SAN ANTONIO, TX — February 29, 2012 — More than 2,100 participants representing forty-five states from coast to coast and such foreign countries as Bulgaria, Romania, and Uganda were on hand for the presentation of the Jubilee Awards during closing ceremonies at the 7th Annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF), held at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in downtown San Antonio this last Saturday a mere twenty-four hours before the 84th Annual Academy Awards.
The ‘Best of Festival’ Jubilee Award — with its $101,000 cash prize — went to Courageous, the fourth feature film produced by Sherwood Pictures and the Kendrick Brothers. This cash prize is the largest to be given to an individual filmmaker at an independent film festival in America.
“Courageous is arguably the most successful independent Christian film with a distinctively Evangelical worldview in the history of the cinema,” said Doug Phillips, president and founder of the SAICFF. “With the DVD hitting #1 in sales its first week of release, more than 34 million in box office receipts, and wildly enthusiastic audiences, the Kendrick Brothers have made their mark in history and proven to the world that Christian filmmaking has come of age.”
The Jubilee for ‘Best of Festival’ given to Courageous occurred before an audience of 2,100 just one night before the Hollywood Oscars.
“Our mission is to inspire, encourage, reward and ultimately to build a replacement industry for Hollywood. Too many simply complain about Hollywood’s darkness. Our mission is to light candles of hope by affirming those films that exalt what is true, good, and noble,” noted Phillips.
“This weekend, the Oscars celebrated male perversity by awarding Woody Allen’s escapist libertine romp, Midnight in Paris, and heralding a homosexual ‘coming out’ story in Beginners,” Phillips observed. “In contrast, the Jubilees celebrated male virtue and sacrifice by awarding Courageous with ‘Best of Festival’ and giving the Kendrick Brothers the largest cash prize bestowed by any film festival in America.”
Courageous follows the lives of four police officers who are confident and focused on the job, yet failing as fathers. When tragedy strikes at home, they resolve to draw closer to God and to their children. This 129-minute action-packed drama — which also garnered the ‘Best Feature Film’ Award at the festival — tells the story of everyday dads who long to lead their families as courageous fathers. Stephen Kendrick, who co-produced Courageous with his brother Alex, was on hand to receive both awards.
“I want to take this opportunity, as we made a movie about fatherhood, to honor my father,” Kendrick stated. “He was the chainbreaker in our family . . . and there’s no one who’s had a greater impact on our lives [as] his sons.”
“The motto of [Courageous] was: Dads need to stand up and turn their hearts toward the Lord and say, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,’” continued Kendrick. “And it was our Dad that taught us to do that, and it’s an honor to pass on that legacy to our children.”
The top honor in the ‘Best Documentary’ category went to Indoctrination, directed by award-winning filmmaker Colin Gunn (Best Political, 2004 SAICFF / Best of Festival, 2007 SAICFF). In Indoctrination, Gunn traveled with his family across America in an old yellow school bus on a quest to uncover the origins and social impact of our modern public school system and gauge it against God’s Word. Featuring interviews with whistleblower teachers, administrators, students, and parents, Indoctrination takes a hard look at the true state of public education in America. The film was also named runner-up for ‘Best of Festival’.
Upon receiving the ‘Best Documentary’ award, Gunn noted that Indoctrination was made for “others out of genuine love for the concerns of children in America. We were so blessed to give this message. And at the end of the film [we] make it clear: The problem with public schools is that [they] drive children away from Christ. And that was the real reason for making this film, and we pray that the Lord was glorified in it.”
Two Hats, a foreign mission documentary which highlights the ministry of Brad and Deborah Wells and their seven children in Papua New Guinea, took home the ‘Best Great Commission’ Award. The film was directed by Andrew Garcia.
“This is an incredible honor,” remarked Garcia, “And I want to start by thanking my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without Him, this film would never have come to be. . . . And then, of course, the missionaries who were in the film . . . and the thousands of missionaries all over the world. Even as we sit here tonight, who are faithfully serving — not with eye-service as men-pleasers — but as unto the Lord. This award is dedicated to them.”
