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San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival Announces 2009 Jubilee Award Winners

Contact: Wesley Strackbein, 210-340-5250, ext. 222, wesley@visionforum.org for the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival


SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 12 /Christian Newswire/ -- More than 2,400 participants representing states from Alaska to New York and foreign cities from Cairo to Shanghai were on hand for the presentation of the Jubilee Awards during closing ceremonies at the fifth annual San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, held at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in downtown San Antonio this last weekend.


"Our goal with the Jubilee Awards is to reward the work of Christian filmmakers who have artfully communicated a Christian worldview through their film production," explained Doug Phillips, founder of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.


"Thanks to aid of a private foundation, we are pleased this year to give the single largest cash prize of any film festival in America, as well as to honor the other fine winners at the 2009 festival."


The "Best of Festival" Jubilee Award -- with its $101,000 cash prize -- went to "The Widow's Might," a feature length comedy adventure that tells the fictional story of how aspiring filmmakers came to the aid of an elderly widow who faced losing her home due to rising property taxes. The 101-minute film was written and directed by 19-year-old John Moore of Kaufman, Texas, with David Heustis and Jeff Moreland serving as producers.


"We never saw this coming!" said John Moore. "The greatest lesson we have learned at this event over the years is to press on; keep moving forward. Always pursue excellence. The production was very tough; but it brought our families together, and we're even closer now than ever.... I dedicate this award to my father, the most inspiring man I have even known."


In addition to landing the festivals' top honor in 2009, "The Widow's Might" was runner-up for "Best Feature" and came away with the "Audience Choice Award," receiving more than twice the votes of the closest contender. This marked the third time in four years that a film by HeuMoore Productions was voted as the audience favorite at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.


The top honor in the "Best Feature Film" category was awarded to "Fireproof," a film starring Kirk Cameron that explores a firefighter's struggle to save his failing marriage. "Fireproof" -- which was written, produced, and directed by Alex and Stephen Kendrick of Sherwood Pictures -- was the highest-grossing independent film of 2008 with over $33 million in theater sales, beating out such films as Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (starring Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz), and "Milk," starring Sean Penn. The film also received the runner-up nod for "Best of Festival."


Stephen Kendrick, who was on hand in the Alamo City to receive the award, noted, "Sherwood Pictures is thrilled that 'Fireproof' has won 'Best Feature' at a film festival that not only seeks to honor the pursuit of high production values, but also morally responsible filmmaking."


"The Terri Schiavo Story," a two-part television series that follows the Schindler family's long and highly emotional struggle to save their daughter's life, garnered the "Best Documentary" Award. The film, hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada, was directed and produced by Ken Carpenter of Franklin Films.


"This festival is a uniquely inspiring event, and I'm a big proponent of the type of film work they are encouraging," stated Carpenter. "To have been honored with a Jubilee Award was a great conclusion to a fantastic festival experience."


The top honor in the "Best Dramatic Short" category was awarded to "The Prodigal Trilogy," a cinematic adaptation of acclaimed solo performer Jason Hildebrand's monologues based on the Luke 15 parable of Jesus in the Bible.


The "Best Biblical Family" Award went to "Binding Faith," an eighteen-minute documentary that chronicles the persecution that Christian missionary and minister, Dr. Ajai Lall, encountered when he sought to share his faith in northern India. Dondra Vaughn, who produced the film, received the award on behalf of the project.


"The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry" took the top honor for "Best Original Score." Veteran film producer, Rich Christiano, who directed and produced the full-length feature, praised the film's composer upon receiving the award: "One of the most important characters in any film is the music. Jasper Randall has done excellent work with his original score of The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry…. [W]e are thankful to have him on our team."


Thirteen-year-old Peyton Thomas received the "Young Filmmaker's" Award for "Journey of Hope," a nine-minute film which he directed and produced. The film tells the true story of Charles Loring Brace, a young minister who created the Children's Aid Society to provide safety and love to the children on the streets on New York City.


"Noah's Ark: Thinking Outside the Box" -- a film featuring Ark specialist Tim Lovett -- took the top honor in the "Best Creation" category. The film, produced by Answers in Genesis, applies new research to the contours of the Ark while maintaining an unwavering commitment to the Word of God. Dale Mason, publisher of Answers magazine and Vice President of Communications Division for AiG, commented:


"On behalf of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, we are so very thankful for the vote of confidence that this Jubilee Award represents. Even more than that, we are humbled to be part of what God is doing to propagate the truth of Creation, especially to homeschool families."


The "Best Treatment" Award -- an honor given for the best three-page written condensation of a proposed film, documentary, or TV dramatic production -- went to Kevin Powers for his proposed film, "Sandtown." The winner received a $1,000 cash prize, a professional script analysis of the finished script based on the winning treatment, and a free copy of Final Draft screenwriting software.


Second and third place awards in the "Best Treatment" category went to Chuck Fultz for "In Plain Site" and Kevin Powers for "Elk Valley."


Other winners included: "The Widow and the Judge," which garnered the runner-up award in the "Best Dramatic Short" category; and "The Full House of Blessing," which took second place in the "Best Documentary" category.


The "Best Trailer" Award, an honor for the trailer that best promoted the festival, went to Jeremiah Warren for "Changing Lives."


To interview Doug Phillips about his vision for the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, contact Wesley Strackbein by e-mail at wesley@visionforum.org or by phone at (210) 340-5250, ext. 222.