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Faith-based writers learn from Hollywood pros at film festival


Much has been written about Hollywood’s foray into the faith-based film market.

Or is it the other way around, Christian filmmakers trying to infiltrate Hollywood?

With recent hit films such as “Risen,” “Miracles in Heaven” and “God’s Not Dead 2” and a near-miss in “The Young Messiah,” the movie marketplace is heating up, with even more faith films in the works, including the remake of “Ben-Hur,” the most widely anticipated Christian epic film, coming in August.

WND Films, best known for “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” (based on the New York Times bestseller “The Harbinger”), will soon be entering the mix with “Trapped In Hitler’s Hell.”

It’s the true story of Holocaust survivor Anita Dittman, a Jewish-Christian teenager who twice escaped Nazi labor camps and attempted to save her mother at a death camp 200 miles away.

In the parlance of Hollywood: It’s “Schindler’s List” meets “The Hiding Place.”

Joseph Farah, WND CEO, will produce the film along with Michael Davis of Uptone Pictures, Byron Jones of CMD Distribution and attorney Jeffrey Wilson of Black Tusk Films from a script written by George Escobar, vice president of WND Films.

ScreenCraft has invited Escobar to attend the Nashville Writers Conference April 20-22, where some of Hollywood’s top writers, agents, managers, producers and studio development executives will congregate for three days of screenwriting panels, pitch opportunities, networking parties and screenplay live-reads.

ScreenCraft and the Nashville Film Festival are joining forces to bring the writer’s conference to America’s music city, hoping it will spark new relationships and launch creative partnerships.

“This will be an exciting opportunity for new writers and filmmakers to learn from the pros,” said Escobar. “I’ve attend many Christian film festivals and conferences, and esoteric indie-film fests, but this will be my first time to experience a mixture of both.”

On Thursday during the conference, ScreenCraft will present a special panel on “Writing Faith-Based Films” featuring Chad & Carey Hayes, Alexandra Boylan (“Catching Faith”), Howard Klausner (“Space Cowboys,” “Hoovey”) and other.

On other days, confirmed panelists include: Chad & Carey Hayes (“The Conjuring”), Mark Bomback (“Insurgent,” “Furious 7,” “The Wolverine,” “Live Free or Die Hard”), Andrea Berloff (“World Trade Center,” “Straight Outa Compton” OSCAR nominee 2016), Jeb Stuart (“Die Hard,” “The Fugitive”), Shauna Cross (“Whip It,” “If I Stay,” “Bad Santa 2”), Phil Hay (“Clash of the Titans,” “Ride Along,” “Aeon Flux,” etc.) and Malcolm Spellman (“Empire”) etc.

In addition to the writer’s conference, Escobar will meet with potential investors for “Trapped In Hitler’s Hell” and scout locations for possible production filming in Tennessee.