reb•e•lu•tion (reb’el lu shen) n. a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.


SAICFF: Time Captured In A Photograph #4

Arthur and Hanna Rasco, winners of Best of Festival and Best Narrative for SAICFF 2005 with their film "No Greater Love."
Arthur and Hanna Rasco with Mr. Phillips and the $10,000 Grand Prize award.
Doug Phillips shares a personal moment with Arthur and Hanna Rasco.
Russ Pond, winner of this year's Audience Choice Award with his film "Growing Up," along with the film's star, his son, Caleb.
Joshua Moore, winner of this year's Best Festival Trailer, with his trailer "Digitally Remastered."
Spencer Weaver, runner-up in the Best Young Filmmaker category, for his clay-mation film "Why Did The Duck Cross the Road?"
Ken Carpenter, winner of Best Documentary, with his eldest son.
Mr. Doug Phillips congratulates 16 year-old Alabamian, Colton Davies, winner of this year's Best Young Filmmaker Award with his film "Blue State: Tolerance For All."
Justice Tom Parker of the Alabama Supreme Court stands in for Tyler and Ed Litton, winners of this year's Best Political Film Award with their film "Intent," along with Doug Phillips and fellow Alabamian, Colton Davie.
Anna and Elizabeth Botkin perform on the harp the themes they composed with their brother Benjamin for The League of Grateful Sons.

And that's that... Or is it?

The Rebelution's authors, with Mr. Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum.
To everyone who read our blog over the past week: Thank you, for your encouraging comments and notes of appreciation; you truly made our "work" a joy. Now, with the 2005 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival complete, our live-blogging has also come to an end.

However, The Rebelution was an active blog before the festival, and will continue to be, we pray, for a good while yet to come. And as we pack up and prepare for our drive back to Montgomery, Alabama, and as we continue to serve Justice Tom Parker of the Alabama Supreme Court for the remainder of the year, we would be honored if each of you would continue to visit The Rebelution.

Our slogan, "Do Hard Things," is the philosophy behind the blog; it is the reason why Brett and I are interning with Justice Parker; it is the reason why we live-blogged the SAICFF; it is the drive behind much of our future goals and aspirations. "Do Hard Things" is the one thing that our culture never tells young people. Rather it's message is one of idleness and sloth, encouraging young people to view the teen years as a vacation from responsibility.

This is frightening, because Brett and I both understand that these early years are preparatory, and that ill-preparation is still preparation. The results are already being documented, as we have discussed in length the rise of the "adultescence;" adolescence extended into the 20s, 30s, and beyond. Simply put, maturity and responsibility do not occur overnight, they are the direct result of godly preparation in a previous season of life.

This is the message of The Rebelution, and we would love if you would continue to come alongside us in this journey. Our sidebar is a repository of links to past articles, many of which are foundational to our message. If you have not read our introductory post, please do so.

The festival and our work with the Justice have provided us with much food for thought and material with which to further develop our vision for cultural rebelution. We will be posting that vision over the next few days, weeks, and months. We will also be adding additional "post-coverage" to the festival, including an interview and profile of Isaac Botkin, an interview with 16 year-old filmmaker John Moore, and many more pictures of during and after the award ceremony.

We pray you may continue to be blessed by our work here. Through you, God has richly blessed us.

SAICFF: Awards Ceremony — Complete!

The awards ceremony is now complete! A huge congratulations to all the Jubilee Award-winners. The future of the independent Christian film industry is very bright indeed. Pictures to be posted later tonight.

Best Film Trailer: Digitally Remastered, Joshua Moore

Young Filmmakers Runner Up: Why Did The Duck Cross The Road?, Spencer Weaver

Best Young Filmmakers Short: Blue State: Tolerance For All, Colton Davie

Creation Runner Up: Gentle Giants, Jeff Butler

Best Creation Short: Journey Thru Creation, Christian Hidalgo

Political Runner Up: For God, Family, and the Republic, Jeff Butler

Best Political Short: Intent, Tyler and Ed Litton


Documentary Runner Up: The Narrow Path, Dalanglin Dkhar

Best Documentary Short: A Journey Home, Ken Carpenter

Narrative Runner Up: Her Last Prayer, Daniel Nunez

Best Narrative Short: No Greater Love, Arthur Rasco

Audience Choice Award: Growing Up, Russ Pond

Best of Festival Runner Up: The Narrow Path, Dalanglin Dkhar

Best of Film Festival: No Greater Love, Arthur Rasco

SAICFF: 9:30 P.M. - 10/29

Mr. Doug Phillips closed the evening by thanking the many sponsors, speakers, Vision Forum staff, San Antonio community, and most importantly, God Himself. We now end the second annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival the way we began... To the beautiful words of age old truth, "Be Thou My Vision," performed by Amy Salter and Family.

What a beautiful event.

SAICFF: 8:45 A.M. - 10/29

During an intermission, festival attendees are being treated; first, to a performance of the song "No Greater Love," by its composer and singer, and second, to yet another wonderful oral interpretation of God's Word by George Sarris; this one of the Book of Jonah.

SAICFF: 8:00 P.M. - 10/29

Charlie Zahm is currently leading the entire theater in the old hymn "Chester" and the lively ballad "Lord of the Dance." Nearly every audience member is clapping and stomping their feet along.

SAICFF: Time Captured In A Photograph #2

Joshua Phillips and Samuel Turley greet festival attendees before the awards ceremony begins.
John Moore, director, producer, and writer of semi-finalist film "Bubble Trouble."
Russ Pond and his son Caleb. Director and star of the film "Growing Up."
The cast, crew, and fans of the excellent film "Clocks."

SAICFF: 5:20 P.M. - 10/29

Attendees are flocking to the registration table to vote for their favorite film of the festival. From The Rebelution's unofficial polling, audience favorites include John Moore's "Bubble Trouble," Russell Pond's "Growing Up," and Arthur Rasco's "No Greater Love."