The ‘Best Creation’ Award went to Crying Wolf, an exposé of one of the most covered up big-government and environmental frauds of this generation. The 60-minute film, directed by 18-year-old Jeffrey King, exposes the lies and proclaims the truth about what the movement to bring back wolves to Yellowstone and the rest of America is really about.
“[T]his project wasn’t [fundamentally] about wolves or wolf re-introduction,” explained King, “but about reintroducing to the world biblical concepts of stewardship and dominion.”
The Jester, an 11-minute drama, got the nod for ‘Best Short Film’. The film follows a court jester who, after being banished by the king, finds himself homeless and without a sense of purpose. In his defeat, he discovers hope in hopelessness.
The much-anticipated ‘Audience Choice’ Award was given to Seasons of Gray, an 88-minute film that portrays the life of a modern-day Joseph. Upon receiving the honor, producer and director Paul Stehlik remarked, “Thank you for all of you who took the time to be here to watch the film and take the time to vote.”
“[W]hat we wanted to do [with Seasons of Gray] was to create a film that would be edifying to the believer, that would equip the church with an opportunity to engage culture, and that would allow us to engage the hearts of non-believers with the life-transforming truth of God’s Word,” noted Stehlik. “Our hope [is that] this [film] would be a doorway and opportunity to engage people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The ‘Best Promotional Media’ Award went to The Promise of Sheboygan County, a 9-minute film that highlights the many positive opportunities that Sheboygan County has to offer to entrepreneurs and families. The promotional piece was produced and directed by Philip and Chris Leclerc of Leclerc Brothers Motion Pictures, who also recently completed production of Dominion, Risk, and Manhood, a series of three dramatic shorts shot in Iceland that promote the Hazardous Journeys Society which was officially launched at the SAICFF last Friday night. This is the second win in a row of this Jubilee Award by the Leclerc Brothers, who won ‘Best Promotional Media’ for The Cripple Effect at the previous festival.
Commenting on their latest award, Philip Leclerc stated: “Sheboygan County is a marvelous example of God’s beautiful creation! This award wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the entire team at Jake’s Cafe who worked hard on this film, as well as the fine businesses that were highlighted throughout.”
Liberty Day took home the top honor in the ‘Best Commercial Advertisement’ category. The 60-second promo for the annual Liberty Day event held in northern Illinois was received by producer and director Matt Blick. In receiving this honor, 24-year-old Blick hearkened back to encouragement he received several years ago by festival judge Geoff Botkin when Blick was beginning his efforts as a filmmaker, “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.”
Jerica and Joe Henline, who are eighteen and sixteen years of age respectively, received the ‘Young Filmmaker’s’ Award for Lady Jane Gray. The 15-minute film takes viewers through the final hours of this valiant young woman’s life as she is martyred for her faith, uncovering the truth of her magnificent testimony which has been undermined by many liberal historians. Lady Jane Gray was also named runner-up for ‘Best Short Film’.
Other winners included Captivated: Finding Freedom in a Media Captive Culture, which garnered the runner-up award in the ‘Best Documentary’ category; and Seven Days in Utopia, which took second place for ‘Best Feature’. Runner-up for ‘Best Great Commission’ went to The Karen: Forgotten But Not Forsaken; and Check This Out was tapped for second place in the ‘Best Creation’ category. Gold Rush took the runner-up award for ‘Promotional Media’, as did Berger Bullets for ‘Best Commercial Advertisement’. Shad Eash was given a second-place nod for ‘Best Young Filmmaker’ for his 8-minute film, I Don’t Believe in Guns; and Philip Hagen won the ‘Best SAICFF Trailer’ Award for his 30-second submission, ‘Light Up the Darkness’.
Vision Forum Ministries
Phone: (210) 340-5250, ext. 222