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4-26-12 SONscreen Film Festival Mission Stays on Course after 10 Years
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A festival to encourage new filmmakers to serve God with their talents
 
   
  (Photo by Gerry Chudleigh: The SONscreen Festival Staff, Rajeev Sigamoney, April Rushing, and Paul Kim, present the Best Documentary Award to Ricky Oliveras for his film "The Golden Glove.")  
Mentoring, growing and curating Adventist creative talent has been the number one goal for the SONscreen Film Festival since its inception ten years ago. This year the annual festival took place at the Adventist Media Center in Simi Valley, Calif., April 12 through 14, 2012, and drew filmmakers from all over the United States, Germany and Australia. Rajeev Sigamoney, festival producer and associate pastor in the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, explains the significance: “Anyone who has ever attended [the festival] understands the amazing value of the gathering of this community and the beauty in having our denomination support these artists who desire to serve God with their talents.”

First time attendee Rick Roethler, West Region director for the Southern California Conference reacted, "It was exciting to see the creative energy of our young film makers. They are doing some exciting work."

Somewhat a phenomenon, SONscreen is a film festival that has the rare distinction of being sponsored by a church denomination, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the North American Division. “I’m proud to say my church has a film festival!” enthused Paul Kim, executive director of the festival.

The three day event seamlessly creates an environment prone to incubate ideas and encourage natural interaction between professionals, student and first-time filmmakers. In addition to daily film screenings, the intense schedule includes workshops, panels, one-on-one film critique sessions and this year, for the first time, the “Pitch Fest.” Kim and Sigamoney upped the ante for student and professional filmmakers in attendance with the introduction of the interactive and entertaining Pitch Fest. Attendees were chosen to pitch their idea publicly to a special jury who selected a film project to receive the SONscreen Film Grant. Two grants were awarded to winners Daniel Wahlen ($1000) and runner up Vienna Cornish ($250). The live studio audience also weighed in by voting via text or Internet as to whether they would watch the finished project. Kim explains the significance, “I've wanted to create a market at SONscreen for years now, and the Pitch Fest was the first step toward making this happen. A market happens not only when there are films that can be acquired for use, but also when ideas are presented in order to begin the process of developing new and innovative projects.”

Two ground-breaking projects sponsored by the world church were screened; My Last Day without You from Germany, and a sneak peek at The Record Keeper from the United States, an updated take on the book, The Great Controversy.  

Award show keynote speaker, Christian writer, actress and comedienne Susan Isaacs gave humorous insight on working in the entertainment field while maintaining Christian values. Sonscreen cofounder Jere Wallack also briefly spoke at the ceremony.  

The complete list of winners follows:

BEST IN FEST
”Comatose”
Derek Taylor – Director

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD
”Danger Planet”
Justin Burks – Director

JONATHAN DULAN HIGH SCHOOL AWARD
”The Burden”
Hannah Stange – Director

BEST DRAMATIC SHORT
”Forsaken”
Ramuel Galarza – Director

BEST ANIMATION
”Danger Planet”
Justin Burks – Director

BEST DOCUMENTARY
”The Golden Glove”
Ricky Oliveras – Director
North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 USA
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