SAICFF: 4:45 P.M. - 10/29

Having just watched a slate of excellent, excellent films: No Greater Love, Clocks, Virtuoso, and Focus. I am thrilled by how much the quality has risen since last year. There are some truly marvelous films at this festival.

Audience members will now head off to vote for their favorite film of the festival. Our next post will be at the Jubilee Awards and Closing Ceremonies.

SAICFF: 3:30 P.M. - 10/29

The audience is now being treated to a highly creative and entertaining LEGO stop-motion film "The Wars of Humanity." I can't believe the hours and hours that must have been put into this film. I absolutely love the concept.

SAICFF: 3:15 P.M. - 10/29

The attendees in room 003 just finished watching the film "The Cookie Jar," by Jonathan S. Crisp. I would love my little brother to watch this film. An excellent treatment of temptation, sin, and salvation, for young children. Highly enjoyable!

SAICFF: 2:30 P.M. - 10/29

"Blue State: Tolerance for All" has just wrapped up. I must say, I was very impressed. Better than many films I've seen produced and sold in Christian circles, and evident of great talent and potential, I greatly look forward to seeing Colton Davie's future films, both next year, and for years to come. Be sure to go watch the trailer for the film here.

SAICFF: 1:35 P.M. - 10/29

I am sitting in the Lila Cockrell Theatre, and just finished watching "Her Last Prayer," the dramatic story of Chinise girl who is martyred when she refuses to spit on God's Word.

Now I'm watching a beautiful documentary entitled, "The Narrow Path," which tells the life of Silon Dkhar (1908-2003) a strong Christian mother living in north east India, who single-handedly raised five children in the way of the Lord. It is a beautiful testimony to the power of godly motherhood and the faithfulness of God.

SAICFF: 1:35 P.M. - 10/29

I am now watching the opening moments of Colton Davie's film "Blue State: Tolerance For All." I have heard many wonderful things about this film. Thus far, it has exceeded my expectations. The script alone is excellent; something that is greatly lacking in most Christian films.

SAICFF: Destroying The Home Video Paradox

This festival is filled with seeming paradoxes. Most of them occur when you match apparent youth with obviously excellent, quality films. Yet I, along with nearly 2,000 other attendees of The League of Grateful Sons' World Premiere, witnessed another seeming paradox: a family film, a family project, that challenges the very standards of Hollywood and deeply touches the hearts of all who see it.
That's right. Vision Forum's "The League of Grateful Sons" is a "home video." But it's also one of the best examples of competent Christian filmmaking on the market today. The Geoffrey Botkin Family: Victoria (wife of 25 years), Isaac (24), David (22), Anna (20), Elizabeth (18), Benjamin (16), Lucas (12), and Noah (10), were nearly exclusively involved in the project; taking responsibility for everything from directing and editing to costumes and scoring.

Mrs. Botkin, who has homeschooled for nearly twenty years, clearly raised her children to enjoy a challenge, or at least, to persevere despite challenges. In today's session, "The Making of The League of Grateful Sons," Mr. Geoff Botkin testified that his wife of 25 years created the environment that prepared and equiped the entire family to take on such an enormous task.

Mr. Botkin shared that originally he told Doug Phillips that "we might not be able to be involved because of our responsibilities in New Zealand." Doug, Mr. Botkin recollected, trusted in the Lord and humbly communicated what his need was. Mr. Botkin went to his family and told them it would be a near impossible project to get done, but the family embraced the challenge and threw themselves into the work.

Isaac Botkin (24), who was taught by his father that he would be a man when he turned thirteen, used the knowledge and skills he has developed over the past decade to create all the visual effects and to assist his father in directing and shooting the film. This is a young man who has been asked by Weta Workshops (of "Lord of the Rings" fame) to work on their current project "King Kong." But Isaac Botkin has turned these offers down because he wanted to help his father and to communicate the message of this film.

David Botkin (22), managed all the IT aspects of the production. Keeping track of over 10,000 pictures, 60-80 hours of footage, and organizing them in such a way that they were easily accessible.

Anna (20) & Elizabeth (18), were faithful to serve their father in his huge project; composing, along with Benjamin, the beautiful score for the documentary and then arranging and producing it on their computer. They designed period costumes; including a beautiful apron made from a pillow sham. Anna played the part of Mrs. Butler in the scene where the airplane flies overhead and young "Johnny Boy" runs to her side to wave. They used a sewing machine to perforate the period stamps Isaac had designed using Adobe Photoshop.

Benjamin (16) played a major role in the composition of the score. Anna and Elizabeth have kindly remarked that their "little brother" has greater talent in the area of composition. Indeed, Benjamin was not only competent, but he was diligent. Every night at 2:00 A.M. he would get himself out of bed (Mr. Botkin says they never had to wake him up) and take a five-hour shift at the computer, arranging the score for the film and improving the sound quality of each note and instrument. At 7:00 A.M. he would be relieve by Anna or Elizabeth, who would take the day shifts in a long and hard cycle. Such sacrifice characterizes the Botkin's approach to this film.

Lucas (12), aided by his younger brother Noah (10), took over all the chores around the Botkin Family's ranch in New Zealand. He and Noah worked diligently to free the rest of the family up for "film work" and their contribution was just as significant. They were doing what they could do best to aid the production and to further the vision.

These brief summaries only brush the surface of the late nights, early mornings, long days, missed birthdays and anniversaries, and the hundreds and hundreds of small, but difficult, tasks that this family undertook to bring "The League of Grateful Sons" to the big screen.

In the world of paradoxes this family has shown that youth can be defied by responsibility, diligence, and faithfulness. And most clearly, they have proved that the paradox of the "family film" is really no pardox after all.

