What a (168) Film Fest

Dear 168,

Here are some tidbits from the film fest.

Pics: One very-surprised-to-get-an-award Derrick Warfel, Kristin McCoy signs for the Deaf, On the Red Carpet, One tired crew at the After Party (tiny pic)

The last of us were still at the Outback Steakhouse After Party until 3:00 AM and then I was changing a flat tire for a friend for another 45 min. still in the tux.

Kudos to Paul Luebbers, Karen Wescott, Lisa Miosi, Jeanette Shelton, Ron Pearson, Melissa Disney, the presenters and all the volunteers for making the show such a great success.

Friday: Awesome day at the Hope Theater. All the films were spectacularly displayed by the Roland Presenter and the EIKI, 12,000 lumen projector. We had no tech problems until...

During the Kyrgyzstanian film (Team 63, "Mystery"), the power blew. It was interesting, because the outage was not just the circuit breaker and not just the entire building. It was the whole block and maybe the whole city of San Fernando.

The scene on the screen was a father yelling at his son for reading the Bible, saying "If you keep reading that book, you're not my son!" And then BOOM out went the lights, projector and everything else in San Fernando.

I did a few minutes of my stand up comedy routine as we waited and confirmed that the neighbors were down too. In 15 minutes, we were back up and the night continued without a hitch. Very curious... (Yes, Kyrg team, we did re start your film!)

Saturday was awesome! The winners are below. Newsflash: I have been nominated for Best Actor (Behind the Scenes). Here's the story.

The "169 Award" is a special award for those who go above and beyond the call of duty for 168 (much like an amplifyer that goes one louder to 11).

This year, the recipient is Derrick Warfel. He has been such a blessing. He authored the 200+ page "film school in a book" Producer's Manual and he teaches the producer's workshop and leads the StoryLab, where we examine similar scenes from 168 films and from Hollywood Films and see what it takes to get to the next level.

Derrick also taught the prisoners' workshop for our 6 week "Write of Passage Screenplay Competition-Prison Edition." He has degrees from Dallas Theological, Princeton and USC Film School, so you know he's a smart guy.

But, on Saturday we had a logistics problem. How to get Derrick from helping us backstage into the audience so he would be surprised when he got his award.

So, I came up with the "high concept." I told exec. director, Paul Luebbers to go stand by Derrick and have two "seat fillers" standing by conveniently.

Then I prepared mentally and ran up to Paul and Derrick, slightly shouting so Derrick could hear and feel my angst.

"The camera shot looks TERRIBLE," I said, "We need SEAT FILLERS NOW. Derrick can you go out there and sit, please. Get someone else GO! Hurry! (for emphasis).

It worked and he was stunned when he got up there to receive the award. Punk'd, but appreciative, Derrick is one of a kind!

Congrats to all the filmmakers!!!!



168 Film Festival Winners for 2010

Best Scriptural Integration: (how well the foundational Bible verse is integrated into the story)

THROUGH MY SISTER’S EYES: Keith Wilcox, Aaron John Tao, Team 42, Newport Beach, CA


Best Film: THE PARTY: Helen Urriola, Team 64, Decatur, GA


Best Comedy: TRY HARD: Nick Ganas, David Gaw, Trip Gould, David Martinez, Team 83, Monrovia, CA


Best Director: THE PARTY: Jim McKinney, Team 64, Decatur, GA


Best Actress: THE PARTY: Maggie Jones, Team 64, Decatur, GA


Best Actor: THE PARTY: Jeff Rose, Team 64, Decatur, GA


Best Supporting Actor: MOYA: Joshua M. Bott, Team 57, Monica, CA


Best Supporting Actress: THE PARTY: Carrie Walrond, Team 64, Decatur, GA


Best Screenplay – Drama: THE PARTY: Scott Ippolito, Team 64, Decatur, GA


Best Screenplay – Comedy: TRY HARD: David Gaw, Nick Ganas, Team 83, Monrovia, CA


Best Cinematography: JUST COPS: Drew Maw, Team 18, Anaheim, CA


Best Editor: JUST COPS: Theo Love, Team 18, Anaheim, CA


Best Sound Design: JUST COPS: Theo Love, Team 18, Anaheim, CA


Best Original Score: GOT A LIGHT: Joey Williams, Team 9, Plano, TX


Best Production Design: JUST COPS: Theo Love, Team 18, Anaheim, CA


Best Makeup: JUST COPS: Carol Ochoa, Beatrice Najera, Team 18, Anaheim, CA


Newcomer Award: OUT OF THE FIRE: Jeanette Reedy Solano, Lorenzo D. Durand Team 35, Glendale, CA


