The premier Adventist-sponsored film festival, SONscreen is headed back to Southern California this year from April 2-4. This week the North American Division unveiled the website for the 2015 festival, hosted by La Sierra University. The NAD has put on the festival annually since 2002 as a chance to showcase the work of young Christian filmmakers, and to provide networking opportunities.
Early editions of the festival took place at the Adventist Media Center in Simi Valley, California. In 2013, the North American Division proposed the closure and sale of the 7-acre Media Center, which became official in January.
Since talks of closing the Media Center began, SONscreen has gone on the road, stopping last year on the campus of Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. This year, the festival returns to the greater Los Angeles area, often hailed as the film capitol of the United States. However, within the North American Division, several Adventist campuses offer strong film programs. Pacific Union College and La Sierra University on the West Coast, Andrews University in the Midwest, and Southern Adventist University in the Southeast all offer distinct visual media programs. Many Adventist academies offer elective courses in film and visual media as well, and SONscreen provides a venue for students to show their work, interact, and receive valuable feedback.
Each year, the festival includes workshops, panel discussions, keynote addresses, daily film screenings, and an awards ceremony.
This year, SONscreen offers awards in eight categories with cash prizes of $250 each: Best Animated (Short), Best Documentary (Short), Best Dramatic (Short), Best High School (winners also receive Jonathan Dulan Collegiate Scholarship), Audience Choice Award, Best Cinematography Award, Best Sound Design Award (selected from the entries to the 2014 SONscreen Film Festival), and Best Original Screenplay. The Best In Fest award goes to the overall winner, and in addition to the SONNY award trophy, the recipient receives a $1,000 cash prize.
Standard (non student) registration for the festival is $100.00 per person. The fee includes entry to all keynote addresses, seminars, workshops, the Thursday and Saturday evening receptions, and lunch on Friday and Saturday. The fee also includes free submission of a film for festival consideration and an event t-shirt. Student attendees pay $50.00.
Schools with 10 or more attendees (including sponsors) will receive a special scholarship to be awarded following the festival. North American Division associate communications director Julio C. Muñoz directs the festival this year, and is listed as the contact person for more information about scholarships.
More information about the festival is available at SONscreen.com.
Jared Wright is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.