The DVD of "The League of Grateful Sons" is available on the Vision Forum website for $18.00.

SAICFF: 12:30 P.M. - 10/29

I have just returned from watching three short films in the Narrative category: Doors of the Heart, Dumb Detective, and Mr. Safeguard. All three contained excellent messages and several flashes of brilliance in filmmaking. It is exciting to see the future of the Independent Christian Filmmaking represented so well by these early pioneers in this culture-changing movement.

SAICFF: 11:15 A.M. - 10/29

Mr. Botkin shares countless, powerful, chilling quotations by Marxists of the past century, whose goal in cultural warfare was targeted towards two institutions: The cinema, and the public school system. Consider the following quotes:

John Dewey, father of progressive education: "Literacy is the greatest obstacle to socialism."

Vladimir Lenin: "Of all the arts, the motion picture is the most important."

Leon Trotsky: "This weapon [cinema], which cries out to be used, is the best instrument for political propaganda, which cuts into the memory and may be made a possible source of revenue."

Severneya Pravda: "We are obliged... to make amusement a weapon of collective education. The cinema competes with the church. This rivalry may become fatal for the church. The cinema liberates you from the need of crossing the church door. Here is an instrument we must secure."

As Mr. Botkin said, "It was the perfect instrument of indoctrination because it was so well suited to create an entire society more blatantly devoted to the gratification of sensory desires at the expense of masculine responsibility and achievement."

A few more quotes:

Otto Gross: "If Jezebel had not been defeated by Elijah, world history would have been diffretna dn better. Jezebel was Babylon. By killing her, monotheistic moralism drove pleasure from the world."

Mr. Gross, once again, stated that one of his visions was "to start a sexual revolution to destroy the bourgeois, patriarchal family."

Mr. Botkin further points out that the Soviet's intelligence operation code-named Hollywood as "Babylon."

To show the Marxist's great power and influence in Hollywood, Mr. Botkin shared several quotes, inlcuding this by screenwriter-director Philip Dunne, in his 1980 memoirs, "All over town the industrious communist tail wagged the lazy liberal dog."

This is hardly a taste of the information being shared in this lecture... Mr. Botkin, a former Marxist himself, has studied this issue for over 10 years, and his knowledge and wisdom is incredible. The implications of the revelations shown in this session are astounding.

We wonder what has happened to society and why Hollywood is leading the way downward... The answer is chilling. It was planned, strategized, and calculated for decades upon decades by those who hate Christianity and all the values represented by Scripture. It was, as one author put it, "far and away the most successful psychological warfare operation ever launched against the West."

SAICFF: 11:00 A.M. - 10/29

In 1979, Hollywood insider, Ben Stein, published his book "The View from Sunset Boulevard," subtitled "America as brought to you by the people who make television." In it he outlined the results of his studies, which found the following depictions as consistently presented in Hollywood television and feature films:

Businessmen = criminals

The military = psychotic sadists

Minorities of all descriptions = goodhearted and hard-working

Small towns = evil

Criminals = victims of racism and poverty

Clergy = uninformed, unsophisticated, and ineffectual

Government social workers = noble, idealistic

Fathers = stupid

Children = superior and more intelligent than parents
Mr. Stein's conclusion was this: "It all came together for me only by using a Marxian analysis."

Here Mr. Botkin turned to powerfully present Marxism and Neo-Marxism as the direct but subtle power behind Hollywood's molding and shaping of culture. He quotes a poem written by a young Karl Marx:
"Soon I shall embrace eternity to my breast, and soon I shall howl gigantic curses on mankind... If there is a something which devours, I'll leap within though I bring the world to ruins. The world which bulks between me and abyss I will smash to pieces iwth my enduring curses... Behold this sword - the prince of darkness sold it to me. For he beats the time and gives the signs. Ever more boldly I play the dance of Death." — Karl Marx

SAICFF: 10:45 A.M. - 10/29

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr., has blessed us with powerful insights. Here are some choice excerpts from my notes:

  • If you were going to war, the one thing you'd like to trick your enemy into believing is that there is no war. And that is the one the devil seeks to convince Christians of.
  • We tend to think that when we hold up the Bible the devil will run in fear. But that's a lie! He says, "Sure! Let's read the Bible and see what it really says." He's sitting next to us seeking to convince us, among others things, that there is no war.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4 says, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal . . ." This means that there is a war! We're being more pious than God when we say, "We're Christians, we should build bridges, not walls."
  • Just because it says our weapon are not carnal, doesn’t mean we’re not at war. It just means our weapons are not grenades and tanks! Carnal doesn’t just mean non-physical, it means not “evil.” Our weapons are not carnal, they are virtues themselves: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
  • Weapon Number One - Truth: In the battle for Truth we are fighting with unarmed men. We need to buy into this in a big way! We need to buy into this in a big way, because we have bought into the mindset that Christians are dumber than your average bear! We just stand back. Be quiet. We're just simple Christians who aren't going to hurt anyone. This is why it is so shocking to the enemy when we don't act that way. The three words, "Are you sure?" is all you need to disarm those who say there is no objective truth.
  • We must understand that only a very small portion of the Bible is pure instructional, textbook style teaching. The majority is stories, poems, and songs! And these stories are not about men who have never failed, but who believe in a big gospel.
  • Weapon Number Two - Goodness: Goodness is terribly overlooked. We must understand that humans are influenced more by the inspiration of virtue than they are by the presentation of arguments. Goodness inspires virtue.
  • The enemy propogates the lie that heroism is standing up for what you believe in. But Hitler did that. Stalin did that. Anyone can do that. Rather, heroism is standing up for goodness. A hero is someone who does good, even when it's hard.
  • Weapon Number Three - Beauty: The sad truth is that while we've fought against relativism in the area of truth (Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life) and in the area of goodness (God's Law governs morality), we've agreed with the world when it says, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
  • But there are objective standards of beauty. Why is it that no one has pictures of car wrecks above their mantle? Why is it that no one buys CD of grating static to listen to while they work? There are standards, even though the world attempts to abolish them.
  • Dr. Sproul, Jr., argued that these three virtues represent the Trinity, where Truth is represented in the Son, Goodness is represented in the Father, and Beauty is represented in the Spirit. And while the Trinity composes one God, perhaps Truth, Goodness, and Beauty are really one thing.
  • The worst thing about Darwinism is that it has convinced us that Creation is a machine. It's a dance. It's a poem. It's a song. It's a harmonizing of complexity. It is beautiful. It is true. It is good.
  • As filmmakers we must show this beauty, goodness, and truth. We must communicate, as much as we are able, the character of God Himself, through our filmmaking.

