Whew. Where to even begin? The 2019 Christian Worldview Film Festival was a wonderful experience from beginning to end.
I guess I never would have made it there if it weren't for our fantastic carpool crew, though. We left Fargo with four people and ended up in Franklin with seven. There were new people met, great podcasts listened to, and plenty of great discussions about good and bad films, and what makes them such. We carpooled on the way back as well, but part of the group changed which meant we had some very different but still just as interesting conversations.
The speakers were, of course, great. With keynote sessions from speakers such as Stephen Kendrick, Phillip Telfer, Eric Ludy, and others, it could hardly be anything other than impactful. The unintentional theme of many of the sessions was humility, a theme which I think hit home for many of us (at least it did for me).
I still think about the one question Phillip Telfer asked. "Is filmmaking an acceptable act of worship to God or a monument to my name?"
Bill Reeves spoke about how he makes decisions about the kinds of content his company produces. He said, "I'd rather answer that question before I stand before [God] than when I stand before Him."
Stephen Kendrick talked about how to have a unity on a film set, saying that "Unity begins with you being unified with Christ." If that unity doesn't exist in your own life, it sure won't exist on your film set when you're trying to direct a group of people from all walks of life.
All in all, the speakers were one of the top reasons I want to keep going back to CWVFF, whether or not I'm still working in film in a couple of years.
As always, the last three days were filled with film showings. I didn't go to as many showings this year as last year, but I did get the chance to see some very powerful and well made short films, as well as pre-screenings of the newest of the Kendrick brothers' films (Overcomer) and Unplanned.
Unplanned is now in theaters, and I would highly recommend you go see it. Bring your friends! People walked out of that theater at CWVFF with their lives impacted. I know I did. It has the potential to continue doing that for many more people in any camp.
Overcomer was incredible of course. The theme was identity, something that resonated with me (and inspired the last blog post I wrote!). It's very family-friendly with definitely some emotional scenes but also plenty of humor thrown in for a good balance. The movie comes out in August, so make sure to get tickets when it releases!!
One of the other top reasons I love going back to the film festival is the people. Some of my best friends I've met through the festival. And honestly, some of the best connections have been made over the 2 AM conversations in the hotel lobby. Yes, I lost a lot of sleep that week, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
Last year, I gave away more business cards that I could count. This year... I think I gave away five or so. I decided to focus on renewing old friendships and making new ones, and in the end I think I got a lot more out of this year than last. Not to say that you can't be one of those people who gives away business cards to every person they see, but just that I had different priorities this year and I think it paid off.
All in all, it was an amazing week and I grew a lot through it. I can't wait for next year!