The Third Annual
October 9-11, 2015
Ramada Plaza Liberty International Airport
Molly Vernon is a seasoned film and theatre professional in Houston, Texas with over 65 IMDb credits to her name. She is an award winning filmmaker and retired theatre and film professor who works as a Director, Assistant Director, Unit Production Manager, Production Coordinator, and Producer on local Texas films. Molly is also a noted writer and editor who has served on panels and adjudicated films at multiple festivals and judged the 48HFP, Splatterfest, and The Zone. Her team won the Houston 2011 48HFP with the short film COLD WAR which screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and her team won 1st Place in the 2014 Splatterfest competition with the short film THE VOID.
In 2015 her short film RED PEARL won the Special Jury Award for Best Film Depicting Benefits to Man Kind from the International Space Station from NASA for the first NASA/CineSpace Contest has screened on PBS and won multiple awards at many festivals since. She is partnered with cinematographer Larry McKee in the production company Vernon-McKee, where they produced the faith-based short film INTO THE LIGHT, which has been picked up by Hewes Publishing LLC for distribution and has been placed with DirecTV.
Also, Vernon-McKee worked on the science fiction short film BIOMASS which is doing well on the festival circuit and the short film ABIDE which won Best Film in the "Write of Passage" category and Best Actor at the 168 Film Festival.
As a little boy, growing up in Benin City, Nigeria, Christian developed a passion for the arts, especially in the form of creative storytelling. Migrating to the United States with his family at the age of 15, afforded him a greater opportunity to explore his passion and grow as a storyteller and a filmmaker. In recent years Christian has made short films, music videos and other film forms which has garnered multiple film festival recognitions. Furthermore, Christian is the founding member and CEO of Iyobosa studios. The vision of Iyobosa studios is to impact the world through multimedia art forms. In a world where definitions are not lucid, this company hopes to effectively reveal and inspire true LOVE. God is Love.
The Journey of making this film is a testament to how limitations can stir up creativity. Instead of being paralyzed by our limitations as independent storytellers, My wife (Co-Executive Producer) and I made the choice to embrace our limitations and creatively make it serve us. We were faced with obstacles varying from lack of funds to lack of time (due to full-time employment, three little kids and pregnancy with twins). Notwithstanding, we embarked on our journey to complete our first feature length film, not focusing on what we didn't have, but what was available to us. The rest is history.
WHAT IS HUMAN?
Jake Bergen considers himself a late bloomer in filmmaking because of the fact that he was raised in a cult where the arts were considered largely taboo. He and his family were able to escape that toxic environment, and since that time Jake has focused on making his unrealized filmmaking aspirations a reality.
Chason Laing is the Executive Producer at Lumindeo. He is an avid writer, filmmaker, and snowboarder. He received his B.A. from Ouachita Baptist University (Go Tigers!) and a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary. He lives in Arlington, Texas with his wife, Cassie and their four miscreant children who are probably tracking mud through his house right now.
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Corey Wilkes is a graphic and web designer, videographer, director and writer. Corey attended Fort Valley State University as an undergraduate and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as a graduate to hone his craft specifically in design. Professionally and academically, he has received numerous awards for his creative skills. While the arts have always been his lane, Corey never dreamed of making a movie, until now.
WHEN THE SAINTS
Dan Parris is an award-winning filmmaker and owner of Speak Up Productions, a St. Louis based film production company focused on documentaries and media content for non-profits. He’s the director of the feature length documentaries When the Saints, Show Me Democracy and the award-winning film What Matters? Dan was the closing speaker at the 2014 TEDxGatewayArch City 2.0 event. Most recently, Dan co-founded the non-profit, Continuity, whose mission is to expand diversity in media production.
When I finished my course in film directing at the Raindance Film School in 2007, the course tutor said to me, “now go and make a film.” Years later, it’s so exciting to be embarking on an adventure with my first short film, Epiphany.
I’ve had several different careers, from graphic design, acting, motion graphic artist, video producer, to VFX artist. I spent a long time acting in film and TV series for BBC, Channel 4 and many other channels, while working as freelance graphic designer for top 10 UK advertising agencies.
My biggest change came when I left graphic design to pursue my passion for film by studying Digital Visual Effect at the University of Kent. This degree gave me the hands on experience of film making, visual effects, and post-production I’ve used in Epiphany.
After graduating, I had a great opportunity with a corporate organisation, and started a new department offering motion graphic and video production there. In the last five years, I’ve directed and produced many corporate films and animations. I love being able to marry my passion for animation, photography, and making films.
Steve Jobs said “You can’t connect the dots going forward, but you can connect the dots looking backward”. All the dots in my career – graphic design, acting, video production – have led to me to point where I have all the skills I need bring my story to life. It’s all helped me to go and make my film.
DOOR OF HOPE
Jozua Judah (Jozua J. Jonker) is the creator of Media State of Mind, the director of the Lead Media Program at Bethany Global University and the Media Director of Bethany International. His first debut project was in 2012 as the writer director for a short film called Heartbeat. In 2015 he graduated from Kings School of Media where his class won best documentary film at the 168 Film Festival for their project called Victory in Christ. Jozua's passion for film can be seen in his dedication to excellence in his work and his desire to influence the world through film for the kingdom of God.