SAICFF: 10:40 A.M. - 10/29

While Brett covers R.C. Sproul, Jr., and his lecture entitled, The Weapons of Our Warfare: Truth, Beauty, Righteousness, I will be providing notes and commentary on a lecture that was very popular and impacting to festival attendees last year, entitled Hollywood's Most Despised Villian by Geoff Botkin.

Mr. Botkin begins by defining two key terms:

Holiness: As applied to media: Purity of content, Biblically moral content, sanctified content consecrated to God, separate form and vastly different from conventional worldly standards.

Aesthetics: The science of defining goodness, truth, and beauty and how culture is perceived. Through aesthetic elements we feel, perceive and see a culture’s religion. Aesthetic elements are the external elements of culture, the physical building blocks of culture. They are the imprint of faith on life and culture. All are religious. They are the theological marks of society, even secular society. They are the marks of one’s values and moral codes. Christian aesthetic elements are the ingredients of Christian culture, which is nothing more than Christian civilization. They are the tools of discipleship, the very framework of the Kingdom of God.

SAICFF: 10:15 A.M. - 10/29

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr., in his lecture, "The Weapons of Our Warfare: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty," has just argued that "In the battle for Truth we are fighting with unarmed men. We need to buy into this in a big way! We need to buy into this in a big way, because we have bought into the mindset that Christians are dumber than your average bear! We just stand back. Be quiet. We're just simple Christians who aren't going to hurt anyone."

This is why it is so shocking to the enemy when we don't act that way.


SAICFF: "League of Grateful Sons" - World Premiere

What an absolutely incredible, God-glorifying, awe-inspiring, tear-provoking, blessing of an evening. The League of Grateful Sons has premiered to a packed auditorium of nearly 2,000 people. Professional throughout, the world premiere once again demonstrated a vision for excellence in medium and message.
The League of Grateful Sons uncovers a forgotten heritage and leaves today's sons and fathers a wonderful legacy. Let us honor our fathers. Let them tell the stories of God's providence and ever-present faithfulness. And let those stories continue from generation to generation; giving wings to young eagles.
The audience's appreciation for this film was evidenced by a prolonged standing ovation that continued throughout the credits. A standing ovation that was repeated when George Sarris introduced the brave World War II veterans, who made their way from around the world to attend the world premiere of a film that tells their story, and establishes the legacy of ordinary men who believe in duty, honor, commitment, sacrifice, and most importantly, a sovereign and gracious God who does all things well.

SAICFF: "League of Grateful Sons" - World Premiere

Sentimental Journey opens the world premiere of Vision Forum's "League of Grateful Sons."

SAICFF: Interview with John Moore - 1:45 P.M.

We just finished an excellent interview with 16-year-old, John Moore, of Kaufman, Texas. Young Mr. Moore was incredibly articulate and purposeful in answering our questions. We'll try to transcribe the rest of the interview at a later date, but for now we'd like to share a wonderful bit of advice Moore had for aspiring young filmmakers:

"The thing I need to hear more and more and more, is 'you don’t need a better camera, you don’t need a better camera, you don’t need a better camera, you don’t need a better camera.'

We need to realize that . . . the latest, top-of-the-line camera, right now, a year from now will be obsolete. Technologies won’t be used anymore, the quality won’t be the best out there, and so you’ll need another one. But lighting techniques will stay with you forever. The sooner you learn lighting the sooner you’ll master your craft. The sooner you learn sound technique, the sooner you’ll master your craft. Those are things that have not changed in 60 years, and I’m sure they stay the same for a good long time to come.”

SAICFF: 1:10 P.M. - 10/28

Images and quotations from press conference announcing the world premiere of Vision Forum's Faith of our Father's film project The League of Grateful Sons:

"[H]ere you have, perhaps one of the most important things that I think can happen in a man's life. And that is this, we're all ordinary men, but the world doesn't praise the most important things that are in the lives and hearts of ordinary men. And my father is an ordinary man. We're honoring him, but we're honoring him for the things that the world would never honor him for." — Scott Brown
“We are hoping to see this [film] distributed widely through the Christian community through a variety of different independent marketing vehicles. Now, historically, films have been marketed only through the monopolistic stranglehold mechanism of Hollywood. This is being broken up today. The Internet, private avenues, open up opportunities for independent filmmakers like myself to reach a large number of people.”

“My dream is that churches will show this film and encourage people to see it in their homes and in their local churches. It is my dream that local theaters will pick it up; theaters that understand that families want to see more than the sort of stuff that’s coming out of Hollywood right now. Also, it’s our dream and our hope, should God provide the resources, or should the doors open up, that we’ll be able to see the film in its entirety or perhaps an edited version on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and others, so that we can reach an entire group of individuals who would otherwise not be seeing this film. Our goal is that millions of people will see the film and we’ll be pressing towards that direction in the months to come.” -- Doug Phillips

SAICFF: 12:55 P.M. - 10/28

Scott Brown, whose father fought in WWII on Iwo Jima, just shared his deep appreciation for being involved in The League of Grateful Sons. One thing that particularly stood out was this quote, regarding his father: "[This film is] honoring him for something that the world would never honor him for."

