The 168 Film Project: Filmmakers Doing Short Christian Value Films


168 Film Project


God may have rested on the seventh day after a stunning six-day spurt of creativity, but for 81 filmmaking teams from across the US and as far away as France, the 168 Film Project gave them no rest. 

It’s been ten years now since John David Ware founded the 168 film festival.  Modeled after the 48 hour film fest, this timed production contest gave filmmakers an opportunity not only to see their worth as creative souls, but to teach Christian values while entertaining.   “I wanted to do something more serious where people could learn something and really hon their craft. “ 

The contestants are given 10 days pre-production time and 168 hours to shoot and edit their short film. 

168 Film Fest: Erin Murphy and Maggie Elizabeth Jones

The estimated 1,500 film professionals and amateurs alike begin the seven day process  of shooting a short film of 11 minutes or less based on a luck-of-the-draw Bible verse picked from scriptures relating to “Promises” – the theme for this year.  “God’s promises are among the most plentiful expressions in the Bible.  This year’s 168 journey explores the importance of being faithful to others as the Lord is to us,” says the founder.  

The first festival had only 13 films.  Despite what people said, it didn’t flop.  Pushing forward, the second year, they had 66 entries.  “God gave me a little nudge with that.  I knew I was on the right path since there are 66 books in the Bible.”  With some painful growth lessons, the 168 project persevered.  Now,  there is standing room only for the festival awards and some of the films are really spectacular. 

168 Film Fest: the crew of Promises Maid photo by Jay Roberts

Many of the filmmakers have been discovered through the 168 and gone on to bigger and better careers in the industry, but always keeping their roots in mind.  "We are changing the message of Hollywood," said John David Ware. 

 The films this year will be shown on Friday, March 30, 2012 at the Hope Theatre (214 N. Maclay Ave, San Fernando, Ca 91342) and on the 31st at the Alex Theatre (216 N. Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203) .   The full day screening on Saturday will be followed by the Awards ceremony.  Some of the distinguished judges have included filmmakers as Ralph Winters, Michael Flaherty (Walden Media), Gary Hall (sr. VP of Fox TV), Howard Kazanjian (Raiders of the Lost Ark.)  Award presenters include Casey Bond (co star with Brad Pitt in Moneyball)  and Grammy winning composer Michael Lehmann Boddiker will present the music. 

168 Film Fest: Founder John David Ware and Kevin Wilson

Of the 81 submissions this year, 20 received awards - these included Refuge, which won for best director (Michelle Steffes), best Cinematorgraphy (Brandoin Lippard), best actor (Stevin Knight), best production design (Carmi Gallow and Randy Kizer) best screenplay (Rebekah Score)and best editor (Chris Witt.)   Also high among the winners was Inink (Chris Wiegand) for best scriptural interpertation, best make up (Kristen Critz) and best making of the film.  Goldie Hoffman won best supporting actress for Coerced.   Many of the films were spiritual but not overly Christian and were uplifting as Promises Maid, but not chosen. 


168 Film Fest: Promises Maid Photo by Jay Roberts

Sponsors of the festival included Roush Media, Eiki, Kino Flo,, Beverly Hills Casrting, Parables.TV, and Steven Graham's PC prompting as well as Arri and The Jib Guy.  Additional financing came from the Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, the Marco Lutheran Church Foundatiuon and the Peter Glenville Foundation

The best of the films will be shown at the Faith-N-Film Summit in Las Vegas during the NAB show Sunday, April 15th, 2012, where Corbin Bernsen (Psych) will appear.   

In addition to the film contest, 168 also sponsors a writing contest called “Write A Passage” where writers take a verse and create a short script for a film.  Their vision is to become a micro-studio and eventually branch out into television. 

For more information go to

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