How should the American church deal with unreached people groups inside its borders? How should the American church deal with immigrants? What if you had an ethnic people group a few miles away from your church that was unengaged, would you engage? Today more than ever the US government deals with thousands of people of a variety of people groups immigrating to the United States. A large portion of these people groups have not been fully engaged (if At All) by a local church with the gospel. 53% of white Evangelicals say they are very familiar with biblical insights about immigration yet 70% of that group claim they have never been encouraged by their church leaders to reach out to immigrants. Is the church able to find its way through the political, cultural and economic reform that immigration brings without looking and sounding like the world. Yes, indeed I think the church can!
Jerry J. Cunningham
Jerry J. Cunningham, a proud New Jersey Film Director, initially studied photography, which progressed into a career in film. To hone his skills, he worked on a variety of film projects as an intern, gaining real-time, on-the-set knowledge and experience. In addition, he received various film production certifications from The University of South California, School of Cinematic Arts, the New York Film Academy, AbelCineTech, Rutgers University. Upon completing his academic training, he worked on his first feature film,” Getting Caught,” for which he wrote and directed. (This film is now distributed by Amazon).
Jerry is also the founder of JJC Media.Net, a production company. His company focuses on short and feature-length films for theatrical release. Some of Jerry’s film catalog includes: Lost Man, Before Tomorrow, She Takes and A Chance for Trust. In addition, Jerry is a freelance Director, Writer, and Producer, working for cable networks, streaming television, and corporate clients such as AT&T, EUE/Screen Gems, The History Channel, MTV, Fatherhood.org, LACMA, Funny or Die, Netflix and Nike, Inc.
Matt was born in Indiana. Growing up he was captivated by the power that film had to convey a message and move people on an emotional level. But this passion lay dormant for many years while he studied at Purdue University pursuing a career in engineering within the aerospace field. Matt worked for a major defense contractor for many years.
The passion for film he had developed as a youth however was re-ignited after working on a small promotional video project for a local homeless shelter. Matt and his family had followed God's call moving to Missouri to help plant a church.
It was there that he realized once again the power of cinema to move people. Matt loves Jesus Christ as the One who died to save him, has been married for 20+ years, and is father of a son who composes film scores. He is committed to glorify God by using his God-given passion for filmmaking. Matt is most passionate about the creative side of filmmaking, mainly directing.
The Church of the Almighty God
WHERE IS MY HOME
Eastern Lightning, The Church of Almighty God was created because of the appearance and work of Almighty God, the second coming of the Lord Jesus, Christ of the last days. It is made up of all those who accept Almighty God's work in the last days and are conquered and saved by His words. It was entirely founded by Almighty God personally and is led by Him as the Shepherd. It was definitely not created by a person. Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. God's sheep hear God's voice. As long as you read the words of Almighty God, you will see God has appeared.
The movie has the following features:
1. Many truths expressed by Christ of the last days are quoted in this film, shedding light on a number of mysteries that mankind has always pursued and explored, but has never been able to understand, such as: Why is the world so dark and evil? Why are human beings so corrupt? Why is human life so painful? How should people live in order to gain God’s blessings? What is God’s will behind suffering, and what is the proper path in life? These truths have a truly critical role of enlightenment and guidance for people knowing happiness in life and stepping onto the right path of life.
2. The film is a truly moving story that portrays issues such as the common experience of suffering brought to people in modern society by a family breaking up, and the fickleness of human nature. It paints a vivid portrait of people’s pain and helplessness when they suffer setbacks and disasters if they do not have God by their side. It also shows the spiritual emptiness of pursuing fame and wealth, while also sharing the voice of the Lord of creation with all those who are living in pain: “When you are weary and when you begin to feel the desolation of this world, do not be perplexed, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival any time” (“The Sighing of the Almighty” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
3. A metaphorical approach is employed, using the protagonist’s constant longing for a warm home that is never able to be fulfilled until she returns to the house of God, finally finding a port for her weary soul, a place to be with God that is full of glory and hope. This is the sublimation of the film’s theme. It also delivers wonderful news to all people: The truths expressed by Christ of the last days can save mankind from the abyss of suffering, and guide people to a happy home of living alongside God, with His blessings.
COWBOY AND PREACHER
Will was educated at three contrasting universities – Dalhousie in Canada, Cambridge in the UK, and the University of Mississippi in the USA. He is a musician, writer and film-maker, fired by the will to make change through film-making. He has won awards for his documentaries that make classical music fascinating and accessible (BBC Music Magazine “best DVD” twice, and the Deutschenschallplattenkritikpreis three times). These music films include Martinikerk Rondeau, The Genius of Cavaillé-Coll and Maximum Reger. He is fascinated by America and has made three films about the country so far – Soul Searching for the Blues, Once Upon a Time in Knoxville and Cowboy and Preacher.