SAICFF: 12:45 P.M. - 10/28

Vision Forum is currently holding a brief press conference announcing the world premiere of The League of Grateful Sons this evening. Brett and I, representing The Rebelution, have been invited to attend and participate. We are incredibly excited about this film.

Updates and quotes to come...

SAICFF: 12:30 P.M. - 10/28

Alex and I are now enjoying the film "Bubble Trouble," in which young "Gator" builds a special machine that allows him to read people's minds. Then when two con men plan a plot to rob his family Gator must put his new abilities to use. I would highly recommend this incredibly funny and fun short to everyone and anyone.

Fun music and excellent comedic timing and expression from young Jeffrey Moore. The script is delightful and the plot is very creative. We look forward to our scheduled interview with director, producer, and writer John Moore at 1:45 this afternoon.

SAICFF: 11:55 A.M. - 10/28

Brett and I are in room 007 watching two films in the Young Filmmakers category. The first, called Finally Home, directed by Phillip Leclerc, is a 33-minute film that tells the story of Jesse, a young teen whose parents were killed in a fatal car accident and who lives in a State home for boys. Driven by unanswered questions, Jesse takes a group of boys and feels the boy's home to the only person he knows can help him — "Uncle Owen." So far, I've really appreciate the high quality camera work in this film.

The second film, coming up next, is a film directed by then-15, now 16 year-old, John Moore, entitled Bubble Trouble. A brief description of this film can be found here.

SAICFF: 11:00 A.M. - 10/28

Presented by Geoff Botkins in his session Vocational Realities for Aspiring Filmmakers:

Spiritual Qualifications for Aspiring Filmmakers:

  • Are you living in the real world?
  • Are you a leader or a follower?
  • Are you weak in faith or strong in faith?
  • Are you teaching in truth or sound doctrine?
  • Are you growing in grace and humility?
  • Do you have vigor and spiritual authority?
  • Are you pursuing a relationship with God through biblical literacy?
  • Do you heed the voice of your parents?
  • Do you take every opportunity to let your family sharpen your character?
  • Are you building your own convictions?
Academic Qualifications for Aspiring Filmmakers:
  • Do not go to film school. For many producers, and especially for independent Christian producers, college credentials mean the following: “The holder of these credential just spent four years in a dismally unproductive environment using gear that is no longer industry standard, trying to succeed in a totally artificial environment because he didn’t have the resourcefulness or creativity to go out and produce something for the real world. The graduate can tolerate futility and boredom.”
  • Among your professional goals should be to become resourceful, responsible, virtuous, capable, dependable, accomplished, entrepreneurial, and honest.
  • Your vocational goal should be the complete management of your own productions.
  • As preparation to that goal you should make your own small production or assist mature Christian producers who are creating good material.
Note: Blogger is not allowing us to upload pictures. Hopefully this problem will be rectified soon. For now, there will be only text.

SAICFF: 10:55 A.M. - 10/28

Presented by Geoff Botkins in his session Vocational Realities for Aspiring Filmmakers:

Cold Facts About the Filmmaking Industry:

  • Filmmaking can be a sin trap because the present industry is a sensuality cartel.
  • Filmmaking is not as prestigious, refined, classy, or glamorous as the industry portrays itself. (“Film are made by morons for morons.” - Walter Matthau)
  • Film can also be spiritually dangerous because it is a fun vocation. It integrates many challenging arts, sciences, technologies, and talented people. It entertains. It thrills. It’s so much fun, we can make an idol of it.
  • Film is a religious weapon that has been used for both garish and brutish amusement and subtle indoctrination.
  • You need spiritual maturity in order to know how to use this versatile weapon because it teaches. Filmmakers are teachers. (James 3:1 - "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.")
  • Because every film teaches theological truth and falsehood, you must understand the You must have character as well as sound theological footing on order to rise to positions of responsibility in the industry.
  • You must choose your positions and training carefully in order to avoid helping the wrong people advance the wrong ideas.
  • You must develop the vision to be a wise leader and not a blind follower. You must attain to positions of influence in order to be the most effective teacher you can be.
  • You must aspire to be an independent writer/producer/director.
  • The most influential form of media is the two-hour theatrical feature film. In the early 21st Century, this motion picture format is still the influential pacesetter of American Culture. As it is exported to other nations it upsets cultural realities wherever it is seen. It colonizes culturally and it disciplines theologically.

SAICFF: 10:45 P.M. - 10/28

Mr. Geoffrey Botkin is now presenting an excellent talk entitled Vocational Realities for Aspiring Filmmakers. It's purpose is to communicate to aspiring filmmakers what to expect, be aware of, and prepare for.

He began by warning attendees of the dangers of Hollywood. Mr. Botkin, a Marxist prior to coming to Christ, was drawn to the world of filmmaking when he realized the power of that medium. He went to Hollywood, observed it, and observed friends and acquaintances who, despite their good intentions, became mired in its filth.

Countless Christians have been harmed, many shipwrecked in Hollywood. You cannot succeed in that industry without compromising in order to please the powers-that-be; powers that are hostile to Christianity in every way.

"This is a dangerous territory. It's dangerous. And this is probably the only film festival you'll go to where the faculty will tell you, 'You better be careful. This isn't cool. This is warfare.'" — Geoff Botkin

SAICFF: 10:15 A.M. - 10/28

In his session, "Outside Hollywood: The Core Thesis," Doug Phillips shared four reasons why this is the perfect time to be a Christian filmmaker:

Number One: We have access to technology. Right now, for $10,000, you can build a fully functional film studio and start cranking out films. Previously these tools were unavailable to anyone outside of Hollywood or who weren't independently wealthy.

