Archive for the ‘film’ Category

I’m Making a Movie

February 19, 2013 7 comments

The ‘Best Short Film’ Award was given to Useless, an 11-minute film based on Philemon 1:10–11. Written and directed by Brandon Adams, the film short previously won ‘Best Film’ at the 168 Project.

In winning ‘Best Short Film’ at the SAICFF, the film’s director automatically received a $250,000 opportunity to produce a feature film with Echolight Studios who sponsored this Jubilee Award category. Bobby Downes, President of Echolight, explained their vision in partnering with the SAICFF for this commendation.

“Storytellers have shaped our society in the way that we think for all of recorded history. . . . Stories are used for teaching, for entertainment, for passing on old knowledge and wisdom,” noted Downes.

“Tonight, Echolight is going to do something about encouraging storytellers. We believe that supporting this generation of Christians making movies will have a significant impact on lives in the years to come, so we are planting a seed here tonight by awarding the winner of the Jubilee Award for Short Film with $250,000 as an opportunity to make a movie with Echolight Studios and get worldwide distribution.

“The message is this: Those who are faithful in the little things will be better equipped to pursue bigger projects.”

Santorum also commended the SAICFF and the filmmakers in attendance for their important labors in the culture wars: “You are the ones who shape the culture, and Washington, D.C. is simply a reflection of that. So I just wanted to come here to encourage you and to thank you. . . . This country needs you. . . . [I] think that really great things are going to come in the darkest times and be lit . . . from this festival.”Downes then passed the baton to special guest Sen. Rick Santorum, who presented the award on Echolight’s behalf: “It is my honor to be here with Echolight. I’m excited about them and what they’re doing, trying to nurture and build, to create a real powerful portal for this industry.”

“Thank you for this tremendous honor and opportunity,” wrote Adams. “I have spent the last ten years seeking to learn how to create art that glorifies God, which has included cultivating my craft; but, more importantly, growing in the grace and knowledge of my Redeemer. My hope is to express the work that Christ has done in us and in history through the medium of film, with the prayer that Christ will be exalted over all things. And this award and prize has granted the opportunity to do so.”Boo Arnold, one of the two lead actors in Useless, received the award on behalf of Brandon Adams, who directed the film, but who was unable to attend due to the recent birth of his son who was born five weeks early. Sizemore read a statement Adams texted him when he learned he had won this award.

San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival Announces 2013 Jubilee Award Winners

I would greatly appreciate your prayers for this project as there will be many, many challenges to overcome in order to create a film that truly glorifies God.

See also

Also, if you noticed in the above, my son was born a few weeks ago! He surprised a little early, but his big brother, and the rest of us, are adjusting well to the latest addition to our family. God was very merciful in bringing him home safely.

Categories: film

The Redemption of General Butt Naked

April 11, 2012 4 comments

My wife and I watched this film last night. It’s a very interesting story full of nuance. I definitely recommend giving it a view – and then let me know what you think!

Categories: film

Useless @ Storylab

October 26, 2011 1 comment


 with host Derrick Warfel

 StoryLab is fascinating!  Watch “168” scenes and compare to similar big budget scenes to see what it takes to get from here to there.

Your host is indie filmmaker Derrick Warfel, a graduate of USC Film School, Princeton University & Dallas Theological Seminary.

 Derrick Warfel

11150 Canby Ave., Northridge, CA 91326

The house is at Donmetz & Canby.

Lite snacks provided.
Agenda: Intros @ 7pm, Writing from a Verse Primer for Write of Passage Participants, StoryLab @ 7:30pm.
RSVPs are mandatory as space is limited to 30 people:
 Fri, Oct. 28, 7pm – 10pm
with Writer-Director Brandon Adams

A criminal pleads for mercy from his captor.

Winner Best Film, Best Actor, Kevin Sizemore,  Best Cinematography, Brandon Adams

Categories: film

Why Are Christian Movies So Awful?

April 15, 2011 1 comment

Just read an article at called Why Are Christian Movies So Awful? It’s a review of the new movie Soul Surfer, which apparently is based on the true story of a young Christian surfer who lost her arm, but was gutted of any theology by the producers.

One line from the review stuck out to me:

At the risk of offending many people in many different directions, Christian cinema reminds me of gay cinema. If, that is, gay cinema were permanently stuck in 1986, with a self-ghettoizing mandate to present positive role models for youth and tell an anodyne but uplifting story that sends a message of hope.

On the face of it, this is a curious turn of events. Whatever you want to say about Christianity as a system of thought or a force in history, you’ll have to admit that it has a pretty impressive record as a source of inspiration for artists and writers. But when we use the buzzword “Christian” in contemporary American society, we’re talking about a distinctively modern cultural and demographic phenomenon that has almost no connection to the spiritual and intellectual tradition that fueled Dante and Milton and Leonardo and Bach.

Christian movies will continue to be awful so long as Christian theology continues to be awful and shallow, as it has become in contemporary American Christianity. If Christians continue to be obsessed with “culture war” and are content with “a self-ghettoizing mandate to present positive role models and tell an anodyne but uplifting story that sends a message of hope” as a means of getting a leg up in that war, rather than making art that proclaims God as He is revealed in Scripture, then we will never see great art like Bach’s on the big screen.

