The 4th Annual International Christian Film Festival:
Imagine it! . . . Be Creative! . . . Make it Happen! . . . And FSPN was there.
This year’s ICFF highlighted several sports ﬁlms: Facing the Giants, Hoovey, & Prayer Never Fails.
FSPN got a one on one interview with Marty Jean-Louis, the executive director of the International Christian Film Festival. We talked with him about the growth and his dreams for the festival in the future.
The ICFF has seen steady growth from 1,200 attendees in 2015 to 2,000 this past year. Over 400 Feature Films, Short Films, Documentaries, Music Videos, Student ﬁlms and Scripts from 40 countries were submitted. “We gave all the glory to God for continuing to bless this event,” Jean-Louis exclaimed. “I am always open to hear where God wants to take this event. I would like to see this festival grow and become the Christian version of the Oscars. It is important that God is in the center of this.”
In attendance this year was David Nixon who gave an exclusive interview with FSPN to discuss Christian ﬁlm-making. “I had always wanted to make a Christian ﬁlm but was hitting my head against a brick wall. It was very difficult to get distribution for a Christian ﬁlm.”
That all changed after a meeting with Alex Kendrick and subsequent reading of the script that would become Facing the Giants - one of the most successful Christian ﬁlms of all time. Nixon said to Kendrick, “This is exactly what I want to do.”
Despite Kendrick’s lackluster budget, Nixon agreed to bring his crew from Orlando to Albany, Georgia and treated it like a missions trip. For six weeks they slept on ﬂoors and had local churches bring PB&J sandwiches. “We had such a wonderful time making the movie, never thinking that it would go anywhere” Nixon said. “But God had a huge plan for that movie. Getting theatrical distribution! It’s gone around the world and touched millions of lives!”
Nixon believes the main theme from Facing the Giants is to be ready when the Lord calls you. Nixon’s advice: “We have to prepare, we can’t sit back and wait for the door to open. We must hone our skills to get better and better, so that at the right time, God will connect us with someone so that the He can use us.”
The featured speaker at ICFF was none other than Actor, Director, and Producer Alex Kendrick, the man who convinced Nixon to help make Facing the Giants and later Fireproof a reality; to date, Kendrick is responsible for Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Courageous, and the recently released War Room.
To a packed house, Kendrick explained the path that his brother, Stephen, and he took in Christian ﬁlm-making. Like his character in Facing the Giants, Alex struggles with listening to his own advice, “To Praise God when we win and Praise God when we lose.” He explained that he had to stop getting ahead of God, and wait for the Lord to move the project along. Kendrick’s number one challenge to the attendees: “If you don’t have time to pray then you don’t have time to make a movie.”
The Kendrick Brothers have a dedicated group of Prayer Warriors who pray for the cast and crew on every one of their ﬁlms. He says that during the ﬁrst week of production the non-believers cast and crew are usually not on board, but by the third week they are all in and begin asking for prayers for their family and also for themselves.
Marty Jean-Louis hopes that in ﬁve years, there will be a Festival in the west, along with the original festival, as well as potential viewings in different parts of the world. Most recently there has been a ICFF segment during the Cannes Film Festival in France. FSPN wishes the ICFF continued success. Keep up the good work for the Kingdom!
The International Christian Film Festival returns
May 4-6, 2017 in Orlando.
Details at internationalcff.org.
Frank Robert Jr. is a contributing writer for FSPN and the associate director of the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation.
He teaches stewardship classes throughout the East Coast.