Number Two: We have genuine methods of distribution. It used to be that Hollywood completely controlled the distribution mechanism. You simply could not get your film out to a large audience apart from the Hollywood machine. However, now there are more and more options for distribution. Many people are bypassing the theaters altogether. Instead, churches are gathering thousands of Christians within their doors to show films they believe will be uplifting and profitable. The Internet is arguably the biggest tool for change, as the new Movie iPod brings to the public's attention a whole new way to distribute and watch movies. Vision Forum is currently considering the development of an online Christian film store where you can download high-caliber Christian films for a minimal price.

Important Side Note: Mr. Phillips also argued that a big part of Christian films being distributed is for Christians themselves to start supporting it. He said that we tend to spend much of our money subsidizing Hollywood's raunchy films by watching them in the theaters or renting them on DVD. Here at the SAICFF, Vision Forum is putting their money where their mouth is, by saying: "You made a Christ-honoring, epistemologically self-conscious film, here is $10,000."

As Christians our part is to spend the bulk of our money on what which is excellent, beautiful, and above reproach.

Number Three: God is raising up an army. Doug Phillips compared this independent Christian film movement to the homeschool movement of the 1970's and '80's, saying that we need the same willingness to pioneer, to battle, and to cast an exciting new vision for reform.

Number Four: God is opening up new opportunities for training. Older, mature Christian filmmakers are increasingly taking young filmmakers as apprentices in a mentoring relationship. In this movement, Mr. Phillips argued, we need to be auto-didacts. We need to teach ourselves and be taught by others.

SAICFF: 9:45 A.M. - 10/28

One of the most incredible segments of the session "Outside Hollywood: The Core Thesis," was when Geoff Botkin, a brilliant filmmaker and Godly man shared why he has not joined Hollywood:

"Even if I'm gifted, I have fare more and bigger and more grand responsibilities than being true to my own gifts and talents. I have duties and responsibilities to my Lord, to my family, and to my fellow believers. And I cannot disregard those duties.

The reason I don't work in Hollywood is because it would corrupt my soul, and that corruption would work its way into my family."
Mr. Botkin is such an incredible witness as he rejects the lie our culture promotes that faithfulness to yourself is more important than faithfulness to your God, family, and those around you. There is no doubt in the minds of anyone who knows his skill that he could be involved in high-end productions if he were to act against his firm convictions. But everyone who knows his character knows that he never will.

SAICFF: 9:30 A.M. - 10/28

I have just finished listening to R.C. Sproul, Jr., deliver a provacative talk entitled Deliberate Culture. He began by presenting a brief history of the Enlightenment, and argues that this same philosophy of perfection through education continues to ensnare believers and unbelievers alike. As a younger man, Sproul explained, he was what he calls a Worldview Boy. He grew up under the teaching of his father, R.C. Sproul, senior, and Dr. Francis Schaeffer. He's written entire books on worldviews. And yet, he has a charge and a caution for worldviewish Christians.

As Christians, particularly those of us who are Reformed, we often fall into the error of measuring our level of sanctification by the sophistication of our worldview. Our godliness is decided by our ability to drop names of philosophers and theologians whose works we've studied. We attempt to solve our problems by reading books, attending conferences, listening to sermons, and watching video lectures. In many ways, we're still snared by a foundational enlightenment worldview, that man is perfectible, and that education is his salvation. We don't change our problems by changing our worldview. Man doesn't sin because of errors in his worldview. Rather he constructs erroneous worldviews to cover over his sin.

Because of this, making movies to change worldviews, simply will not work. That mindset is still enslaved to the enlightenment. It will only persuade audiences to construct different erroneous worldviews to cover up their sins. Mr. Sproul encouraged all Christians, whether watching or making films, to measure a movie, not by its ability to make us think true thoughts, but by its ability to encourage virtue. As Christians, we are not deliberate enough. He puts forth this charge as an example of this error: That the problem in America is not Darwinism, but the murder of babies.

Mr. Sproul points out the passage in Romans 1:29-32, where we read, "They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."

As Christians we often will boycott movies with gross immorality, violence, or obscenity. You see, we believe we can identify the worldview behind such depictions of sin. And yet, we watch and support movies and television shows where gossips, fools, and disobedient children are continually depicted. We've missed something.

SAICFF: 8:45 A.M. - 10/28

During the session "Outside Hollywood: The Core Thesis," Mr. Phillips makes a powerful, powerful point. He tells the story of his family's visit to the beautiful ancient Mayan temples where, each day, the priest would take a twelve year old boy or girl, cut out their beating heart, eat it, and throw the body down the temple steps. The Aztecs also followed this horrendous practice. When Montezuma met Cortez, he invited him to lunch, took a twelve-year-old boy, laid him on the table, cut out his heart, and ate it. The most shocking aspect of this historical fact is that this practice was completely normal and societally accepted. There was absolutely no outcry. The culture was entirely desensitized.

He then turned the story on modern Americans, including Christians. We laugh at depictions of homosexuality, at disrepect and disobedience to parents, and at bumbling reverends and pastors in a majority of secular television and films. We secretly root for men and women in "romantic" films to leave their hateful husband or wife and commit adultery. We do little, besides voicing our opinion from time to time, to raise a cry against the murder of millions of unborn children. We've also been desensitized, and Hollywood has been the major player.

SAICFF: 8:15 A.M. - 10/28

This morning Alex and are going to attend a two different sessions. The first from Geoff Botkin and Doug Phillips entitled, "Outside Hollywood: The Core Thesis," and the second by R.C. Sproul, Jr., entitled, "Deliberate Culture." Both sound positively excellent and promise to be just as insightful as everything we've heard over the past few days. Updates and pictures to follow.


SAICFF: Time Captured In A Photograph #1

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr. is the director of Highlands Study Center. Tonight he shared that the serpent's strategy is to twist God's revealed Word when it says "the earth is the Lords, and the fullness thereof." The enemy twists that to mean that "stuff is good." Tomorrow morning at 8:30 A.M. in his lecture "Deliberate Culture" he will explaining how a proper understanding of God's dominion over creation affects filmmaking and culture.
Kevin Swanson, writer, author, radio host, & worldview teacher, will be speaking tommorrow at 8:30 A.M. on "How Christians Can Evaluate Movies." Tonight he shares that there are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what just happened. He encouraged us to belong to the first category and told us that only Christians who are "worldview-savvy" will make things happen.
George Sarris, an actor, narrator, and spokesman, presents an incredible, one-man rendition of the Book of Esther, taken word-for-word, straight out of the Bible. The audience absolutely loved it.

SAICFF: 10:00 P.M. - 10/27

For the evening’s entertainment, festival attendees have been treated to two magnificent performances. The first was a compilation Scottish ballads, sung by baritone Celtic balladeer Charlie Zahm. I wish we could allow those reading to hear Mr. Zahm’s incredible voice, but sadly, it cannot be communicated over the blog medium. The second was a performance of the entire Book of Esther, word-for-word, by veteran actor/storyteller George Sarris. Mr. Sarris truly brings Scripture to life. However, what I appreciate most about Mr. Zahm and Mr. Sarris, which can be communicated through written word, is their commitment to glorifying God through their areas of endeavor. It is a testimony to Vision Forum that they not only bring in artists who are experts in their craft, but also ensure that those artists fit perfectly in the message of the entire event: That Christ is over all.

SAICFF: Random Interview Samplings #1

Immediately after the opening ceremony concluded we started interviewing film festival attendees to get their first impressions. The following quotations do little to show how many different cities, states, and nations are represented at this event, or the incredible age ranged represented, however they all perfectly summarize the impression the opening ceremony had on nearly all who attended:

Chloe Anderson, an 18-year-old from Colorado: "We just got done with the opening ceremonies and I was blown away. I was very, very impressed with what is being done here."

J.J. Gauthier, an 18-year-old from Colorado: "Based on the opening ceremony I think this is going to be very interesting. This is something that really is kind of untapped by Christians, it's not something that is used well. So if this turns out to be as good, or hopefully even better, than what was previewed at the opening ceremony I think [filmmaking] is something [Christians] can really make an impact on."

John Moore, a 16-year-old from Texas: "I was extremely impressed with the purity that I saw here, the revelutionary insight from the speakers, and the quality of presentation. Just really the beauty of it all, I guess you could say. Anyone could see the beauty in this."

SAICFF: 8:15 P.M. - 10/27

To conclude our live-reporting of the SAICFF Opening Ceremony, we quote the words adorning one of the three excellent trailers for the festival presented this evening:

"Come to the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. Where Truth . . . is true. Evil . . . is evil. Men . . . are men. Women . . . are women. Modesty . . . is beautiful. Marriage . . . is for life. Children . . . are a blessing. Motherhood . . . is a divine calling. Fathers . . . always know best. And the good ‘ol days . . . are now."
We wish you were here.

SAICFF: 7:45 P.M. - 10/27

[Note: This post is being posted a little late because Alex and I have been able to find only one room in the building where we can connect to the internet without paying $4.95 per minute. For that reason we are having to run back and forth from the auditorium to our "press room" to bring these updates to you. Keep this fact in mind and be gracious if our updates are slightly later than normal.]

The Salters Family just finished the most beautiful rendition of "Be Thou My Vision," that I, or anyone I've asked about it, have ever heard. I am unable to express just how refreshing it is to be at a Christian event where the aesthetics are equal to the message.

And let me tell you: Vision Forum doesn't skimp on message.

This Opening Ceremony has been technically perfect, artistically beautiful, and uncompromisingly powerful. What a incredible change from what we've come to expect from Christian events. Too often we attend Christian events, watch Christian movies, read Christian novels, and work with Christian businesses, hoping that we won't be disappointed too badly. Our standards have sunk to such a low level that we've been thrilled to find Christian products that "succeed" in attaining a level of quality that would be considered average by industry standards.

Vision Forum and the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival are playing a major role in changing things; combining incredible levels of competence and character, while investing heaveily in the ability of competent Christians around the world to network and collaborate.

SAICFF: 7:30 P.M. - 10/27

The audience was just given the tremendous treat of watching trailers for two upcoming, independent Christian films. The first, by Scottish brothers Colin and Euan Gunn, winners of last year's Best Political Film for their film Shaky Town (covering the issue of gay marriage in San Francisco), is called The Monstrous Regiment of Women, which looks to be an excellent treatment of the feminist movement. Be sure to watch the trailer here.

The second trailer, by the team (led by Richard Ramsey) who won the Audience Choice Award last year for their allegorical critique of post-modernism Washington's Cross, is called The Oath, and appears to be excellent in quality. You can watch the trailer here.

SAICFF: 7:10 P.M. - 10/27

After celtic balladeer Charlie Zahm led the nearly 1,500 attendees in the National Anthem, and Justice Tom Parker of the Alabama Supreme Court opened the event in prayer, Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum, began the evening with a thesis, a maxim, and an encouragement. The thesis for the SAICFF is that we, as Christians, should take every frame captive to obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our maxim, from Scripture, is Nehemiah 4:14, “Be not ye afraid of them: Remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” And we are to be encouraged, because this is the greatest time in history to be an independent Christian filmmaker. As a preliminary observation, the anticipation and excitement in the room is readily apparent.

Justice Tom Parker, prays to our Creator, thanking Him for the gift of creativity and inviting Him to bless this weekend's festival.

