Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Recap of a Week in San Antonio

Sorry for the delay in getting this posted! My family dropped me back off at college on Monday, and classes began in full swing today. I've been busy settling back in and recovering from the long trip!

I enjoyed a wonderful week in San Antonio, TX during January 5th-10th and learned a lot at the Christian Filmmakers Academy and Independent Christian Film Festival. Below I shall try to briefly recap each day in San Antonio and share the highlights of the trip. For something more in-depth about each of the speakers and events, head over to The Rebelution's blog where Isaac Harris did a great job live-blogging everything!

Monday, January 5th
We had a long drive over Saturday and Sunday to drop Elijah off at LeTourneau University, and we finally arrived at my aunt's house in Sequin, TX, on Sunday evening. After a good night's sleep, my mom and aunt drove me to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, around 45 minutes away. After picking up the information for the week, we waded through the filled ballroom, looking for a place for me to sit. We found an empty seat near the front, and as I asked if I could sit down, we realized that I already kind of knew the girl sitting there with her dad, brother, and a friend. In God's wonderful way, He led me to Allison and her family, and I enjoyed sitting with them throughout the day, talking with them, and eating lunch with them. I also enjoyed briefly meeting Jasmine, another blogger who I've enjoyed getting to know through the web.

The sessions were all very good, and I was encouraged to hear from leaders who are so committed to keeping standards in film and all of life high while bringing God glory. As I listened to Doug Phillips in the opening message, I heard many things that I had long thought, but hadn't been able to put into words in the wonderful way he did. I was inspired and encouraged throughout the day to be unashamed in presenting wholesome art and film to the world. Although at this point I am not a filmmaker, many of the principles I learned can very easily be applied to theatre and dance and all of life.

The sessions ran late, and after the drive back to my aunt's house, I soon fell into bed, exhausted, soon after Midnight.

Tuesday, January 6th
The day arrived too early after the late night, but God gave me the strength to get up when my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I was excited to see what the day would hold in store! As I prepared, I prayed that I would meet people and have someone to eat lunch and supper with. I had eaten by myself at McDonald's the night before, and hadn't enjoyed being alone!

It was cold and rainy as I dashed through the raindrops after my mom dropped me off at the curb. I was there a little early, and sat down at a table with another girl named Stephanie, who was soon joined by two of her friends, Jaclyn and John. Throughout the day I enjoyed sitting with them and learned that they were a part of Dallas Christian Filmmakers, a group I had heard about before. I was also able to eat lunch and supper out with them, and I enjoyed making new friends!

The sessions were, again, very interesting and applicable. I enjoyed seeing the stunts of Jimmy Broyden and hearing from Doug Phillips, Geoffrey Botkin, and Isaac Botkin in addition to hearing about a Panavision camera. I was really impressed by how well the speakers wove theology throughout the lectures and stressed the importance of planning and praying and making sure everything was done with excellence.

Wednesday, January 7th
This was the last day of the "Technical Boot Camp for Aspiring Culture Changers," and though Tuesday night wasn't as late as the one before, I was still pretty tired from lack of sleep. Each session was very enjoyable, however, and the day outside was beautiful. I enjoyed eating lunch outside and relaxing for a few quiet moments.

There were many filmmakers who shared that day about the lessons they'd learned through the movies they'd made, and it was very encouraging to hear from them. Stephen Kendrick was especially enjoyable to listen to, and everything he said continually pointed away from him and his church and to God to bring Him glory. His humility and consistency in praising the Lord for everything they've done was truly humbling and encouraging.

The academy finished around 6:30 p.m. and I picked up my official diploma and drove back with mom for one last evening at my aunt and uncle's house. I was so exhausted! I managed to eat supper and help with the dishes, and then caught up a little online and read some before settling down for a longer sleep.

Thursday, January 8th
It was another beautiful day in Texas! Dad, Lydia, and Jubilee had driven most of the way from home the day before, and they joined us for a delicious breakfast that my aunt prepared. After packing up and helping with a few things, we headed off to check into our hotel in San Antonio and register for the film festival. I was glad to have some more of my family with me again, and was excited to see as many of the films as I could possibly fit in!

After registering, we walked over to the food court to each lunch. I had us pose for a picture on a bridge - stair-step sisters, 5 years between each of us, with each possessing a varying shade of reddish hair.

We got back to the convention center around an hour before the first films started, so we found a corner and enjoyed a rousing game of Dutch Blitz! It was a great way to pass the time, and we met some people as a result as they wandered over to see what we were so busy playing. We played more games as we waited in lines and for films to start over the next few days. It was fun!

After watching a few films that afternoon, and going out to eat delicious Mexican food at the Casa Del Rio on the riverwalk, we settled down in the beautiful Lila Cockrell Theater for the opening ceremonies. The air was electric with excitement as the seats were filled.

My favorite part of the evening was watching George Sarris present word-for-word from the Bible the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho. He is always very inspiring to watch, and I even got some ideas of perhaps writing a musical about this very exciting story. We'll see how God leads, but it was exciting to have scenes simply pop into my head as I watched him present dramatically from the Bible.

