Well, the verses are all picked and the horses are on the track and running. "Hearing God" is the theme this year and the teams are all very excited at the prospect.
As usual, verse night was electro-charged. There's so much anticipation in the room as the producers waited in line for their destiny.
As usual, before the verse assignment, we give the teams our best advice and try not to make them suffer too long before giving out the verses.
To be sure 168 can be a sleepless, and sometimes hand-wringing time. But, the benefits and personal growth potential is exponential. When do you really grow? When you are faced with insurmountable odds.
People say "wow, you put the filmmakers under a lot of pressure." Not true. We tell them that if they do it right, then all of the pressure goes on The Almighty shoulders and they are along for the ride. Easy to say and hard to do, but miracles happen each year and everyone gets what they need.
Some are forced to drop out and that is hard. But, in general it is a time of testing your limits in your chosen field. The actors, producers, directors, editors, set designers, composers, sound, makeup and everyone else get a chance to MAKE A FILM that will screen at the 168 Film Festival.
It's really such a rush. I know, I did it the first year (2003). I wrote one of the 13 films "New Best Friend" and won second place in the contest. After the breakaway success of year one of the 168 Film Project, I decided that it would look pretty bad if I managed to win the contest I started, so since then, I have stayed behind-the-scenes. The second year there were 53 entries.
Team #3: Christopher Shawn Shaw’s LA cast includes deaf lead actress Lexi Marman, the first deaf/hard of hearing entertainment host hired to perform on the Disneyland stage. They’re shooting on RED with steadicam in LA, Thousand Oaks, and Ojai).
Team #16: Lynda Stein is back for her 2nd year. She and assistant producer Bruce A. Haase will be Haase: Just wrapped a film with Kate Hudson, and Jessica Alba, and Bill Pullman as assistant producer. Shooting in Orlando, FL.
Team 17: Susan Shearer and Amber Deegan are returning co-producers. Their writer is Elaine Zicree of “The Table” and director Eric Tozzi is also back again with the team. Their verse: John 15:1-2 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (L.A.)
Team #18: Theo Love - (Anaheim, CA) is back again, new year, new genre…shhh!
Team #21: Owen Kingston - Croydon, Great Britain.
Team #25: Greg Yost/Jimmy Hendricks & Pioneers East Africa - Nairobi Central, Kenya
Team #29: Grace Craig & veteran 168 producer Rebekah Score have elected to make one of our “Write of Passage Spotlight Films,” sponsored by Resurrection Pictures. These films mark a new direction for 168 in that they are from scripts that are already written. The film is entitled “Regular Charlie Church,” and it was the winner of the Write of Passage competition.
Team #31: Newlywed producers Greg and Sarah Williams (Jerusalem, Israel) entry into the "168 Unlimited Documentary" contest is called "Desert Ark." As an unlimited doc, the producer's have picked their own scripture (instead of getting one randomly assigned), Hebrews 11:7 "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." The documentary tells the true story of a man named Avishi, who helps save victims of the Sudanese refugee crisis as they flee from Egypt and the Sudan.
Team #40: Deborah Brown – Italy. Deborah’s team won best picture in 2006.
Team #46: Onggo Susilo – Indonesia
Team #49: Eddy Nganji – Cameroon
Team #57: Repeat producer Caleb Brown is done with touchy-feely films, at least for now. He plans to make an action film and even blow up a car. He’s reunited with the Holecek brothers once again (“305”, a spoof on “300”: The Office meets "300" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wpa2Qplm8M) and with Joshua M. Bott.
Team #59: Alan Tregoning - Plano, TX. Alan wrote the 168 Write of Passage screenwriting competition winner (“Regular Charlie Church”), but elected to compete in the 168 signature, 1-week filmmaking competition. He may be one of our most prominent writers this time around.
Team #63: Kyrgyzstan is back in play. Always exciting to have such a vastly different cultural entry.
Team #71: Veteran Actor Gwen McGee, (“ER,” “My Name is Earl,” “Monk.”) saw the TBN interview and “had to sign up.” Her lead actor is David Ramsey, who is credited with "Dexter," (17 episodes, 2008-2009), "Hollywood Residential,” (8 episodes, 2008), "The West Wing,” and many others.
Team #72: Producers: Mike Wech and Tim Lowry are back together again. Mike directed in 2008 from a neck brace. They have cast Victoria Jackson, SNL Star from the 1980s (This is her second turn in the 168 Film Project, having been nominated as best actress last year.
Mike had a vision in 2008 of a car crash, so he was preparing to shoot a car crash. Two weeks before the competition, Mike was nearly killed in a car crash. He recovered and persevered as the film’s director in a neck brace. The whole team experienced many revelations, including both Tim and Mike awakening at the same time, but in different households with the same vision for the film. As a result of their process, one of the actors came back to faith and checked into a drug rehab.