San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival: 6:30 P.M. - 10/27

Brett and I are here at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center for the second annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. Having signed in and received our press passes, Brett and I are preparing for the opening ceremonies, which will begin shortly. Unfortunately, we only have internet access in one room in the entire convention center; a room that is completely removed from any of the events that will be transpiring over the next several days. Because of this, we will not be able to give minute-by-minute updates, as we did for the Christian Film Academy. We will be screening films and interviewing filmmakers throughout the week, giving you as comprehensive coverage as possible, but will have to wait until we can return to this "special" room before posting. Thank you for your patience.


CFA: Accolades From Attendees

Dennis Zwonitzer of Spokane, Washington, came to the CFA with four of his eleven children. “The academy was spectacular. We really appreciate everything that went in to this whole event. It was better than ever imagined.”

Eddy Williams, from Ogden, Utah, “I really enjoyed the academy. They have provided an excellent ministry here to equip young warriors for Christ. I would urge that other people…get interested in it, to really back this ministry, and try and get out for 2006.”

Walsh Family, from Orlando, Florida:
  • Patrick (Father): “This was like sailing on the movie Mayflower with the Pilgrims here, and its new journey to claim ground for Christ.”
  • Caleb (16 year-old, Winner of the Best Young Filmmaker Award at SAICFF 2004): “The academy was absolutely terrific, very insightful, lots of instruction, and very helpful. I’m sure it will get better and better.”
Terry Ulrich, from Edgewood, New Mexico, brought two of his five sons to the academy because of their interest in filmmaking: “The academy has really helped to focus [my sons'] vision on making movies for the glory of God. And I think that it has broadened their vision of what they can accomplish.”

Robert Tull, 17-year-old: “They do [the academy] like a ministry, you don’t get the impression that they’re doing it for profit. It’s something that they do to advance the Kingdom of Christ and to serve people who want to advance the Kingdom of Christ. And it’s just so neat to be able to come and learn and work with people whose concern is not money, it’s advancing the kingdom in an area that’s been taken over by the devil and now we can take it back.” When asked to summarize the academy, Robert responded: “Very Christ-honoring.”

David Thompson, from Oxford, Michigan: “It’s a lot to take in. Lot’s of ideas. Lot’s of good instruction. Lot’s of great vision. Lot’s of encouragement, and motivation and passion.”

Catherine Bollen, 17, from Clifton, Virginia: "I enjoyed it a lot, especially since I have grown up thinking I would go into the Hollywood, secular system, and actually had many plans and connections already. So this week has really changed my course, and now I have to do new networking, but I think it's all for the better."

Devin Ballif, 16, Mt. Vernon, Washington: "Vision Forum takes a very uncompromising stand... [Among young people] it is lacking, and a lot more than it should be. As Christians, we need to be following what the Bible says completely, and not just in some areas of our life. We need more stuff like Vision Forum."

Andre Fredette, 18, Cornish, Maine: "The academy has been terrific. I think God is really using the people who put this on... to activat[e] the next generation. I think the networking that's taking place here is what is going to create the ability of Christian films to be of highest quality."

CFA: 5:25 P.M. - 10/25

We have officially graduated from the first annual Christian Filmmakers Academy... A big hand to all attendees.

Interview excerpts from students, and perhaps, more photographs, will be posted later this evening.

CFA: 5:00 P.M. - 10/26

Geoff Botkin just delivered a closing admonition to academy students. The emphasis throughout the week has been, not only technical excellence, but more importantly, on a heart after God and a life committed to Him. Mr. Botkin reminded students that they are ministers of the gospel through the films they make, and charged them to remain devoted to fearing God, and not man. They are currently passing out academy diplomas to the entire class, allowing each student to come up and shake the hands of the academy faculty.

CFA: 4:45 P.M. - 10/26

A great question has just been asked: "Should we or can we expect a radical paradigm shift by Hollywood?" Here are some choice responses from the CFA Faculty:
  • Geoffrey Botkin: "We can supercede Hollywood. We are promised victory in Scripture. We can take God at His word when He says, "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given unto me. As we are faithful to our Biblical responsibilities, culture will be transformed, media will be transformed."
  • Doug Phillips: "Regardless of our eschatological views, we have a Biblical responsibility to be involved in the fight for our culture. But our mission is not to convert hellish Babylonian temples, but to tear them down! Because Hollywood it is governed by elites, and because of its misconceptions and wrong philosophies, it is not redeemable."
  • Isaac Botkin: "We need to hurry. We can’t wait for [Hollywood] to die on its own. I don’t want to see it die of natural causes. I want us to be the ones that kill it."

CFA: 4:30 P.M. - 10/26

I apologize for the long delay between posts. Blogger is experiencing some technical difficulties, which forced us to rewrite this entry from scratch.

This final session has been a segment where all of the faculty, Doug Phillips, Ken Carpenter, Isaac Botkins, Geoff Botkins, Dan Rasmussen, and Anthony Biller, are fielding questions from the audience.

Many of the preliminary questions were targeted at Anthony Biller, regarding copyright laws. One question was whether permission was needed to show the Google or Microsft Word logos on a computer screen in a film. The answer was (assuming this does not play a large part of your movie), no, you do not need to ask permission.

A mother just asked a very excellent question. In paraphrase: "What do you advise for a unmarried young lady who desires to pursue the field of filmmaking?" The answer focused on the need for a unified family that will develop and cultivate the abilities of its members. Far too many Christians mistakenly believe that young ladies can be only one of two things; either she stays at home all day eating bon-bons, or else she's a warrior, conqueror, rabid feminist. This is simply not true. Mr. Phillips recommends several resources on this subject, both carried by Vision Forum. The first is the audio tape CD "What's A Girl To Do?" The second is a book by Mr. Botkin's 17 and 19 year-old daughters, entitled "So Much More."