more than just a film festival," said Jakes. "It is an exciting and emotional re-imagining of all that cinema can and should be for ourselves and future generations. Getting our hearts right and our families back together again is paramount. With this festival we hope to provide more high-quality, family friendly and Bible-centered films over time. This is an essential ingredient for the healing and strengthening of our culture. "
MegaFest, which will be held in Dallas, Texas, this year, is being billed as the "world's largest multi-day family festival" and has drawn nearly 700,000 attendees since it was first held in 2004.
The event will include musical performances, seminars, fun activities and messages presented by some of the nation's most popular speakers. Those speakers include Jakes, the founder and senior pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas; Joel and Victoria Osteen, co-pastors of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas; and Creflo Dollar, founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church International in College Park, Ga.
Oprah Winfrey will also be filming a new episode of "Oprah's Lifeclass" during the event. According to a press release on her website, she will be joined by Jakes and "together they will continue the important work of reaching out to the many fatherless sons and daughters who are struggling and in need of healing."