Evangelista Award: (Best gospel of Jesus Presentation):

RELENTLESS HEART: Alberto Portillo, Team 58, Whittier, CA


Best Behind The Scenes Documentary: CONNECTIVITY, Pete Brown, Team 62, Los Angeles, CA


Best International Film: PESAN TERKIRIM (Message Sent): Onggo Susilo, Team 46, Indonesia


Best Unlimited Documentary: (where the producer picks their verse, vs. a randomly assigned verse)

DESERT ARK: Sarah Williams, Greg Williams, Team 31, Jerusalem, Israel

Audience Awards: TRY HARD: Nick Ganas, David Gaw, Trip Gould, David Martinez, Monrovia, CA;

BACK David Rhee, Team 6, Burbank CA



Dear 168,

The 168 Film Fest is almost here and things couldn't be better. It's definitely our best year yet! God is so very good.

The latest breaking story is that Grammy Award-winning Christian Pop Rock sensation Rebecca St. James will be a presenter at our awards show on Saturday, March 27th.

Here is the nominations press release.




CONTACT: John David Ware


On Heels of “Hurt Locker’s” Kathryn Bigelow Becoming 1st Femme to Win Oscar for Directing, 4 Out of Speed Filmmaking Fest's 7 Best Film Nominees Boast Women producers

Will Comedy Producers Get The Last Laugh at 2010 Awards Show?

SNL's Victoria Jackson and Her Daughter Act as Finalists

First-time Producer/Director Jeanette Reedy Solano Up for Best Picture for “Out of the Fire" (Team 35-Glendale, CA) Hi-res Link

Co-Producer Amber Deegan Doubles as Actress On "Bountiful" (Team 17-Hollywood, CA) Hi-res Link Download

Victoria Jackson (on right, SNL Star in the 1980s) and daughter
Aubrey Wesselin "The Journey" (Team-72-Burbank, CA)

LOS ANGELES (Mar. 19, 2010) -- Nominations (click here or here for pdf) are in for the 2010 “Hearing God” edition of the 168 Film Festival (Mar. 26-27) (http://168project.com/) -- the culmination of the contest whereby filmmakers have seven days, or 168 hours, to shoot and edit an 11-min.-or-less short film based on a randomly assigned Bible verse, it was announced by 168 Executive Director Paul E. Luebbers.

“We congratulate all our nominees and welcome the world to two full days of inspiring short films that explore ‘Hearing God,’ as a part of life's experience” said 168 executive director, Paul E. Luebbers. “We have films from Kyrgyzstan to China, from South Central LA to West Texas, truly something for everyone.”

The nominated films are as diverse as the countries they come from. Two documentaries’ exotic locations include China for Clint Loveness’ (Team 23) “Let’s Start Talking,” and Israel for Sarah Williams’ (Team 31) “Desert Ark,” the story of a man building a reputation on housing Sudanese refugees.

In what appears to be a festival first, four out of seven of this year’s Best Film nominees claim female producers (in the wake of “The Hurt Locker” director-producer Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first female ever to win the Oscar for Best Director), compared with 1 out of 6 in 2009. Like Bigelow, Solano is the sole female nominee for Best Director.

The quartet of eligible female-leadership nominations for Best Film includes Solano’s (Team 35) “Out of the Fire,” “Skip Listening” (Team 3) from producers Colleen Bennett, Christopher Shawn Shaw and Josh B. Jacobs; actioner “Just Cops,” (Team 18) produced by Jessie Love and her husband-director Theo Love; and Helen Urriola’s “The Party.”
Two of the 5 Best Comedy nominees were produced in part by females, "Sumo Joe" co-producers Jenn Gotzon, Jessie Ottolini and "Skip Listening" co-producer Colleen Bennett.
“Part of the beauty of this year is seeing the advancement of some of the women, who have grown over the years and to see them step into key roles behind the camera,” founder/president John David Ware said.

