The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Union of Eastern Venezuela recently hosted a nationwide film festival where hundreds gathered to watch more than a dozen short evangelistic films and celebrate their production. The event took place on October 1, 2022 at the Cultural Central Park Center in Caracas, Venezuela.
“We are breaking paradigms with these films prepared by our media teams in the eight conference and mission fields here,” said Hernavid Torres, film director of the East Venezuela Union. The Cinematography Film Festival, coined UVOfilms, was the first to show 16 short films based on the parables of Jesus. The union held its first smaller-scale film festival in 2019.
It’s important to hold the film festival to present the gospel in a different way, said Lenny Hernández, communications director for the Eastern Venezuelan Union. “It was all part of gaining experience to develop a 100 percent audiovisual project through and through, finding talent and giving a boost to Venezuelan cinema.”
More than 130 screenwriters, actors, cinematographers, editors and assistants made up the various production teams, which focused on a parable in the form of three categories: short film, documentary or video clip style, no more than six and more -half minutes in duration.
Venezuelan film directors
Among the judges was Luis Carlos Hueck, a successful Venezuelan film director, who congratulated the organizers and participants for spreading messages of hope. “The message in your productions touched my heart,” he said. “The most important thing is the message you want to convey to the world.” Hueck expressed his interest in participating in future church film events.
Another successful Venezuelan film director and film festival juror was Edgar Rocca, who said Venezuelan cinema was going through a crisis and praised the organizers of film initiatives. “I’m sure this is one of many UVOfilms expenses and I would like to work with the church as I organize too [film] Festivals,” said Rocca.
Among the winners was the Central Venezuela Conference for their Graces senor Documentary (“Thank You Lord”), which won Best Photographic and Artistic Direction. La Llamada (“The Called”) won Best Dramatization, Best Screenplay and Best Acting from the Central Llanos Venezuela Mission. The best documentary with the best sound, editing and set design went to lumbrera (“Lamp”), a documentary produced by the South Bolivar Venezuela Mission. The South Central Venezuela Conference received the award for the best video clip caminos (“Streets”).
An opportunity to share the gospel
Jorge Díaz, Professor of Screenwriting and Film Production at the University of Montemorelos and Production Assistant at Hope Channel Inter-America, was one of the festival’s judges and spoke during the training seminars days before the film event. “The technological tools are neither good nor bad; it all depends on their use, and it is time we used film to spread the gospel.”
Díaz congratulated the organizers and participants for inspiring others through their film projects. “It’s amazing how young people in the church are so engaged and excited because they see how this type of production is an opportunity to share the gospel,” Diaz said. “In fact, when the Church opens spaces for young people who have so much talent in the audiovisual world, it opens a new door so that they can be useful to others to learn about the message of hope that we have .”
The film festival is among the first to be held in the Inter-American Division union territory, said Abel Márquez, executive director of Hope Channel Inter-America. Márquez, who was also a juror at the festival, sent a message of congratulations during the event for the outstanding efforts in fostering creativity in production projects to spread the gospel message.
“The fact that this event motivates people who are not necessarily professionals in communications or film, who are church members, pastors, administrators in local areas, who are eager to learn new techniques and who participate in such initiatives is a wonderful step in bringing the gospel to an audience that needs the only hope,” said Márquez.
UVOFilms, an annual event
Earlier in the year, when media teams were organized, the event attracted many church members, Pastor Hernández said. Church leaders are already planning the manufacture UVOfilms an annual event. “We challenge them to continue creating a message that can convey hope and salvation,” he said.
Pastor Jorge Atalido, President of the East Venezuela Union, assured media teams of the church’s commitment to supporting evangelistic efforts through film projects. “We know that the world is moving faster towards destruction and it is necessary to be creative in our methods to reach different people,” he said at the end of the event.
To watch the films that were shown during UVOfilmsClick here.
The original article was published in the Inter-American Division website.