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« on: March 19, 2008, 01:37:16 PM »

Christian Filmmakers to Receive the Top Cash Prize in World

by Staff
March 19, 2008

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, March 11 (christiansunite.com) -- The San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF) unveiled plans to give the single largest cash prize in the world to be awarded by any film festival -- secular or Christian.

On March 10, the cash prize payout for their annual "Best of Festival" Jubilee Award was upped to $101,000, giving it the top rank for cash prizes among film festivals worldwide. In addition, it is expected that other cash, product, and service-related prizes will bring the total value of awards for the next SAICFF in excess of $200,000. Doug Phillips, founder of the SAICFF, made the announcement earlier today at an official press conference at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. During the historic announcement attended by press, filmmakers and broadcast professionals, facing the Giants Producer Stephen Kendrick introduced Phillips as founder of "America's premier Christian film festival."

The announcement comes during a sustained crescendo for independent Christian films. In recent years, the industry has enjoyed mainstream praise and box office success for low-budget indy films such as Facing the Giants. Privately-financed blockbusters like The Passion of the Christ have challenged the conventional wisdom on issues of marketing, distribution, and ticket sales.

"What this announcement means is that Christian filmmaking will no longer be on the backburner, but in the forefront of the independent film movement," remarked Phillips.

"Purse strings of liberal filmmakers have financed anti- Christian values and moral decadence through film for decades," Phillips stated. "They have had their day, and now is the time for a Christian reformation in filmmaking."

Phillips noted, "We at the SAICFF are endeavoring to spearhead this reformation by giving the largest cash prize award in the world to our 'Best of Festival' Winner -- to reward that filmmaker who best communicates a Christian worldview with artistic excellence through their work. Thanks to the generous donation of a private foundation, the SAICFF now has prize money available to help encourage Christian filmmakers who are engaging this critical arena of the arts.

"Our mission is not to infiltrate Hollywood, nor merely to temper its distasteful agenda," Phillips said, "but to replace it altogether. We are about the business of building a replacement industry -- one that is distinctively Christian in message and methodology. This world-class grand prize sends a message that Christians are serious about investing in those independent Christian filmmakers who are willing to work outside of Hollywood, and to produce competitive films of technical excellence, with a presuppositionally biblical message."

The SAICFF is also announcing the inclusion of feature films, promotional media and commercial advertisements into its line-up of Jubilee Award winning categories. For the January, 2009 ceremony, awards will be given in the following categories: Best of Film Festival; Best Documentary Short; Best Dramatic Short Film; Best Creation Film; Best Biblical Family Film; Best Promotional Media; Best Commercial Advertisement; Best Young Filmmakers Short; Best Trailer; Audience Choice Award; Best Treatment; Best Original Score (Special Award)

Since firming up plans to offer a $101,000 Grand Prize at the film festival, the SAICFF has secured festival sponsorships from the NRB Network as well as Samaritan Ministries, and more significant sponsorships are in the works.

"We are thankful for our sponsors" Phillips stated. "And we welcome others who desire to help us spread the word about this new opportunity, as well as those who want to aid us financially in expanding this effort."

"It does little good to complain about Hollywood's corrupt agenda," continued Phillips. "Our goal is to light a candle --- to show that there is hope outside Hollywood by rewarding culture changers who are recapturing film for Christ's glory.

The San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival will hold its fifth annual festival in the Alamo City on January 8-10, 2009. The deadline for film submissions is November 1 for feature films and October 1 for all other film categories.

To learn more about the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, visit: www.independentchristianfilms.org

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