The So. Calif. nominees are the most plentiful, including those from Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, Anaheim and Newport Beach. The most nominated film is LA veteran David Kiang's "Forsaken," (Team 81-Culver City, CA) with 13 nods including Best Pic and Director as well as multiple acting, screenplay, sound and cinematography awards. Click here for interview regarding Kiang’s brand of "media ministry" and the hurdles of 2010.

Northern Calif. “relative” newcomer, Santa Rosa's Christopher Shawn Shaw (Team 3-“Skip Listening”) has gone from never-nominated, veteran producer to second-highest honored with 12 nominations, including Best Film and Best Comedy. Winning both would be a first for a 168 comedy. The "Skip" cast is nominated for all acting awards, and includes Deaf actress Lexi Marman and Christian stand-up comics Thor Ramsey and Robert G. Lee who are up for Best Actor and supporting roles, respectively.

Monrovia, CA producer David Gaw's comedic conceit expose "Try Hard" (Team 83) is similarly poised to take the double crown of Best Film and Best Comedy, and he is in a three-way 10-nomination tie with veteran, (& most nominated individual with seven) Mark Blitch's (Team 9) “Got a Light” from Texas, and a first-time, Glendale, CA producer/director Jeanette Reedy Solano's (Team 35) “Out of the Fire.” Blitch and Brundige’s “Got a Light” is the third comedy vying for Best Picture.

Solano and other first-timers (ever as department head) will compete for the "Newcomer Award," designed to reward (with $1000 cash) new filmmakers, including pastor-turned-filmmaker Alberto Portillo's (Team 58-Whittier, CA) “Relentless Heart,” Josh Flynn's (Team 28-Pasadena, CA) “The Ceed” and Onggo Susilo's (Team 46) “Pesan Terkirim” (Message Sent) from Indonesia.

Six-time award-winning Anaheim, CA 168 producers Jessica and Theo Love's (Team 18) have eight nods for their desert cop drama "Just Cops." And Decatur, GA producers Helen Urriola and Jim McKinney (Team 64) also has 8 noms for his coming-of-age-too-quickly drama, (Team 64) "The Party."

Up for Best Picture are: “Forsaken” (Team 81) David Kiang; “Got a Light” (Team 9) Mark Blitch, Matt Brundige; “Just Cops” (Team 18) Theo Love, Jessie Love; “Out of the Fire” (Team 35) Jeanette Reedy Solano; “Skip Listening” (Team 3) Christopher Shawn Shaw; Josh B. Jacobs, Colleen Bennett; “The Party” (Team 64) Helen Urriola, James McKinney; and “Try Hard” (Team 83) David Gaw.

Six noms each go to Caleb Brown/Joshua M. Bott (Team 57-Santa Monica, CA) and the cast and crew of “Moya” (“mine” in Russian), with co-producer Bott nominated for Best Supporting Actor, playing a gun-wielding Russian thug, and to the Amber Deegan/Susan Shearer-helmed, filmed-on-the-CBS-Lot drama "Bountiful" (Team 17-Hollywood, CA). "Bountiful" writers Shearer, Deegan, director Eric Tozzi and Joseph Osborn are also up for Best Screenplay – Drama.

Nominee for Best Production Design (Yeva McCloskey) reps the other shooting-on-the-lot-at-CBS production, "In the Company of Sinners," Mike Cahill's graffiti-laced gangland drama (Team 43-Burbank, CA).

Geoffrey Black and Jenn Gotzon's "Sumo Joe" (Team 12-Burbank, CA) is also up for Best Comedy, vying with aforementioned teams and Texas Trio: Alan Tregoning, Brandon Carmichael, Jason Walter Vaile (Team 59- Plano, TX) for "Adoptation," the story of not-so-choosy adoptive parents. At the awards, Tregoning will receive his awards for winning the 168 Write of Passage Screenplay Competition with his script, "Regular Charlie Church."

Three nominations each go to producer/director Elena Beuca's LA production, "Connectivity" (Team 62, whose crew included A-List Steadicam operator Ron Vidor who crewed on “Jaws,” “Lethal Weapon”) and to Tim Lowry and Mike Wech's "The Journey" (Team 72-Burbank, CA), co-starring mother and daughter Victoria Jackson and Aubrey (Jackson) Wessel (aged 15), who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress in her acting debut.

