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Sonscreen Film Festival 2023 to be Held at the Loma Linda University Church Complex

Sonscreen 2022 audience at the Loma Linda University Church complex

Sonscreen 2022 audience at the Loma Linda University Church complex; photo by Pieter Damsteegt

From April 13-15, 2023, in sunny California, student filmmakers will gather for the 21st annual Sonscreen Film Festival.

For the second year in a row, Sonscreen will be hosted in the Loma Linda University Church complex in California, with students, faculty, and professional filmmakers traveling from all across North America to attend. As a fundamental practice, “Student participation is our priority,” festival executive director Julio C. Muñoz says.

Muñoz invests a portion of each year’s festival budget into travel assistance for Adventist universities, colleges, and academies. Travel assistance for schools is made possible in part by a generous group of sponsors, including Good to Go Media, Hope Media Productions, and Adventist Risk Management, along with an ongoing grant from the Versacare Foundation.

Students can submit their films to be screened at the festival, and receive feedback from a professional jury, four members of which have already been announced. The jury so far includes:

  • Anthony Hackett, a director, writer and actor known for Love Different (2016), and Crisis Call (2015) and founder of the award-winning production company, Sonset Friday Entertainment
  • Jude Florido, a growth marketing and media expert working in Global Promo Operations at HBO Max, with past experience in marketing at Hulu, Google, and Fuse Media; and in production at Legion Creative Group
  • Ryann Heim, the director of programming at Windrider Institute, a Sundance Partner, and 2020 Outstanding Film Student of the Year, Harding University Department of Communication
  • Nina Vallado, a documentary filmmaker and film editor based in Southwest Washington State. Her documentary Sisterly was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Student Academy Awards.

In addition to entering completed films in the festival, students can showcase their future film ideas during the festival pitch competition. The top five finalists will be invited to pitch to a professional jury on closing night of the festival. Judges will be looking for presentations that cover all aspects of filmmaking: budget, audience, marketing, and distribution.

Sonscreen is a place for young filmmakers to share their work and make their voices heard, but it’s also a place for attendees to learn, and gather ideas from inspiring professional-level films and educational presentations.

At this year’s festival, Student Academy Award Winner Omer Ben-Shachar will be attending and showing his short film Tree #3, and John Quinn, editor of The Chosen, a popular multi-season streaming series about the life of Christ will be screening a portion of the series and answering audience questions. Also in the professional film lineup: Ousmane, a story on the power of found family by Brazilian-Canadian Filmmaker Jorge Camarotti.

Professional filmmakers can submit their films as well for possible screening during the weekend, though only student films are eligible for the festival awards.

Several Adventist universities will also be showcasing their professional content, with a short film, Those Were the Good Days, from Soncreen Films and Pacific Union College; a project trailer, Ancient of Days, from Pacific Union College; a feature film, All the Wrong Ingredients, from Southern Adventist University; and a special presentation on virtual production by Walla Walla University’s head film professor, Jerry Hartman, in collaboration with AdventHealth media professionals Isaac Vallejo and Chris Bohlender.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now, and students have until midnight on March 23 to submit films for consideration.