2009 Jubilee Award Winners
The 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival was an event of firsts. Each of these firsts pointed to the growing maturity of the independent Christian film movement and its mission to build a Christ-honoring replacement industry outside of Hollywood. For the first time in history, a Christian film festival offered the largest single cash prize in America to a single filmmaker. Also, with more than 2400 people in attendance at the SAICFF, interest in Christian filmmaking appeared to reach a historic high. We are delighted to now recognize our winners — all worthy films that give glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Best of Festival
The “Best of Festival” Jubilee Award &mdash a $101,000 grand prize &mdash went to The Widow’s Might, a feature length comedy adventure that tells the fictional story of how aspiring filmmakers came to the aid of an elderly widow who faced losing her home due to rising property taxes. The 101-minute film was written and directed by 19-year-old John Moore of Kaufman, Texas, with David Heustis and Jeff Moreland serving as producers.
“We never saw this coming!” said John Moore. “The greatest lesson we have learned at this event over the years is to press on; keep moving forward. Always pursue excellence. The production was very tough; but it brought our families together, and we’re even closer now than ever. I dedicate this award to my father, the most inspiring man I have ever known.”
In addition to landing the festivals’ top honor in 2009, The Widow’s Might was runner-up for “Best Feature” and came away with the “Audience Choice Award,” receiving more than twice the votes of the closest contender. This marked the third time in four years that a film by HeuMoore Productions was voted as the audience favorite at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
The top honor in the “Best Feature” category was awarded to Fireproof, a film starring Kirk Cameron that explores a firefighter’s struggle to save his failing marriage. Fireproof — which was written, produced, and directed by Alex and Stephen Kendrick of Sherwood Pictures — was the highest-grossing independent film of 2008 with over $33 million in theatre sales, beating out such films as Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (starring Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz), and Milk, starring Sean Penn. The film also received the runner-up nod for “Best of Festival.”
Stephen Kendrick, who was on hand in the Alamo City to receive the award, noted, “Sherwood Pictures is thrilled that Fireproof has won ‘Best Feature’ at a film festival that not only seeks to honor the pursuit of high production values, but also morally responsible filmmaking.”
The Terri Schiavo Story, a two-part television series that follows the Schindler family’s long and highly emotional struggle to save their daughter’s life, garnered the “Best Documentary” Award. The film, hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada, was directed and produced by Ken Carpenter of Franklin Films.
“This festival is a uniquely inspiring event, and I’m a big proponent of the type of film work they are encouraging,” stated Carpenter. “To have been honored with a Jubilee Award was a great conclusion to a fantastic festival experience.”
Best Dramatic Short
The top honor in the “Best Dramatic Short” category was awarded to Prodigal Trilogy, a cinematic adaptation of acclaimed solo performer Jason Hildebrand’s monologues based on the Luke 15 parable of Jesus in the Bible.
Best Biblical Family
The “Best Biblical Family” Award went to Binding Faith, an eighteen-minute documentary that chronicles the persecution that Christian missionary and minister, Dr. Ajai Lall, encountered when he sought to share his faith in northern India. Dondra Vaughn, who produced the film, received the award on behalf of the project.
Best Original Score
The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry took the top honor for “Best Original Score.” Veteran film producer, Rich Christiano, who directed and produced the full-length feature, praised the film’s composer upon receiving the award: “One of the most important characters in any film is the music. Jasper Randall has done excellent work with his original score of The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry.... [W]e are thankful to have him on our team.”
Young Filmmaker’s Award
Thirteen-year-old Peyton Thomas received the “Young Filmmaker’s Award” for Journey of Hope, a nine-minute film which he directed and produced. The film tells the true story of Charles Loring Brace, a young minister who created the Children’s Aid Society to provide safety and love to the children on the streets on New York City.
Noah’s Ark: Thinking Outside the Box — a film featuring Ark specialist Tim Lovett — took the top honor in the “Best Creation” category. The film, produced by Answers in Genesis, applies new research to the contours of the Ark while maintaining an unwavering commitment to the Word of God. Dale Mason, publisher of Answers magazine and Vice President of Communications Division for AiG, commented:
“On behalf of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, we are so very thankful for the vote of confidence that this Jubilee Award represents. Even more than that, we are humbled to be part of what God is doing to propagate the truth of Creation, especially to homeschool families.”
The “Best Treatment” Award — an honor given for the best three-page written condensation of a proposed film, documentary, or TV dramatic production — went to Kevin Powers for his proposed film, Sandtown. The winner received a $1,000 cash prize, a professional script analysis of the finished script based on the winning treatment, and a free copy of Final Draft screenwriting software.
Second and third place awards in the “Best Treatment” category went to Chuck Fultz for In Plain Site and Kevin Powers for Elk Valley.
Other winners included: The Widow and the Judge, which garnered the runner-up award in the “Best Dramatic Short” category; and The Full House of Blessing, which took second place in the “Best Documentary” category.
The “Best Trailer” Award, an honor for the trailer that best promoted the festival, went to Jeremiah Warren for Changing Lives.