Another fun event was being able to hear Charlie Zahm sing. This great balladeer has an amazing voice, and he sang songs about 1,000 years of Christian Heroism, alternating as Doug Phillips narrated.

After watching more films, we walked back to our hotel around Midnight, excited about the days that were ahead.

Friday, January 9th
6:30 a.m. came rather too quickly, but we excitedly got ready and even got to the convention center early! The day was filled with watching film after film. It would take too long to give you my thoughts on each film I saw, but my favorites of the day were Hidden Tresure, a hilarious modern retelling of the Biblical parable about the treasure found in a field, Wars of Humanity III, a lego animation movie showing the battle of Jericho and made with high quality, and The Widow's Might, a movie I'd long anticipated seeing after enjoying the other films by John Moore and his family. It was even better than the previous ones in the "Siblings" series, and the musical aspect was very well done! It was definitely my favorite of the festival, and I cast my vote for it for the "Audience Choice" award.

The day was a most beautiful one, and I enjoyed eating by the river and walking oustide along it during breaks. It was a warm day and the atmosphere was lovely and relaxing.

That night we enjoyed attending the world premier of 3 short and well made Biblical films put out by Crown Financial Ministries. We also heard inspiring talks from Dean Jones, Stephen Kendrick, and Kirk Cameron.

The Von Trapp Children also performed beautifully that night, singing many well-beloved songs. They sang acapella, and their voices blended together in beautiful melodies and harmonies. It was truly a delight to hear.

Saturday, January 10th
We were all tired as the morning came again, but we all anticipated another enjoyable day watching films. Near the end of the day I was pretty tired of sitting so long and getting somewhat restless, but each new film soon caught me up in the story! After taking the filmmakers academy, it was interesting to watch the films with things I'd learned in mind. It made me notice a lot more that I'd never really thought of before, especially in terms of music and camera angles.

My favorite films from the ones I saw that day were Pendragon, a truly epic film set in the Dark Ages, with stunning detail and effects made by two families of cousins, Dad the Hero, a funny story about a dad and imaginations of the Wild West, and Click Clack Jack, a heartwarming and hilarious story about a train engineer.

As the films came to a close, it was so refreshing to know that out of the 29 films I'd seen over the past 3 days, not one had contained anything inappropriate. It was such a wonderful feeling!

We enjoyed the closing ceremonies that evening, as everyone excitedly waited for the winners to be announced while enjoying George Sarris' word-for-word presentaion of the Biblical story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal and songs from Charlie Zham and the Von Trapp Children. Each of the winners did an excellent job with their films, and I was especially excited to see The Widows Might take away both the "Audience Choice" award and the "Best of Festival" award with $101,000! Great job to Heumoore Productions and the writer, director, producer, actor, and singer in the movie, John Moore, winning such a large prize at "only" 19 years of age. We all look forward to what they will do in the future!

After another late night, the festival came to an end. It had been an exhausting but rewarding week. The things I learned, saw, and experienced are a wonderful memory that I shall treasure. No matter what I do, cinematography or otherwise, the lessons I learned that week will stay with me. Thank you so much, Dad and Mom, for allowing me this amazing opportunity!


Leah Renee said...

Hello Anna!
I've been following your blog for a few months now and since I've started one of my own I'm rallying my courage enough to comment on here :). I'm a young lady with convictions very similar to your own, and your blog is encouraging me in my walk with the Lord! My family and I also went to the Film Fesival - we loved it! It was our first year to go and I think we'll make it an annual tradition! If you have any advice for me about blogging, I would be honored to hear from you. I'm still trying to get this techno world figured out :). I noticed your brother goes to LeTourneau - my older brother does too. I wonder if they know each other?
Blessings to you,

*~Virginia~* said...

wow, we were just watching some movies my mom had bought from the winners of the film festival. Thats so cool, sounds like you all had a great time!

Zoe said...

I have commented here before, but it has been awhile. Wow, my family and I were just in San Antonio the sixth through the eighth.

Mardi said...

Anna, sounds like you had a great time!! It all sounds so much fun! I imagine it was exciting!!! I'm glad you got to go!!

Katie said...

I so wish I could have met you! I saw your sisters but never you. :( It was a great experience!

Miss Rose Virginia said...

Oh, I'm definitely going next year. That sounds awesome!

Jody said...

Sounds wonderful. I think our family should try to make it next year. We would love it!

Abigail and Lydia said...

Hi! I love to look at your blog! I especially like the topics on ballet and sewing. Your trip sounded so interesting! I would love to be able to go to that one day.
Many Blessings,

Jenny said...

It sounds like a wonderful trip. If only TX wasn't so far away!! We're hoping to be able to make it one of these years!
I enjoy reading your blog, it is very encouraging. Thanks :)


Anna Naomi said...

Katie: I wish I could have met you as well! I saw your dad and your little brothers a few times, and caught a glimpse of Allison and Luke near the end, but would have enjoyed meeting you as well!

All the rest of you, thank you so much for commenting! I hope that someday you each will be able to go to the film festival! It's a wonderful experience!