On October 1-4, 2015, The Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival celebrated its 8th Annual film festival at the Buckhead Embassy Suites in Atlanta. For nearly a decade now, The Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival (KCFF) has hosted an array of Christian-based films from nationwide independent filmmakers on the big screen in order to demonstrate and inspire Christian morals and way of life. Audrey Thomas, the founder and CEO of KCFF, has very steadfastly believed that God provides us with a platform to extend the message of redemption through media arts and film-making to a bigger audience beyond our immediate region. Along with spreading the message of hope and faith through relevant filmmaking, their aim is to “give back to the Christian community, in hopes to grow local and state-wide congregations.” KCFF showcases a mix of short-films, full-length features, documentaries and offers interactive workshops regarding industry trends in faith-based film-making and production.
With the growing number of Christian films in this industry, it is absolutely phenomenal to have an outlet by which these indie artists and their actors can have their movies celebrated on a larger scale. Not only do guests of KCFF get an opportunity to learn more about the importance of these new discoveries with Christian film production, but more importantly, this will provide an opportunity to network and build a community of like-minded professionals for greater impact in the world. The lineup for the KCFF week of events includes a Red Carpet Premiere featuring 4 of this year’s movie winner selections, industry discussion forums, a meet and greet celebrity panel, filmmaker and music workshops led by industry professionals and more. Each night was strategically orchestrated to allow guests an opportunity to network and to educate themselves on trending industry-related matters and methods to fund future Christian film productions.
During the festival, we got a chance to interview some of the actors and writers of some of a few of the films shown throughout the weekend. Our first was with Actress Reece Odum from the film The Wish; one of the official selections to be featured at KCFF. Reece tells us that this was not her first time being a part of a film festival, but that it was her first time to be a part of a Christian-film festival. She goes on to explain how the film revolves around her character who is battling kidney disease, the ups and downs related to that experience, the testimony of her unwavering faith and her search for a donor to save her life. This film is sponsored and produced by Donate Life America for the purpose of educating and increasing the number minority donors around the nation to meet these life-threatening needs.
Another actor that we had a chance to interview at the event was Justin Kee from the short film Church Gossip. Church Gossip was another film selected by KCFF to be featured, but was actually one of the 4 chosen films to be a part of the Red Carpet Premiere Competition. Justin played the role of Alonzo Wilkins who was boyfriend to Courtney Riddle played by Actress Sherry Collins. When asked why he felt his role in the film was important, Justin explains that it was necessary to show the transformation that can happen for anyone who gives themselves fully to God. Just as his character started out as a womanizer and one who was trying to find fulfillment in being involved with multiple women to being a new father and having to come to terms with it, we witness a wonderful display of hope, redemption, healing and forgiveness both for the church-goer and for the unchurched.
Along with the two films aforementioned, we also got the opportunity to see and speak with some of the key players of the short film Broken Matters which later was chosen as official winner of the 2015 Kingdomwood People’s Choice Award. Writer, Author and Co-Pastor, Michelle Clinkscales of the Rock Church of Atlanta along with Al Mitchell, Producer and Published Actor, were there Friday evening for the public viewing and panel discussion of their film. When asked if they feel this short-film’s target audience is to believers or to the unchurched, Pastor Michelle states that these “broken matters” in people’s lives are never only subject to one type of people over another, but that there are hurting people everywhere who need to know that they can be healed through Jesus Christ. She goes on to explain that sometimes it takes the unconventional method to bring people to Christ such as a movie and that this could serve as an outlet for those who may never step foot into a church, but who still desire to be headed.
“Broken Matters is based on the stage-play, ‘Heaven Loves Gangstas Too’, which was written to highlight the perils of fatherlessness and its impact, especially in the lives of young males. It follows the life of Montez, a young inner city gang member, whose dangerous lifestyle threatens not only his own well-being, but all those around him. Broken Matters is ultimately about the choices we make, no matter how justified they are, and the consequences of those choices which oftentimes are even life altering.”
For more info on the Kingdomwood Film Festival, please visit www.kingdomwood.com