Click Here for interview on the Jackson's experience as well as the intense spiritual preparation practiced by Lowry and Wech (Team 72). Of her experience, Victoria Jackson said, "I'm still coming down from the spiritual high. There was no angst or nail biting to the experience - just joy. I sort of floated into the project, not even sure if I was in it or not.”

Other notable female nominees are Suzan Brown, with Jerrold Launer for Best Original Score for “Connectivity”; Dawn Smith up with Mark Blitch for Best Cinematography “Got a Light”; and Jamie McCallister, with two Best Makeup nominations on separate films (“Forsaken” and “Moya”).

Both Brandon Riley, Dave Grumme of "Rising Waters" (Team 44, Sugarland, TX) and writer Keith Wilcox (Team 42-Newport Beach, CA) of "Through My Sister's Eyes” were nominated for the Scriptural Integration Award, which measures how artfully the writers have woven the foundational verse into the story.

For the LA TIMES Article 3-1-10: click here

Click here for details on all finalist films including interviews from selected filmmakers, including:

1. Co-Stars: Victoria Jackson (SNL, 1980s) and daughter Aubrey Wessel (Team 72, Burbank, CA), 2. Getting the Most From 168: Repeat Producers and why do they keep entering (Team 72, Burbank, CA & 81, Culver City, CA), 3. Deaf Actors Hearing God (Team 3-Santa Rosa, CA) 4. Newlywed Producers in Jerusalem (Team 31, a documentary), 5. Awards Categories,


The 8th annual 168 Film Festival is at the Hope Theatre in San Fernando, Calif (Mar. 26) and at Glendale’s Alex Theatre (Mar. 27). Tickets to the screenings and/or awards show ($15-27, All Fest $40, $50 VIP) can be purchased online at http://168project.com or http://alextheatre.org or by calling the 168 at 818-557-8507 or the Alex at 818-243-ALEX.

For 168 Film Festival Awards show promo from 2009 click here

Screenings are: Fri. Mar. 26 and Sat. Mar. 27, 10:00AM–9:00PM. The awards ceremony (appx. 1 hr. long) immediately follows Sat. screenings. Parental discretion suggested for children under 12 due to mature themes. For the March 26-27th screening schedule: (click here). For pdf version: click here.

The field of 23 finalist films out of 65 submissions (all of which will be screened on Friday or Saturday) boasts 15 dramas, five comedies, one thriller and two documentaries. All finalist films were rated by a ten-member jury that includes "X-Men" producer Ralph Winter and other behind-the-scenes luminaries. In 8 years, over 450 films have been made specifically for the 168 competition.

The prize package is $18,000 in cash and prizes. Sponsors include: AJA Video, Regent University, Sony, Roush Media, Kino Flo, Inc., TubeMogul, ARRI Lighting, Video Symphony, Final Draft, and Boris Effects. EIKI projectors will provide the pictures and Edirol/Roland will provide festival playback. 
A total of 70 films, will unspool at the festival and contend for audience awards given out both nights, Fri. at the Hope Theatre, 214 Maclay Ave. San Fernando, CA 91340, and Sat. at the Alex Theatre, 216 N Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91203. Both theaters boast a 40-foot screen. Mature Themes – Parental Guidance suggested for kids under 12.

Presenters for this year’s splashy, two-day, split venue 168 Film Festival, starting Mar. 26 in San Fernando, Calif. and finishing Mar. 27 at Glendale’s Alex Theatre, where jury awards are bestowed after the evening screening, include Howard Kazanjian, producer “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Ken Wales, producer “Amazing Grace,” Michael Lehmann Boddicker, Grammy winning composer, John Shepherd, producer “The Stoning of Soraya M,” Jerry Jameson, director "JAG," "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," John Tinker, writer/producer "Judging Amy," "The Practice," Gary Hall, Sr. VP 20th Cent. Fox TV Post Production, Leilani Downer, writer "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Tracy Melchior, actress "The Bold and the Beautiful,” "CSI," Sarah Drew, actress "Grey's Anatomy," "Glee" and "Mad Men,” and Tenley Molzahn, actress “The Bachelor,” and Rebecca St. James, Grammy Award-winning Christian pop rock singer.

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