At least those were the thoughts kicking around in my head during the awards ceremony for 168

I echo O’Hehir’s closing line:

If I really had any faith in American pluralism and in my fellow human beings, I guess I would predict that someday soon Christian filmmakers will ramp up their craft and make much better movies than “Soul Surfer.” Does the Lord really want to be glorified by way of something that looks like an especially tame episode of “Baywatch”?

Categories: film, theology

“Useless” Wins Best Film

April 6, 2011 2 comments

Thank you for any prayers you offered for the film “Useless” mentioned in my previous posts. We won Best Film last week! As well as Best Actor and Best Cinematography.

You can watch the film online at or

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Paul Luebbers, 626-394-9763,


11 Shorts Claim 24 Awards in Faith-Based Speed Filmmaking Contest, Bandied by Musical Romp ‘Good News’ as Best Comedy, Lonely Heart Drama ‘Second Glances’ for Editing & Pastoral Introspective ‘The Main Thing’ Crowned Best Doc

The red carpet at the Alex Theatre, Glendale, CA

GLENDALE, Calif. (Apr. 2, 2011) – Husband and wife team of Dennis & Olivia Bentivengo’s cop-with-a-conscience drama “Useless” won Best Film tonight at the Bible-verse-illustrating 168 Film Festival, collecting three awards, including Best Actor (Kevin Sizemore) and Cinematography (Brandon Adams).

Based on the Apostle Paul’s appeal to Philemon to grant the slave owner’s son Onesimus his personal freedom in Philem. 1:10-11 and up for 11 awards, the film stars an actor who’s no stranger to law enforcement in Sizemore, known best for playing Harlan on “Prison Break” and Marine Sgt. William Moore on “NCIS,” and appearing soon in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” currently in post-production.

Frontrunner divorce drama “Child’s Play” — with the most nominations (14) going into the 9th annual weeklong (i.e., 168-hour) filmmaking competition in a 20-finalist field of 11-min.-or-less films — from U.K. producer Owen Kingston took the lion’s share of awards, with six, counting Best Scriptural Integration, Screenplay-Drama and Director for Kingston and Tom Cooper (who were the festival’s top award winners with four apiece); International Film for Kingston, Cooper and Anita Wadsworth; and, rounding out the picture’s haul, Supporting Actress for Eleanor Appleton and Original Score for Michael Wray.

Tied for second-most wins with “Useless” was seven-time 168 filmmaker Theo Love’s cheeky guide to the atheists’ gospel “Good News,” which scored Best Comedy and Screenplay-Comedy nods (director-producer-editor Theo and wife Jessie, Eric Lee and wife Susu Keepman Lee) plus Best Actress for Benedicte Westbye.

Last two of “Second Chances”-themed edition’s five multiple-award-winning films, with two each, are journeyman Stephen Puffenberger’s exploration of a church’s life cycle “The Main Thing,” which took Best Unlimited Documentary and the Evangelista Award for the best telling of the core of Jesus’ message; and 168’s two-time Write of Passage winner and producer Alan Tregoning’s “Second Glances” for Best Editor (Chris Wiegand) and Sound Design (Wiegand, Josh Spake). Wiegand tied Puffenberger and the Lees for second-most awards, while 18 others won single awards, some of them albeit shared with fellow team members.

While six out of 24 award recipients were multiple winners in the 168’s 22-category competition, five recognized films were multiple winners out of the 11 overall winning films. The six single-win films are: “Breaking and Entering” for Best Supporting Actor (Mark Blitch); “Stranded” Animated Film (Michael Mitchell, Sarah Abel); “Guide Me Home” Music Video (first-time helmer Henry Wong); “Khwaish – A Desire” Production Design (Susheel Rankawat); “The Cure” Makeup (Kelly Jo Kern, Rachel Ringwood); and Behind The Scenes Documentary “The Making of ‘The Potter’s Hand’” (“The Potter’s Hand” director Brandon Chandler.)

Categories: film

Useless Award Nominations

March 24, 2011 3 comments

I mentioned the short film Useless that I wrote and directed in the last post. It has been nominated for 11 awards. We find out April 2 if we won any of them after a large screening. I would appreciate prayer that the film will glorify God and minister to people.

Best Scriptural Integration – “USELESS” – Brandon Adams
Evangelista Award – “USELESS” – Dennis & Olivia Bentivengo
Best Film – “USELESS” – Dennis & Olivia Bentivengo
Best Director – “USELESS” – Brandon Adams
Best Actor – “USELESS” – Boo Arnold
Best Actor – “USELESS” – Kevin Sizemore
Best Screenplay-Drama – “USELESS” – Brandon Adams
Best Cinematography – “USELESS” – Brandon Adams
Best Editor – “USELESS” – Brandon Adams
Best Original Score – “USELESS” – Fred Emory Smith
Best Makeup – “USELESS” – Annika Ramirez

Categories: film


March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I spent the month of February participating in the 2011 168 Project. It is a speed filmmaking competition where teams draw a bible verse at random and then have 12 days to write and 7 days to shoot and edit a short film based upon that verse.

Here’s the trailer for the film we ended up with

We screen on April 2 to find out if we won any awards.

Hopefully the film will be available online in the near future.

Categories: film