The Christian Worldview Film Festival and Guild is an experience difficult to capture on paper or in photos. Even video doesn’t quite do it justice. Even so, I’m going to try to give you a taste of some of the amazing happenings of the week!
The first morning started bright and early with some great worship. I really appreciated how Philip Telfer kept Jesus preeminent throughout the week. He shared a convicting keynote on the core values that we as Christians need to have in filmmaking and in all of life, including humility, embracing critique, and esteeming others as better than yourself.
I was personally challenged by the speakers to remember that our goal should not be to make great films – although that is a good thing and we need to be excellent at our craft – but the goal should be to glorify God and share the Gospel in everything we do. Brett Varvel reminded us that we should all be carrying out the purpose of God in our daily lives. We need to put Him first, which means our relationships with God and the people He has placed in our lives are much more important than the projects we are working on.
Prayer was another huge subject over the week. Several speakers stressed it’s vitality to the true success of your film.
One of Stephen Kendrick’s sessions about knowing the will of God for your life especially stood out to me. He spoke about 8 “arrows” that God can use to point you in the right direction – peace, God’s Word, counsel, honoring Christ, authority, prayer, open doors, and wisdom. He reminded us that prayer is not just asking God for things, but also acknowledging truth about Him, thanking Him, and listening to Him (Colossians 4:2, and Philippians 4:6,7). There is so much more he said than I could share here from my almost 5 pages of notes on just this one session!
The three days of the guild were filled with countless workshops – the variety and quality of which were once again amazing! The teachers were professional and passionate about what they do, and it was hard to choose which ones to attend. They had options to learn about anything from sound design, to working with a composer, to auditions, to color grading . . . and everything in between.
For the festival this year (the last half of the week), one new aspect that they added was “Underground.” Moderated by Spencer Weaver, this panel of professional filmmakers shared down-to-earth stories and advice from their years of experience in years of filmmaking. I really liked how it was informal and there was time for question and answer, and the filmmakers on the panel kept the focus on Christ.
One theme that I kept hearing throughout the Underground sessions was that we have to make people more important than our project. Relationships are key – and the key to great relationships is making them about giving, rather than receiving. One interesting concept that was brought up by Rebekah Cook was the idea of “netweaving.” Instead of just going out there and networking to get yourself a job, work on building relationships with people, and helping to connect people with each other (even when it’s not to your advantage). A film set is not just about making a movie and getting things done – it’s about actually caring for those around you and showing them Christ’s’ love. When we work to put others first, not only does God bless that, but we also can be a tremendous blessing to others, and at the same time make great connections.
One other key thing that kept popping up throughout the week, was the fact that when you have a problem on set (or during any part of the process of filmmaking), you need to deal with it quickly. Don’t let the problem build, but instead, assume the best about the person(s) involved, and confront them in love. We also need to be willing to submit to one another and forgive, and if we need correction, to take it with humility.
In closing, it was an amazing week of being surrounded by other filmmakers and learning and being inspired! I think what people appreciated the most was the on-site networking, encouragement, and spiritual growth.
If you’re open to what God wants to teach you, you won’t come away from this guild/festival unchanged!
If you attended this year, I would love to hear from you! What was a highlight for you? What did you learn or come away with? How did God speak to you? (Comment below!)