Los Angeles, CA - Writer-producers Joshua and Rebekah Weigel were awarded $100,000 first prize for their film, "THE BUTTERFLY CIRCUS," by The Doorpost Film Project Saturday, September 19th at Nashville's Belcourt Theatre.
Brothers Michael and Nick Regalbuto, finalists from last year, won second place and $35,000 for their film "La Premiere." Brent McCorkle, Steven Spielberg's darling on the FOX reality show "On the Lot" won $25,000 for his film "The Rift," and the "Filmmaker's Choice Award" and $15,000 went to Greg Kwedar for "Guest Room."
Photo: Filmmakers Joshua and Rebekah Weigel receive $100,000
at Nashville's Belcourt Theatre
Heartfelt, "The Butterfly Circus," is set during the height of the Great Depression. The showman of a renowned circus leads his troupe through the devastated American landscape, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. During their travels they discover a man without limbs at a carnival sideshow, but after an intriguing encounter with the showman, he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.
"The Butterfly Circus" stars Eduardo Verastegui ("Bella"), Nick Vujicic (Life Without Limbs ministry) and Doug Jones (The Silver Surfer, "Pan's Labyrinth").
In the Doorpost Film Project, only ten finalists made the cut from hundreds of filmmakers. These ten received $30,000 each to make a new, 20 minute film based on the theme "hope." http://www.thedoorpost.com/
"Butterfly" producers Joshua and Rebekah Weigel are veterans of the 168 Film Project, a faith-based, global competition in which teams create a short film in 168 hours (1 week). Their film "Stained" won Best Picture in 2008's 168 Film Festival as the first ever film festival award given to a production shot on RED Digital Cinema. "Stained" was produced by Joshua Weigel, Aaron Moore and Jeff Bartsch.
According to founder John David Ware, "Many budding filmmakers like the Weigels begin their film careers with 168. We give them tracks to run on and once in awhile, we're amazed by artists like Josh and Rebekah."
During the first phase of the Doorpost process, "Stained" was the ticket into the contest and became crucial in other ways to the success of "The Butterfly Circus."
According to director Joshua Weigel, "Nearly every day we were facing some impossible feat that only seemed to be accomplished through prayer. The most nerve-racking was getting Nick Vujicic to commit to star in the film. We had pursued him for several months. Our stomachs dropped when he finally said 'no' less than two weeks before production.
But, we kept praying earnestly. Several hours later, we heard that he finally had the opportunity to watch 'Stained' and loved it. Nick called shortly after, still not convinced, but intrigued. Two days later he was on board."
"I am so proud of this group! And who says short films aren't profitable?" said Ware. "The time invested to create films for 168 has paid off handsomely."
Weigel agreed. "What I learned most on my (2) 168 Film Projects is to strive for the highest quality film you can imagine. Going all the way will absolutely attract talented people who will then help you reach that goal. People respond when they see that you're pursuing the best equipment, talent and locations. And that you are willing to spend money, or raise it, if necessary. Filmmaking is done best as a team. It is a great sacrifice for everyone so I've learned how important it is to make it worth the commitment," said Joshua Weigel.
The team included the whole family Joshua, Rebekah, Sydney, Judah and Sylas Weigel directing, writing, crewing and acting, sometimes out of necessity.
According to Joshua Weigel, "Last minute casting and lost locations got us way behind schedule. I lost three composers during post production, leaving me without music only five days before the deadline. Timothy Williams ("300," "The Day The Earth Stood Still") fit us into his busy schedule. He absolutely captivated me with a stunning score and did it in 4 days!
The next steps for "The Butterfly Circus" may involve a cocoon.
"We're working with the Doorpost on distributing "The Butterfly Circus" and are hoping to expand the short into a feature film. There has been a tremendous response to the film (100,000 views in less than three weeks) and we have already been approached by several interested parties," said Joshua Weigel.
"The Butterfly Circus" included "168" alumni Chris Witt-editor, Brandon Lippard-camera operator/additional photography, Jared Isham-second assistant camera, Brandon Griffith-sound designer, Martin Kitappa-production sound mixer, Timothy Williams-composer, Nasira Elias wardrobe assistant, Aaron Moore, Dane Bettis and Brad Bettis. In addition, 168 alumni cast for "Circus" included Mark Atteberry, Doug Jones, Bob Yerkes, Jared Day, Kirk Bovil, and Melissa Disney.
About 168 Film Project:
The 168 Film Project is in it's 8th year, having made over 400 films. Team entry is open now until January 25th for International Teams, and February 1st for USA Teams. Filmmakers are responsible for their own team, production budget and equipment.
After 168's signature verse assignment and ensuing ten days for teams to write, cast and schedule the production, cameras can roll Feb. 5th (international). USA teams (outside SoCal) start shooting Thurs, Feb. 11th, and SoCal teams start Fri, Feb. 12.
Exactly 168 hours later, films must be turned in to 168 or to a mail carrier. Unlimited Documentaries may begin production Sept. 15, 2009. "168" prizes include a guaranteed screening, thousands in prizes and meetings with Hollywood players.
On March 26-27, 2010, the 168 Film Festival will showcase all films and filmmakers, casts and crews. For more information, visit www.168project.com.
168 has also started the 1st Annual Write of Passage Screenwriting Competition, which offers mentoring and critique as part of the process for all writers.
Top scripts compete for $1,000 cash and Hollywood introductions (producer Ralph Winter, "X-MEN Origins: Wolverine") and expert critique from writer/producers Luke Schelhaas ("Law and Order," "Smallville") and Brian Bird ("Not Easily Broken").
All entries will be written in 168 Hours, based on a foundational scripture with the theme: "Hearing God." Writing week is Oct. 19-26 Entry Deadline: Oct. 18th. Scripts are 12 pages or less. Entry Fee: $35. Winners will be announced in November 2009.
The 168 Film Project is a competition, in which films are based on a Bible verse and created in one week (168 hours). The 8th Annual 168 competition occurs in Feb-March 2010. All films premiere during the 168 Film Festival March 26-27, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA.
168 Film Project 2009-2010 schedule: http://168project.com/downloads%5CPR/168Schedj09%2D10%2E1%2E1%2Epdf
View the 2009 extended clip reel at:
Click here to view 168 Film Project, KNBC-TV Coverage 2009: