CHANTILLY, Virginia β WND is partnering with Advent Film Group to ensure Hollywood’s trend of faith-affirming filmmaking continues by hosting the annual Advent Film Workshop at its studio facilities in Chantilly, June 20-21.
Leading the workshop will be George D. Escobar and Michael Snyder, two of the producers of “Alone Yet Not Alone,” which was nominated for a 2014 Academy Award for Best Original Song by composer Bruce Broughton and lyricist Dennis Spiegel. The nomination was later rescinded in a controversial decision by the Academy president.
This will be the second year WND hosts the Advent Film Workshop, a two-day, intensive event aimed at training up the next generation of Christian filmmakers:
"It's a perfect match, since WND has emerged as a major force in documentary filmmaking," Escobar said. "In just two years, WND Films has produced three of Amazon's top 10 faith DVD titles, led by producer Joseph Farah, WND's founder and CEO."
WND's top documentaries include "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment," "Blood Moons," "The Rabbi Who Found Messiah" and "Trapped in Hitler's Hell," to name a few. They are all based on bestselling books published by WND Books, except for "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment," which is based on Rabbi Jonathan Cahn's blockbuster "The Harbinger."
The recent surge in successful Christian movies has caused some to dub 2014 "The Year of the Bible" in Hollywood, headlined so far by "Son of God," "God's Not Dead" and "Heaven Is for Real," each of which has made in the neighborhood of $60 million or more at the box office.
The trend has brightened the prospects for filmmakers who imbue their movies with a Christian worldview, as domestic box office numbers reveal strong audience appetite for more and more faith-affirming films.
Escobar explains, "With this surge, WND Films is now developing news stories and titles from WND Books as narrative feature films. This is a tremendous opportunity for filmmakers to work alongside WND.com, a powerhouse in online independent news, attracting over 7 million unique visitors a month and more than 40 million page views."
Several attendees of the Advent Film Workshop have gone on to work on WND film projects, serving as camera operators, audio engineers and production assistants.
"Advent's students and interns have a proven track record of exceptional work," Farah said. "WND is proud to help Advent in training the next generation of Christian filmmakers."
Advent has two narrative features in the works: "Hero," set for release in fall 2014 and "The Screenwriters," set for spring 2015. "Alone Yet Not Alone" will be theatrically released nationwide by its production company, Enthuse Entertainment, on June 13, 2014, just a week before the Advent Film Workshop.
See the trailer for "Hero" below:
"Over the years, hundreds of our students have learned every aspect of filmmaking, from story development to cinematography to wardrobe, makeup, and art direction, to marketing and distribution," Snyder explained. "That's what makes Advent unique. Our students make professional quality, feature-length movies right from the start rather than student films or short films that have little market value."
In addition to producing feature films, Escobar is the Vice President of WND Films & TV and the head of Advent Film Group, which he co-founded with Snyder. Their workshop sessions will cover: film funding, micro-budget producing, casting professional actors, effective marketing and distribution techniques, story development secrets and film career planning for filmmakers of all ages. Storyboard artist Tad Butler will also present a special session on how he created the storyboards for "Alone Yet Not Alone."
Watch the trailer for "Alone Yet Not Alone" below:
Advent's approach to training students through on-the-job experience in feature films has proven successful. It is now being incorporated by other film programs, including Liberty University, Chapman College, and even the Kendrick Brothers (makers of "Facing the Giants," "Fireproof" and "Courageous").
"To provide more personal attention to film workshop participants, we have sharply curtailed the number of students to 20," Escobar said. "Past workshops have had 80 to 100 students. We expect the last few remaining workshop slots to go quickly."
Escobar and Snyder founded Advent, based in Purcellville, Virginia, in 2007 to train and raise up the next generation of Christian filmmakers. Advent has taught over 1,500 students, placing over 200 of their top students in several feature films. The company is known as a proven alternative to more expensive film school programs. Advent teaches every aspect of film financing, screenwriting, production, marketing, and distribution for significantly lower costs. Advent's first movie, "Come What May," was released by Provident Films, a unit of Sony. It sold over 75,000 DVDs in its initial release and was seen by over 3.5 million viewers during screenings through the American Family Association, GodTube, TBN and UPTV.