Forty years ago my mother, at that time a middle school student at an Adventist academy, was nearly expelled along with a friend for sneaking into a theater to watch Romeo and Juliet. In the end, rather than being kicked out, the two wrote essays about attending the theater that reflected the writings of Ellen White and the Bible as punishment.
This weekend, Adventist filmmakers from around the world converge at the AMP Studios in Simi Valley, California for the Seventh Annual SONscreen film festival. We've come a long way in the last forty years.
This seventh edition of the festival, created by the North American Division of SDAs to nurture Christian filmmakers artistically, professionally, and spiritually, aims to change the world 24 frames per second (a reference to the standard exposure rate for 35mm film).
Student and professional filmmakers as well as film-making enthusiasts can take advantage of workshops, panel discussions and daily screenings of films in six categories: drama, comedy, animation, documentary, public service announcement (PSA), and music video.
Saturday's busy schedule includes a conversation with Adventist Mission filmmaker Daniel Weber, a jam session with the festival's praise band, a worship service keynote address from Chris Christmas, a panel discussion on the church's place in Hollywood, and finally, the SONscreen version of the Academy Awards.
Films screened during the festival will showcase the work of students from three continents, over ten high schools and universities, and several production companies. However, while this year's selections offer geographic diversity, they do not represent the genders equally. Of the twenty-five student films featured, only one, Karma, is the work of a female student (Crystal Bueno of Southern Adventist Univeristy).
We'll be bringing you more from the 7th Annual SONscreen on Saturday, including the award winners of this year's festival. Stay tuned!