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FIRST LOOK: “The Irrevocable Call” Documentary Captures Ordination Debate on Film


YouTube vlogger and film maker Ehren Hotchkiss has released a short documentary film called “The Irrevocable Call” that won best ministerial film at the 2013 SONscreen film festival sponsored by the North American Division.

The short film follows the ordination debate as momentum built to ordain women ahead of the 2014 Annual Council Session during which delegates voted a question to send to the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas. The film features many pastors and scholars who talk candidly about the topic, interwoven with archival footage of key moments in the recent history of women’s ordination.

Hotchkiss graduated in June from La Sierra University with a degree in film, but she has been making award-winning film projects since age 13, and telling stories even longer!

She started vlogging on YouTube in October, mainly, she says, because after finishing school, she wanted to keep her filmmaking skills sharp, even if it meant editing something simple and lowkey. “I also wanted to give myself a challenge or a deadline to meet so I didn’t stay stagnant,” she said.

Felicia Tonga Taimi, who produced the documentary, first brought the subject to Hotchkiss’s attention.

“She posted about it on Facebook and I saw it and at the time thought it would be a simple yet engaging project to work on,” Hotchkiss said. “I met with her in late January and we discussed what we wanted to incorporate.”

Hotchkiss grew up in an Adventist environment, but is not an Adventist herself. “I wanted the film to be more about a conversation about male and female rights and a story that anyone, not just Adventists, could examine,” she said.

Hotchkiss created the film quickly, working toward an April deadline in order to show the film at SONscreen, which is an annual film festival for Adventist filmmakers sponsored by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

Hotchkiss shot most of the film using equipment borrowed from La Sierra University’s film department. She edited the film on her laptop computer using Adobe Premiere Pro software, editing in the car on the way to the airport for a Spring Break study tour in Peru with La Sierra University.

“It’s remarkable that it was completed enough to submit it to SONscreen,” Hotchkiss noted. “Once back from Peru I had a few days to color correct it and do the final edit before it was to be screened that weekend.”

The SONScreen audience received the film well, and it won the Best Ministerial Film that year. It has been sitting on Hotchkiss’s harddrive ever since.

“I decided this past week to put on some finishing touches with music and to put it on YouTube,” she said, “because I had started my YouTube series and thought it was doing no one any good just sitting on my hard drive.” 

“I’m so thrilled it’s being accepted and I’m very grateful to the women and men who were interviewed for their open and honest responses. The message being that a person should do what God has called them to do and regardless of gender. My personal message from the film is – No one should allow outside influences to dictate to them what they can or cannot do. That’s in regards to anything in life, whether or not someone is Adventist.”

Hotchkiss has a 30-minute short in the works called “To Hell With It” coming out in September or October.

Get a first look at “The Irrevocable Call” below!

Jared Wright is managing editor of

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