Each day started with a time of worship, followed by a general session.
Break-out workshops followed, and provided instruction in specific areas of interest. There was something for everyone. Topics included producing, directing, acting, editing, cinematography, sound design, marketing, distribution, and more.
One brilliant part of the festival's design were the networking lunches. You could pre-order your daily lunches from the caterer, and tables were even designated for particular areas of filmmaking (i.e. directing, acting, documentaries, etc.) to enable attendees to more easily find the right people to talk to for their networking purposes.
On the third day of the Guild, the Festival began and hundreds more people started filling the church where the event was held. Films screened simultaneously throughout the weekend, providing viewers with multiple options for each block.
"Wanted" screened three times, and was very well attended and well received each time. It was fun to watch it with an audience and listen to their laughter and their applause. There were even audible gasps of surprise on occasion. We were approached by people all weekend, telling us how much they loved the film.
The week reached its grand finale on Saturday evening with the Awards Ceremony. The Jost family got the show started with some of their delightful music, and then it was time to start handing out awards!
I tried not to hold my breath while we waited for the Short Film category. Finally, the time came. I hadn't let myself believe that we would actually win, but at the same time, I knew it would be close. The feedback we had received throughout the weekend had confirmed our belief that Roses and Wanted would be very tight in the running. Little did we know how close.
First, six finalists were announced and their titles displayed on the big screen. Next, the Runner Up was announced, which was neither Wanted nor Roses (but congratulations to my friend Caleb Hermann for winning Runner Up with "Book Ends"!). Now my heart was really starting to pound. Anticipation grew as the box containing the award was carried across stage and handed to Phillip Telfer, the presenter. The box was opened, and a note was taken out. My brain hardly processed as Mr. Telfer explained that when the judge's results were all tallied, two films rose to the top and received the same number of votes. So instead of flipping a coin, they decided to present two awards for Best Short Film. You could feel the excitement buzzing in the room as murmurs rippled throughout the huge auditorium.
A second award box was retrieved and brought to the podium. After clarifying that he was not reading them in any particular order, Mr. Telfer announced that the first Best Short Film Award went to...WANTED!!! Still hardly processing what was happening, I quickly stood to my feet and made my way out to the aisle. I joined a few more of our team as we walked toward the stage amidst loud, triumphant music, sweeping spotlights, and the applause and cheers of the crowd.
When all had grown quiet, the second winner was announced... ROSES!!! We were beside ourselves with joy as we welcomed our friends on stage!
As much as we would have enjoyed winning, we didn't want Roses to lose, so it was perfect that we could BOTH win in an historic tie! Many of the same crew members worked on both films, and we already felt like a team, so it was very fitting.
We were all still in shock as we made our way backstage and headed towards the lobby to have our pictures taken. "Did that really just happen?" "Somebody pinch me!"
The night ended on a great note as the other film I acted in - "Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods" - won Best Original Score, Best Feature Film, and Audience Choice!
It was a wonderful week full of helpful teaching, great networking, and encouraging fellowship! The Christian Worldview Film Festival has truly become like a big family reunion to me, and is one of the highlights of my year. I urge everyone interested in filmmaking to attend.