168 Entries at their Peak in 2009

The sky is falling and your house is on fire! Huh?

I guess someone forgot to inform the filmmakers of this factoid.

In fact, we have surpassed our all-time peak (in 2008 we had 82 entries) with a record number of 83 entries to the 168 Film Project. Praise Jesus.

Sponsor prizes are coming in fast at this point, now up to $6500 for the winners of the 168 Film Festival Awards. The focus is on finding tools for filmmakers to use in a win-win situation for all parties concerned. Sponsors to date include: Sony, Arri, Kino Flo, Out of Frame, Regent University, Church Production Magazine, EIKI, Resurrection Pictures, Video Symphony. We have been able to secure very inexpensive insurance for teams as well as deals on locations and gear.

The LA teams got their foundational scripture verses on Tuesday night and there were shouts of joy and looks of bewilderment as teams lauded the fact that they had a plan to illustrate the verse or bemoaned the fact that they had to start all over.

This year, teams seem to have a certain spiritual maturity about them that was not as strong overall in previous years. There has been a genuinely sweet spirit at all the events over the last 6 weeks. We have treated filmmakers to insights from Mark Clayman, producer of "The Pursuit of Happyness", Brian Bird, writer of "Not Easily Broken", Luke Schelhaas, writer/producer "Smallville" and "Law and Order", Ralph Winter, producer "XMEN Wolverine" and many others.

The next event is one of my faves, the Casting Audition on Sat. 2-14-09. 300+ actors come and line up for a chance to wow the producers with a 25-second monologue geared toward getting a same-day callback. Up to 20 teams are expected at the audition, meaning potentially 80 roles up for grabs. Not a bad ratio.

Prayers for the actors and the filmmaking teams are in order as they grind out a 11-minute miracle in 168 Hours.

Honestly, if you go and see the latest Oscar contenders, you'd be tempted to give up and say, "ok I'd better grab all I can because this is all there is. No afterlife, nothing. When they shut the lid on my casket, it's lights out and game over." Our 168 Hour MEDIA MISSIONARIES are definitely out to shake things up in an age that desperately needs films with a message of hope.