Tri Robinson, an evangelical pastor in Idaho who is also a life-long environmentalist, has battled throughout his life to try to get conservative Christians, many of whom do not take the environment seriously, to realise that being a conservative Christian and an environmentalist are not mutually exclusive. Most environmental films seem to be framed for a liberal audience - ie they preach to the converted. This film aims at the unconverted, while also offering liberals and non-Christians a fascinating portrayal of conservative evangelical life, values and mindset. This film is absolutely timely - not only is the destruction of the environment probably the most important issue facing all people, but many American politicians and voters are in denial about it.
In the film we see the efforts Tri makes to create a green conservative church and unite this with his life as a rancher, all the while developing a Christian system of ideas that unites environmentalism with moral development and action.
My film Cowboy and Preacher is the most important film I have made. To me the two most crucial issues facing the world at the moment are firstly the environmental crisis, and secondly the fact that people cannot bring themselves together to solve this crisis. Cowboy and Preacher aims to make a difference by showing Christians, especially in the USA where many have not been keen to act on environmental action, that it is imperative to act, while also showing a secular audience the moral framework within which Christians can and will act.
RUNNING AT FULL SPEED
Ryan Simmons has been an avid film lover and storyteller since he was a little child. His first short film premiered to a packed auditorium and kicked started his career in filmmaking. Since that first film, Ryan has gone on to win prestigious awards at the Cannes International Film Festival and the NYC film competition The Christophers Award.
Ryan produced, directed and shot with his wife, Helen Simmons, the short documentary The Water Story, which tells the sad truth about Africa's desperate need for clean water. Ryan holds an undergraduate degree in Communications and Economics from Berry College, is the former Executive Director of the Rome International Film Festival and the founder and President of Project H2O, a non-profit dedicated to clean water in Africa.
A SAFE PLACE
For the past 20 years, Jeff has been a technology evangelist. His talents helped his clients understand how technology can help them meet this business objectives and create strategic advantages.
However, he has also always been a story teller and loves to create imaginary worlds. His 9 year old daughter wisely asked "Why don't you make a movie if that is what would really make you happy?". With that endorsement in place, Jeff started working on his first feature film - A Safe Place.
All of us have habits, hurts, and hang-ups and we need someone to come along side us and support us as we support them. A community of people with healthy, sobriety in thoughts and decisions.
I have been incredibly blessed in order to work on this feature. People have been so quick to help and giving above and beyond in order to make this feature a reality.
WE ARE STRONGER
Carla McDougal founded the 501c3 non-profit organization, Reflective Life Ministries, in 2008. Her true passion is her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It humbles her to realize His love, grace, and mercy go beyond her understanding. She truly believes laughter is medicine from the Lord that breaks down walls and removes the masks in our lives. As a result, God has taken her around the world to encourage others to live every day for Him.
Her latest book, My Prayer Chair, won multiple awards in 2013 and is now available in Spanish. SOLD OUT, her latest book, released in September 2015.
She serves as Executive Producer for RLM's 3rd faith-based movie called STRONGER: Healing for the Broken. Victory for the Wounded. Carla and her husband, Fred, live in the Houston, TX area and have three sons, one daughter, and two daughters-in-"love." She smiles to think of the experiences God has allowed in her life to teach and remind her “He is in control.”
Brad (Jong Chul) Kim
THE TWO FACES OF LUTHER
Director Brad Jong Chul Kim released his first documentary film "Restoration" in 2010, which broke records as the highest-grossing Christian documentary film in South Korea.
The film went on to win the Grand Prize at the Fifth Monaco Charity Film Festival. He also released the films "Forgiveness" in 2011 and "The Third Temple" in 2013, all focusing on issues surrounding the nation of Israel.
Rick Aguilera (The Mud Guy)
THE MYSTERIOUS NOTE
Travel is my favorite hobby. I enjoy going on architecture trips, mission trips, archaeology digs, or just plain filming trips. I'm fascinated with geography and exploring God's unique nature in every new place I visit. Currently, I've traveled to 49 of the 50 US states, and 76 countries on all 6 inhabited continents.
After working in architecture for 16 years, I felt a strong call to work for God full-time on youth and children's ministries a series of events led to the clear indication that this was the direction God was calling me: To use 100% of my creative energy for Him!! I shut down my architecture practice and I created One Mustard Seed in 2008 and got right to work. (www.onemustardseed.com)
The Mysterious Note is a story about a family from Chicago that is completely caught up in a self-serving lifestyle. When the businessman father brings his family on an overnight business trip to a small town in Michigan, an unexpected turn of events unfolds when he clashes with a store owner that runs his store using biblical principals of stewardship. In the meantime his mischievous son befriends a couple local kids and they discover a mysterious note that catapults them into a 4-day adventure of mystery and self-discovery.
By the way, if you're wondering where the "Mud Guy" name came from, it's because I write a nature column called "Mud" for a great magazine called "Guide Magazine" that targets kids 10-14 years old. You can also watch some of my programs on several Christian TV stations including 3ABN and Hope Channel. The name "One Mustard Seed" is a daily reminder that if we have the faith the size of even ONE tiny mustard seed, the results through God can be enormous!